Women have been systematically disadvantaged in the labour market. This could be explained by a complex association of factors, such as the lower speed of women’s professional growth within companies, their under-representation in management positions, and the unequal distribution of caregiving and housework between men and women. The rise of the gig economy—a market system that is based on hiring independent contractors and freelance workers as opposed to creating full-time contracts—has brought researchers and policymakers into a discussion on the effects of online platforms and flexible work arrangements on labour market gender parity. In this study, we examine the case of the largest online English-language school in Eastern Europe, Skyeng. Data on 6,461,404 lessons given by 13,571 teachers demonstrate that women had fewer working hours than men in most age categories, but especially for ages 30–35. The workload deficit for the women could be partly attributed to the fact that they worked less often than the men did in the evenings (7–10 p.m.). We conclude that, despite the flexible work arrangements the gig economy has offered, the women taught fewer classes than the men (i.e., having fewer paid working hours), which in turn led to a gender pay gap. The rapid growth of the gig economy makes it important to monitor gender-gap dynamics as well as discuss potential mechanisms eliminating gender inequality in the labour market.
The present article attempts to fathom the increased attention to the measurement and development of students' social-emotional skills. Social-emotional skills are defined as individual characteristics resulting from biological predispositions and environmental factors and conceptually independent of cognitive skills while being associated with social well-being. The article accentuates an important aspect of these skills, i.e. their malleability. The theoretical framework of the article is M. Foucault's concept of a disciplinary society, linking the collection of data on the latent characteristics of an individual and the strengthening of control over him as a “productive body”. The development of social and emotional skills, in turn, is seen as a way to produce public good within the neoliberal paradigm. The authors point to the complexity of modern views of the individual as a political subject endowed with agency and a sense of responsibility. It is assumed that the achievement of success requires the development of a set of essential skills in individuals, which implies there exists a social demand for them. The article addresses the adjacent problem of social inequality. The article formulates two functions of social and emotional skills development, namely, the disciplinary function and the function of mitigating social inequality. Finally, the article analyzes the most influential frameworks of social-emotional skills and reflects on their formation and evolution. The authors aim to engage the psychological community in the discussion of the process of formation and evaluation of socio-emotional skills in order to bring a more subtle understanding of human behavior.
The present study aims to examine the construct of the classroom goal structure. Achievement goal theory of motivation suggests that two types of classroom goal structures can be identified: mastery goal structure and performance goal structure. The study presents the results of the Russian adaptation of the Approach to Instruction (Patterns of Adapted Learning Survey) scale which can be used to assess classroom goal structures from the perspective of teacher practices. The survey is built on a data which comes from a survey on a sample of fifth-grade teachers (N = 656) conducted in the fall of 2020. The study includes a description of the steps for adaptation of the scale into Russian. The study presents the results of confirmatory factor analysis and describes the adjustments to the initial model. The adapted scale demonstrated a good fit to the empirical data and adequate internal consistency. The Russian-language version of the scale can be used by researchers in future studies of the educational environment in the classroom in the context of learning motivation. The scale could potentially be employed in the future studies examining the factors that determine students’ educational outcomes as well as the development of social-emotional skills.
