Educational reforms is often aimed at building social cohesion or aligning one part of an education system with another. School curriculum reform is one possible way for disseminating what society would like to be taught in every school in a country. However, merely the introduction of reforms is not enough if they would not come true in schools’ day-to-day process. On a country level, the data on what is taking place in schools are usually difficult to relate with what was proposed by the reforms, especially with attainment. Using a natural experiment situation, this chapter describes the process of curriculum reform in Russian-medium schools in Latvia and Estonia. The research question focuses on whether those curriculum reforms were successful from the perspective of schools interiorization of new curriculum and PISA performance improvement. Using the three-layered curriculum (intended, implemented, and attained curriculum) approach, this study analyses how the intentions from the laws and other reform-related documents were implemented in everyday school practice and are reflected in attained educational results. For addressing this issue, a series of in-depth interviews in Russian-medium schools, in conjunction with the PISA 2003-2012 trends analysis, were conducted. The results showed that intended and attained curricula have become closer in both countries. Schools actively implement proposed teaching, and PISA performance has been constantly increasing, showing that the attained curriculum is approaching what it is intended to be, though this process is different in the two countries.
Contemporary compulsory schooling emerged in the nineteenth century for the needs of an industrial age. Compulsory schooling has always relied on the Panoptic schema described by Michel Foucault. In recent decades, the development of surveillance technologies has made Panoptic schemas in schools even stronger. Information technology and the transition to an information society has significantly undermined schools' power structures. Teachers no longer possess a monopoly on knowledge. Students have learned to escape the teachers' gaze and can lead virtual lives through their own smartphones inside and outside formal educational settings. One form of modern peer-to-peer interaction takes place on social networking websites that give users the option to be 'hidden', 'passive' or 'inactive' if they wish. To examine the influence of social networking on education we rely on the Foucault's Panopticon theory. Whilst the traditional Panoptic regime may be crumbling, the social network phenomenon can transform modern learning environments for productive educational engagement. Foucault's framework does not take into account the social networks phenomenon. Therefore, empirical evidence is required to articulate the nuances of the modern-day Panopticon. In this chapter we use interviews with teachers to illustrate the reflection of Panoptic logics and practices onto the social networks in classrooms. We explore the possibility for developing dialogically based and student-led pedagogies through social networking websites. 'I do not know how I should communicate with students online, when they write me a private message and call me by my first name. Should I play by their rules on this space? Or, do I need to use the constructs from school?
Argues that explaining national declines in test scores is as important as explaining increases.
Interviews with Australian experts on reasons for Australia’s large decline in PISA scores.
Uses microdata from PISA and TIMSS scores to test expert explanations for decline.
Finds that decline is pervasive across Australian states and social class groups.
Finds that there is no clear explanation for the large decrease in Australia’s PISA scores.
This chapter aims at establishing the current balance between two fundamental legal principles in the Russian legal system - priority of international law and supremacy of the Constitution throughout the territory of the state. It argues that (1) because both principles have the same – highest – constitutional status in the legal system and this status is clearly defined, reconciliation of their hierarchical prevalence is extremely problematic; (2) the federal legislator introduced a delicate mechanism of resolving conflicts between international courts and tribunals and domestic law, however, the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) retains a very wide margin of appreciation as to when such mechanism can be applied; (3) although all possible measures are taken by the RCC to ensure harmonious combination of national and international decisions in the Russian legal system, in exceptional cases Russian highest courts do adhere to the ‘strongest available protection of human rights’ principle to resolve possible conflicts of interpretation between international norms and the Russian Constitution.
This chapter demonstrates new trends in regulation of education in Russia, particuarly general education. It explores the positive developments in institutional development of education system and in the legal status of teachers and students. The new law 'On Education in the Russian Federation' and following legislation made Russian educational system more transparent and accessible. For example, all educational institutions of all levels, types and forms are now obliged to make important information about themselves available online. This rule is strictly monitored by both state agencies and public oversight bodies. Furthermore, education system has become more open to international exchange of foreign students, teachers, and learning technologies. It is a very important development that allowed Russian authorities to establish a very ambitious goal to ensure that by 2020 at least 5 of Russia’s best universities will be rated in the world’s top 100.
Education is now much better funded and regulated. The work of providers of both public and private education is becoming more open to external public scrutiny and, essentially, more accountable. The content of education is becoming more diverse and adaptable to the needs of the society. Of paramount importance is the growing public involvement and public interest in making education more accessible for all and of better quality. It seems, indeed, that the combination of strong systematic legislative regulation and encouragement of public participation in resolving issues of both nation-wide and local importance have a combined positive effect.
