We assess and compare computer science skills among final-year computer science undergraduates (seniors) in four major economic and political powers that produce approximately half of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates in the world. We find that seniors in the United States substantially outperform seniors in China, India, and Russia by 0.76–0.88 SDs and score comparably with seniors in elite institutions in these countries. Seniors in elite institutions in the United States further outperform seniors in elite institutions in China, India, and Russia by ∼0.85 SDs. The skills advantage of the United States is not because it has a large proportion of high-scoring international students. Finally, males score consistently but only moderately higher (0.16–0.41 SDs) than females within all four countries.
Using newly available data from the Trajectories in Education and Careers Study, the first longitudinal study on a representative sample of high school students in Russia, we examined the importance of investments in human and cultural capital on students’ mathematics and reading standardized examinations, as well as on the likelihood of matriculation into a selective institution of higher education. Studying mathematics and the Russian language on one’s own for more than a year was positively and significantly associated with standardized scores and with an increased likelihood of matriculating into a selective university. A higher number of books at home was also associated with an increased likelihood of matriculating into a selective university. The findings are discussed within the particular institutional context of the Russian educational system.
How much university students learn in their studies is highly debated and important to
understanding the value of higher education. Yet, information on learning gains at this level
are scarce. Our paper contributes to the debate by using unique data for Brazil to estimate
absolute test score gains across various fields of study in higher education and to assess
whether students who attend certain categories of programs (public/private, research/non-
research, highly selective/less selective) make greater relative gains than in others. Our results
suggest that students in STEM fields tend to have higher absolute achievement gains compared
to students in humanities and pedagogical programs, and that in a few fields, such as civil
engineering and history, the relative gains for students in highly selective programs in that field
of study are significantly higher than if they had attended somewhat less selective programs.
However, students attending lowest quintile selective programs in a field of study have
consistently lower gains across a range of study fields than similar students attending programs
just one quintile higher. The results have important implications for the equity effects of higher
The Grit scale is a popular measure of achievement-striving behavior. Consisting of two subscales, Consistency of Interests (CI) and Perseverance of Effort (PE), this scale has been repeatedly demonstrated to have high reliability and validity. At the same time, an increasing number of studies explicitly report a low correlation between the subscales and distinct patterns of associations with external measures that each subscale forms. We explored whether there is psychometric evidence that a substantive single grit construct underlies the scale. To answer this question, we investigated the scale structure in a more robust framework than the classical test theory and factor analyses could previously provide. The Russian version of the Grit scale was developed and implemented on a representative sample of high school students (n = 2,269), and different models of item response theory (IRT), both unidimensional and multidimensional, were compared to find the best fitting model. The results confirmed that the subscales reflect related but independent constructs rather than the whole grit construct. The psychometric properties of the subscales were analyzed with the two-dimensional Partial Credit Model. Both subscales of the Russian version of the Grit scale are unidimensional, have good psychometric properties, and can be used to estimate respondents’ ability.
This article provides an empirically grounded analysis for two fundamentally different models of mathematics teachers’ beliefs about student diversity in Russian secondary schools: exclusive and inclusive models. Although teachers’ beliefs are considered a central factor for the differentiated approach, teachers’ beliefs could be stereotyped and, consequently, the evaluation of a student’s ability would be systematically shifted and decisions about the possibility of teaching a student would be incorrect. Semi-structured interviews with 30 mathematics teachers allowed us to investigate what criteria teachers claim to employ while classifying students in the classroom and what expectations they have for each group of students. It was found that within the exclusive model, teachers have an image of a “normal” student and use discrete categories for labelling students with reference to the “normality”. Within the inclusive model teachers tend not to match students with discrete categories; rather they prefer to compare a student only with herself or himself. Research findings are discussed in the context of a possible “fixed effect” on a student’s development. However, there is a need for further investigation of a connection between teachers’ belief systems, teaching practices, and student achievement.
Sociologists have argued that high-stakes tests open the door to high levels of educational inequality at transition points: in a high-stakes testing regime, parents and students are able to focus all energy and resources on test preparation, thus enhancing pre-existing inequalities in academic performance. But arguments about a special role for high-stakes tests are often prosecuted without explicit comparisons to other types of tests and assessments, usually because information on other tests is not available. In this article, we analyze a unique dataset on a contemporary cohort of Russian students, for whom we have PISA and TIMSS scores, low-stakes test scores, and high-stakes test scores. We compare the role each test plays in mediating socioeconomic background inequalities at the important transitions in the Russian educational system: the transition to upper secondary education and the transition to university. We find evidence in favor of a special role for the high-stakes test at the transition to university, but we also find evidence that gives cause to question the standard assumption that high-stakes tests should be a primary focus for those concerned about inequality of educational opportunity.