Teachers’ expectations may affect the academic performance of their pupils, leading to the effect of “self-fulfilling prophecies”. Teachers form their expectations about the academic performance of their pupils based on the information they possess about the latter. The present study tested a hypothesis about a correlation between the teacher’s disposal of information about the pupil’s ranking on an initial diagnostic test at the beginning of the first grade and the pupil’s academic performance at the end of the first grade. It also tested the hypothesis that the teacher’s disposal of information about the pupil’s ranking can affect his or her expectations about the level of the pupil’s cognitive skills. In this large-scale cluster randomized controlled experimental study, the participants included 4,460 first-grade students from 188 schools in a Russian region. We divided the schools into the experimental and control groups randomly. The teachers in the control group received information about the basic skills of their pupils. In contrast, experimental group teachers additionally received information about their pupils’ ranking based on a combination of indicators of their cognitive (basic reading and math) and non-cognitive (personal and socio-emotional) skills. The study did not confirm the hypotheses
Grit is widely considered a trait composed of perseverance of effort (PE) and consistency of long-term interests (CI) that is positively associated with educational and professional attainments. However, because of unclear relations between the two elements that compose grit, PE and CI, the theoretical model of the construct of grit is still questionable. On the one hand, we have extensive evidence that the overall score for grit can predict important life outcomes. On the other hand, predictive ability does not necessarily indicate that a measure reflects a unitary psychological trait. In the case of the Grit scale, a number of works have shown that treating grit as a whole or higher-order construct is psychometrically and psychologically unsound. In this work, we aimed to explore the relationship of PE and CI with long-term educational outcomes in desired educational trajectories while controlling for potentially confounding factors. We hypothesized that if PE and CI are facets of a unified grit construct, we would find consistent patterns in these facets for a range of educational outcomes. Our study was conducted on a large sample of students (N=3110) from a national longitudinal study of school and university graduates. These students were also participants in both the TIMSS-2011 and PISA-2012 studies. When the students were in 9th grade, we assessed their grit, academic achievement, and educational aspiration. The next year, we obtained information about the choices students made after completing compulsory education: staying in high school vs. obtaining vocational training. Two years later, we again assessed the students’ educational and life outcomes. We run two regression models. The first model was a model with PE and CI as predictors only. In the second model, SES, gender, cognitive ability scores and educational aspirations were added as covariates. To test the mediation hypotheses, we also run regression models for possible mediators (educational aspirations and achievement) as outcomes. The results showed that perseverance was a better predictor than interests, although the effects of perseverance on long-term educational outcomes were more often indirect. Consistency of interests did not predict educational trajectories or achievement. Accordingly, we failed to find any consistent patterns in perseverance and interests with long-term educational outcomes. These findings are discussed in terms of the nature of the grit construct and the validity of the Grit scale.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has revealed problems in school education using ICT. Teachers were forced to start teaching remotely using special, often unfamiliar to them software to communicate with students. The interaction in online lessons is very different from face-to-face classes. This is especially true for lessons with young children who overcome various barriers and may require outside support because of lack of ICT literacy or inappropriate software. However, teachers experience even greater challenges. At the beginning of the urgent transition to distance learning, teachers started to shape spontaneously their teaching methods, taking into account technical problems, such as students’ low speed of Internet connection or lack of webcams. Different teachers were dealing with such problems in different ways: for example, giving assignments on the textbook, and asking to send photos with answers. Besides, there are new barriers related to the order of the lesson. It is important to make sure that children are involved online, therefore there is a need in controlling the children's activity in distance learning, keeping the classroom discipline and sometimes parental involvement. The aim of the research is to identify barriers that hinder effective distance teaching in grade 5 according to teachers’ opinion. To address our aim we used data collected in May 2020 for Sber Gamification Lab research of digital interactive history materials. This research assumes a qualitative analysis. The data consists of 18 semi-structured interviews on multiple topics with history teachers of the 5th grade in Russian schools. Teachers face new challenges because of distance learning, and it is still unclear how to introduce a new lesson format of interactive e-learning, how to manage a lesson, and how to test knowledge remotely. There is no universal solution to distance learning, so it becomes difficult for teachers to provide exciting and engaging lessons. What solutions to these problems have teachers found? Our results showed that teachers began to use a variety of online-activities on history lessons. For example, it is noteworthy that one of the schools has its own Learning Management System (LMS), where the teacher has the ability to create their own tests and control students. It is also important to note that due to the introduction of interactive materials, teachers could not determine their role in the lesson. Some issues were connected with teachers’ digital literacy skills: some teachers did not know how to organize work in groups or pairs, some of them never used communication platforms such as Zoom before. The article concludes with recommendations for solving problems of organizing and conducting remote lessons.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and the allover shift to remote learning, the need for sufficient material and technical equipment in schools has become very urgent. Forced to hold their classes online, many teachers face a shortage of gadgets and ICT skills to teach successfully.
Russia is no exception in this situation. Despite three waves of digitalization, during which schools were equipped with computers and other devices, many of them were poorly prepared for online learning. In part, this is the consequence of the large territory and decentralized educational policy for schools’ equipping, because of which schools in some regions and municipalities have become more prepared for the challenges of the pandemic.
