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Studying Inequality in Education

Martin Carnoy, Academic Supervisor of HSE International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, will be presenting his report entitled 'Studying inequality in education: big data and small data approaches ' at the XVIII April International Academic Conference this week.

His talk will focus on patterns of inequality in how the education system relates to individuals’ and groups’ social and economic position in the larger society; inequality that can be observed in the educational system, and inequality that is observed down to the classroom level, including the types of interactions that take place among students and between teachers and students.

Professor Carnoy will speak in general terms, although he will refer to research done in various countries, probably focusing on the US and Russia. The research involves using big data - in this context it is big national data sets that may coming students' test scores for different grades, the characteristics of their schools, including teacher information and the average community level of socio-economic variables. Big data can also come from multiple observations of students interacting with online courses. The idea of big data is that one is able to derive from them major patterns of relationships with a great deal of statistical significance.

The International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis is actively working with such national data sets. The laboratory is developing projects based on the longitudinal survey of Russian youth that began with the TIMSS survey of 2011 and is now in its 6th year and also on PISA surveys. The work is underway to finish two major books - one on Russian middle schooling, based on in-depth interviews and videotapes of almost 30 Russian schools and mathematics classrooms (a follow up to the 8th and 9th grade TIMSS and PISA surveys we conducted in 2011 and 2012), and the other book on educational inequality in Russia, which explores various aspects of the relation between education and unequal outcomes in Russian society.