University faculty are frequently tasked with promoting academic honesty among students. However, there is little reliable evidence about whether faculty actions can prevent academic dishonesty. The purpose of this study is to examine whether more severe punishments from faculty can reduce academic dishonesty among students. We analyze nationally representative, longitudinal and matched data on engineering undergraduates and faculty from 33 universities in Russia, and document extremely high and increasing rates of dishonest academic attitudes among students, especially among the higher achieving students. In the first two years of study the proportion of students tolerant to academic dishonesty increases by 5 percentage points. We then show that despite the tide of increasing academic dishonesty among students, more severe punishments from faculty significantly and substantially improve student attitudes towards academic dishonesty. Taken together, the findings emphasize the importance of strengthening the role of faculty in promoting academic honesty among students.
The issue presents an analysis of the association between the functional literacy and students' characteristics and educational trajectories. The analysis is conducted on the data of the Russian longitudinal study "Trajectories in education and profession." The differences in socio-economic characteristics, academic self-esteem and performance, as well as the choice of educational trajectories among students with low, medium and high level of functional literacy in PISA-2012 are described. The results show that students with low literacy levels not only have low educational results, but also less realistic forecast their future achievements and trajectories.
This article investigates into the reform of national school curriculum in Russian-language schools in Latvia and Estonia. We assess how well the reform-related regulations have been integrated into everyday schooling practices and reflected in educational outcomes in order to measure the success of the education reform in terms of adopting the new learning standard and improving the PISA results. The study exploits the situation of natural experiment that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, with countries that used to have a common education system taking different reform paths and achieving different outcomes. National school curriculum is analyzed at three levels: as intended (stipulated in documents), as implemented (taught by school teachers), and as attained (reflected in test results). Such three-level analysis required studying the documents that described the key reform provisions, conducting a series of in-depth interviews in Russian-language schools to investigate the process of integrating the proposed innovations in teaching practices, and analyzing how PISA results in Latvia and Estonia had changed between 2006 and 2015. It is shown that the gap between the curriculum as intended and as attained has reduced in both countries. Schools have been actively integrating the changes proposed, and PISA results have been improving consistently, yet the methods of achieving those results differ between the countries. The natural experiment study design allowed to explore educational reform processes in the two countries as well as to assess the effects of the reforms introduced.
In this paper, we study the relationship between family characteristics and the choice of an educational trajectory in high school. We explore three situations of educational choice: the choice between academic and vocational education after grades 9th (middle to high school transition) and 11th (postsecondary) as well as the choice between selective and non-selective university at the postsecondary educational choice. In accordance with R.Budon’s theory we explore primary and secondary effects of family’s socioeconomic status (SES). Primary effects are expressed via association between family’s SES and educational achievements. Secondary effects are expressed via association between students SES and their educational choices directly. The work is based on the data of the longitudinal project "Trajectories in Education and Careers". It was launched in 2011, when respondents studied in the 8th grade, and continues to these days. The dataset provide variables on the wide range of achievement, family’s SES and other important information proxies. For achievement TIMSS mathematics and USE in Russian language were used. The results showed that the primary effects reduce from the 9th to the 11th grades education choice, while the role of secondary effects increase. Even high achieving students from families with a low level of cultural, educational, and social capital chose less selective institutions. Conversely, students from families with high SES, but low academic achievements, will make a choice in favor of higher education. Conclusions are made about the degree of accessibility during transition into the high school and higher education, as well as the probable causes of the manifestation of inequality.
The authors are in the process of developing and testing a theoretical model of productive analogy which would more accurately reflect processes of creating new scientific and technical ideas than the currently popular model of thinking on the analogy. It is assumed that the structure of productive analogy includes 1) coding of the actual task, its key elements and relations between them; 2) scanning of background information or long-term memory for situations or tasks or their elements similar to elements of the current task; 3) comparison of the discovered analogues to the current task with the aim of finding the most appropriate; 4) decision-taking and assessment. The authors argue that thinking on the analogy which is measured by classical four-component tasks (a:b::c:d), although it includes comparison of analogies, cannot represent the actual process of decision-seeking because of the existence of response variations that block scanning of background information and affect coding of initial relations. The authors argue that it is necessary to include coding of the structure of the task and scanning of background information as processes involved in generating a productive analogy. A study was conducted with participation of students (n = 98) in order to test three regression models involving: 1) traditionally measured comparison of analogues; 2) scanning of background information; 3) coding of the structure of the task. It was discovered that inclusion of scanning and coding in the model of productive analogy brings about meaningful increase of the ratio of explained dispersion in effectiveness of generation of productive analogies. Growth of the explanatory power of the new model is not caused solely by adding new cognitive dimensions. It was also discovered that, although a greater number of semantically distant productive analogies were generated, close analogies more often turned out to be correct. The findings prove validity of the theoretical model of productive analogy, but also show that further improvement of the model is required by means of including in it the process of restructuring of the initial task.