This paper examines the digital gap between Russian schools and its growth over the past 10 years. The differences in the material and technical base of schools and in their financial capabilities for the acquisition and purchase of new equipment are shown. Also, there are analyzed the differences in the teachers’ qualifications and their digital opportunities at school. Finally, there is shown the relationship between all these differences and the educational outcomes of students from different regions and municipalities.
The results of the study make it possible to single out some territories where low access to digital resources negatively affected the students’ exam results and their choice of further educational trajectory. First, these are residents of remote regions of Siberia and the Far East, where the digital lag of schools overlayed on the infrastructural problems. As a result, these students were the first to be most affected by the forced shift to remote learning. Thus, the coronavirus crisis became a litmus test and widens the digital gap in Russian education.
A central concern surrounding test-based accountability is that teachers may narrow teaching practices to improve test performance on a curriculum-based specific knowledge test rather than student learning more broadly. Two of the most common teaching practices that “teach to the test” are providing test-specific classwork and increasing the frequency with which students take practice tests. Whether such teaching practices improve student learning—both in terms of learning the content associated with a specific knowledge test as well as more general learning—is a largely unanswered question. To approach this question, this paper uses a student fixed effects approach to analyze the impact of these kinds of narrow teaching practices on student performance on a specific test as well as a general knowledge test. We find that test-specific classwork and practice tests with specific test items tend to have little or negative impacts on curriculum specific or general knowledge test performance, except for male students, and that subject practice tests (without emphasizing test-specific items) have positive effects on student outcomes on both kinds of tests, but larger on the curriculum-specific than on the general test, and much larger on the curriculum-specific test for male students. We discuss the logic for these results and what they tell us about the effectiveness of test-focused teaching practices more generally.
We examine the effects of computer-based versus paper-based assessment of critical thinking skills, adapted from English (in the U.S.) to Chinese. Using data collected based on a random assignment between the two modes in multiple Chinese colleges, we investigate mode effects from multiple perspectives: mean scores, measurement precision, item functioning (i.e. item difficulty and discrimination), response behavior (i.e. test completion and item omission), and user perceptions. Our findings shed light on assessment and item properties that could be the sources of mode effects. At the test level, we find that the computer-based test is more difficult and more speeded than the paper-based test. We speculate that these differences are attributable to the test’s structure, its high demands on reading, and test-taking flexibility afforded under the paper testing mode. Item-level evaluation allows us to identify item characteristics that are prone to mode effects, including targeted cognitive skill, response type, and the amount of adaptation between modes. Implications for test design are discussed, and actionable design suggestions are offered with the goal of minimizing mode effect.
The demand for large-scale assessments in higher education, especially at an international scale, is growing. A major challenge of conducting these assessments, however, is that they require understanding and balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders (government officials, university administrators, and students) and also overcoming potential unwillingness of these stakeholders to participate. In this paper, we take the experience of the Study of Undergraduate Performance (SUPER) in conducting a large-scale international assessment as a case study. We discuss ways in which we mitigated perceived risks, built trust, and provided incentives to ensure the successful engagement of stakeholders during the study’s implementation.
A significant aspect of computational thinking is as a way of reasoning about the world in terms of data. This mindset channels number-crunching toward an ambition to discover knowledge through logic, models and simulations. Here we show how computational cognitive science can be used to reconstruct and analyse the structure of computational thinking mindsets (forma mentis in Latin) through complex networks. As a case study, we investigate cognitive networks tied to key concepts of computational thinking provided by (i) 159 high school students enrolled in a science curriculum and (ii) 59 researchers in complex systems and simulations. Researchers’ reconstructed knowledge highlighted a positive mindset about scientific modelling, semantically framing data and simulations as ways of discovering nature. Students correctly identified different aspects of logic reasoning but perceived ‘computation’ as a distressing, anxiety-eliciting task, framed with math jargon and lacking links to real-world discovery. Students’ mindsets around ‘data’, ‘model’ and ‘simulations’ critically revealed no awareness of numerical modelling as a way for understanding the world. Our findings provide evidence of a crippled computational thinking mindset in students, who acquire mathematical skills that are not channelled toward real-world discovery through coding. This unlinked knowledge ends up being perceived as distressing number-crunching expertise with no relevant outcome. The virtuous mindset of researchers reported here indicates that computational thinking can be restored by training students specifically in coding, modelling and simulations in relation to discovering nature. Our approach opens innovative ways for quantifying computational thinking and enhancing its development through mindset reconstruction.
Universities contribute to economic growth and national competitiveness by equipping students with higher-order thinking and academic skills. Despite large investments in university science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, little is known about how the skills of STEM undergraduates compare across countries and by institutional selectivity. Here, we provide direct evidence on these issues by collecting and analysing longitudinal data on tens of thousands of computer science and electrical engineering students in China, India, Russia and the United States. We find stark differences in skill levels and gains among countries and by institutional selectivity. Compared with the United States, students in China, India and Russia do not gain critical thinking skills over four years. Furthermore, while students in India and Russia gain academic skills during the first two years, students in China do not. These gaps in skill levels and gains provide insights into the global competitiveness of STEM university students across nations and institutional types.
The use of digital resources in school education plays an important role in the modern world, especially in the context of distance learning. Despite this, the school remains quite a conservative social institute, where adoption of new technologies faces a number of external and internal barriers. Thus, there may be insufficient material and resource base of the school, lack of additional time and technical support for teachers, as well as personal characteristics of teachers, their internal attitudes and resistance to change, that deter the successful adoption of digital resources in the educational process. The aim of this research is to identify and describe the strategies for the adoption of digital resources in the educational process by Russian school teachers, and also to detect the determinants of differences in their choices of those strategies. The empirical basis of this study is a randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers of the International Laboratory for Evaluation of Practices and Innovations in Education for the Russian IT company Yandex in the 2018/2019 academic year with 347 Russian schools participated in the study. During the 25 weeks, the experimental group of 165 teachers from these schools was recommended to use the digital service named Yandex.Textbook, which provides individualized digital home tasks in Mathematics and Russian language with automated checking. We analyzed the average weekly number of home tasks given by every teacher to identify their strategies for using Yandex.Textbook. With the help of time series cluster analysis, there were identified three different strategies for using digital resources. The first one presents a situation where a teacher uses Yandex.Textbook from the very beginning with pauses during school holidays. The second strategy is typical for those teachers who join the experiment later and start with a bigger amount of home tasks than the first ones, to compensate for the lost time. The third strategy is usual for teachers who use Yandex.Textbook only once or twice, despite recommendations. Further analysis with the use of multinomial regression showed that relationship of teachers’ characteristics and their strategy choice. Those teachers who are more likely to choose the 2nd strategy (“delayed start”) tend to have a bigger working experience and a lower education level than the teachers that realized the 1st strategy. At the same time, there was no significant relationship between strategy choice and personal ICT and user experience. Besides, chances for choosing the 3rd strategy (“sporadic use”), as well as the 2nd one, are higher for teachers in schools where principals consider the lack of computers with the Internet connection as a significant obstacle to the use of new technologies. This research shows how the external and internal barriers of Russian school teachers determine the dynamics of digital resource adoption in the educational process. These results allow us to identify teachers who may need additional support for the further integration of digital resources. This is an important result for education policymakers and school principals who plan to introduce new digital learning resources into practice.
Measures of psychological attributes, such as motivation, typically involve rating scales, assuming that an attribute can be ordered. If an attribute has an ordinal structure, its levels stand in ordinal relations to one another, and these must be transitive. We tested if transitivity is preserved when people compare different motives in terms of their importance to learning. We found transitivity violations in both strict (Study 1) and non-strict (Study 2) orderings in about half of the participants. Nevertheless, based on the distribution of such violations, we conclude that an ordinal structure of motivation can be found, but only when levels of motives differ noticeably. As the levels become subjectively similar, transitivity is not preserved, and the ordinal structure cannot be justified even in non-strict ordering. The findings question the mainstream practice of measuring psychological attributes before their structure is properly explored.
The tendencies of increasing complexity and dynamism of the modern educational environment, full of new actors and new formats, caused the relevance of educational ecosystem mapping based on straightforward principles. It seems to be necessary for the purposes of using common principles in future empirical phenomenon research, expeditions and fieldwork, and, thus, ensuring data comparability.
The article describes a methodical framework for creating educational ecosystem map (cartography principles). With the aid of these principles the “portrait” of city educational ecosystem is performed. Educational ecosystem map is presented as socio-cultural network that contains its most significant nodes - actors, including conventional and unconventional institutes, and links between them.
The empirical part of this study contributes to investigation of new roles and new functions of conventional actors as well as emergence of unconventional ones. The authors record their relationship with urban infrastructure elements and analyze their input in social and educational local environment forming. Furthermore, it is shown that schools and universities take on new roles related to creating active communities and venture business. Unconventional actors, including makerspaces, accelerators, crowdfunding platforms and others, are involved in supporting lifelong learning conception and fostering local entrepreneurship.
Measurement in social sciences implies that the measured feature is quantitative, or
in other words that it is possible not only to arrange the values of any given attribute, but also
to express the difference between ordered magnitudes using a certain unit of measurement.
However the need to verify this basic assumption is often ignored. And though there are a few
possible excuses for this, but fundamentally this neglect distracts the social sciences from its
main task of exploring reality. In this work, one of the requirements for the ordinal structure
of motives was checked, namely the requirement of transitivity: if a > b and b > c, then a >
If transitivity is not observed, then motives cannot be evaluated even on an ordinal scale
(“more – less”, “stronger – weaker”), not to mention their quantitative measurement,
which all methods that use Likert scales are supposedly tailored to. On a sample of 250
students, it was shown that about half of the respondents established transitivity when
arranging their motives (internal, external and social ones), which justifies the use of ordinal
scales for motivation assessment, at least for these motives and for two values: “more” and
“less”; however, even in these cases, further validation of the assumptions about additivity
when it comes to measuring motives is required to justify the use of Likert scales. The other
part of the respondents (about 40%) could neither distinguish nor arrange their motives,
therefore not only measuring, but even defining the order of their motives in these cases
is impossible. It is concluded that the transitivity error is associated with the individual
characteristics of the respondents and requires further study as a systematic error.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education research indicates a gender gap in how students perceive their mathematical ability. Even when there are no gender disparities in math achievement, girls tend to have lower expectations of success and lower self-reported proficiency in the subject than boys. Empirical findings show that development of growth mindset could bridge the gender gap in students’ perceptions of their mathematical ability and enhance girls’ interest in math. Formative feedback is one of the possible tools to foster the development of growth mindsets.
This study investigates the impact of an e-learning platform with automated feedback on the development of growth mindsets in elementary school children. Empirical data was collected during an experiment which involved 6,300 third-grade students from 343 regional schools in Russia. Statistically significant differences were revealed between students in the control group and those who used the e-learning platform (experimental group). However, the effects of using the platform were significantly lower for girls than boys.
The results obtained in this study point to the great potential of e-learning platforms with instant feedback in fostering growth mindsets in mathematics among elementary school children. Furthermore, it appears vital to integrate tailored feedback for boys and girls to mitigate gender differences in school math education.
The reasons for innovations inside and outside the education system have attracted much research interest over the past decades. However, there is still a lack of methodological tools to measure motives of actors coming from inside and outside the system to launch their innovative projects. The article describes approaches to measure the construct “motivation for innovative activity,” as well as the results of adaptation of the scale aimed at measuring motives for creation of innovative educational projects. The tool is based on the scale, constructed in English, “Reasons to create business projects” (PSED). In this research the scale was translated into Russian, adapted for the group of innovators in education and validated within a classical framework of combining exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (EFA and CFA, respectively). Additionally, the subscales were evaluated in terms of internal coherence. The Russian and the English version of the scale were compared, and each subscale was interpreted. Adaptation was performed on the sample of innovators in education, that is, the participants of Competition of Innovations in Education (N = 286). The final scale includes 16 statements and allows to evaluate the intensity of four motivational attitudes towards innovative activity: “Social significance,” “Innovations and creativity,” “Self-realization and achievement,” “Finance and autonomy.” The identified motives reflect certain endeavors and goals of innovators and determine the content and orientation of their educational projects. The instrument can be used for both research and practice purposes to explore motivation of proactive actors in education, as well as similar groups involved in the development of public social spheres. The full version of the scale is presented in the appendix and contains the instructions for respondents and scoring criteria for four subscales