The book is a result of the first ever study of the transformations of the higher education institutional landscape in fifteen former USSR countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It explores how the single Soviet model that developed across the vast and diverse territory of the Soviet Union over several decades has evolved into fifteen unique national systems, systems that have responded to national and global developments while still bearing some traces of the past. The book is distinctive as it presents a comprehensive analysis of the reforms and transformations in the region in the last 25 years; and it focuses on institutional landscape through the evolution of the institutional types established and developed in Pre-Soviet, Soviet and Post-Soviet time. It also embraces all fifteen countries of the former USSR, and provides a comparative analysis of transformations of institutional landscape across Post-Soviet systems. It will be highly relevant for students and researchers in the fields of higher education and and sociology, particularly those with an interest in historical and comparative studies.
Student attrition in postsecondary education is a significant public policy problem. Nations invest substantial resources in college systems, and when students leave, this investment is lost. To understand the factors that influence student attrition in US and Russian public universities, we use the perspective of academic momentum, defined empirically as measures representing student enrollment and study progress. Using a discrete-time event history analysis of samples of eight US and two Russian universities, we provide support for the central claims of the academic momentum theory that undergraduate students who progress through college more rapidly have a lower likelihood of attrition. However, a more detailed analysis reveals variability in the relationship between several academic momentum measures and student attrition, depending on a university’s selectivity and the student’s chosen academic field and gender.
The present paper examines the linguistic behaviour of the first wave of Pontic Greek immigrants to Cyprus based on their internalized language attitudes and dominant language ideologies. Since the time of its settlement in Cyprus in the early/mid 1990s, the predominantly Turkish-speaking community of Pontic Greeks has experienced a rapid linguistic and cultural transformation. This occurred primarily due to the local population’s (i.e. Greek-Cypriots’) reluctance to recognize the Turkish-speaking Pontic Greeks as belonging to the Greek linguistic and cultural ‘world’ in light of the former’s historical and socio-political tensions with the Turkish-Cypriot minority. More specifically, I will analyse the factors that have contributed to this rapid language shift and show what (non-) linguistic means are employed by the members of the Pontic Greek community to index their ethnic identity and belonging.
The issue of translatability is pressing in international evaluation, in global transfer of evaluative instruments, in comparative performance management, and in culturally responsive evaluation. Terms that are never fully understood, digested, or accepted may continue to influence issues, problems, and social interactions in and around and after evaluations. Their meanings can be imposed or reinvented. Untranslatable terms are not just “lost in translation” but may produce overflows that do not go away. The purpose of this article is to increase attention to the issue of translatability in evaluation by means of specific exemplars. We provide a short dictionary of such exemplars delivered by evaluators, consultants, and teachers who work across a variety of contexts. We conclude with a few recommendations: highlight frictions in translatability by deliberately circulating and discussing words of relevance that appear to be “foreign”; increase the language skills of evaluators; and make research on frictions in translation an articulate part of the agenda for research on evaluation.
Homophily, the tendency of individuals to associate with others who share similar traits, has been identified as a major driving force in the formation and evolution of social ties. In many cases, it is not clear if homophily is the result of a socialization process, where individuals change their traits according to the dominance of that trait in their local social networks, or if it results from a selection process, in which individuals reshape their social networks so that their traits match those in the new environment. Here we demonstrate the detailed temporal formation of strong homophily in academic achievements of high school and university students. We analyze a unique dataset that contains information about the detailed time evolution of a friendship network of 6,000 students across 42 months. Combining the evolving social network data with the time series of the academic performance (GPA) of individual students, we show that academic homophily is a result of selection: students prefer to gradually reorganize their social networks according to their performance levels, rather than adapting their performance to the level of their local group. We find no signs for a pull effect, where a social environment of good performers motivates bad students to improve their performance. We are able to understand the underlying dynamics of grades and networks with a simple model. The lack of a social pull effect in classical educational settings could have important implications for the understanding of the observed persistence of segregation, inequality and social immobility in societies.
This article attempts to describe the deleterious impact of higher educational changes affecting female faculty members working in Tajik universities in the post-Soviet era. Over the past two decades, the social and economic position women gained during Soviet times has significantly eroded, bringing enormous challenges to education and higher education access, completion and staffing. The demographic and cultural marginalization of women here has negatively impacted university teaching opportunities and the status of women faculty members. Ethnographic interviews – along with relevant secondary data – reveal that despite various official gender-equity policies announced by the state, female participation issues remain prominent in the university. Our interviewees also report continued difficulty entering higher faculty ranks and leadership positions in university. However, significant numbers of women are still to be found there, and they report a workable compromise between being professional educators and trying to navigate a local culture that is becoming more ‘traditional’.
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.
Despite the differences in political, social, economic, and cultural histories, Brazil, Russia, India, and China share the common characteristics. The BRIC countries are very large in terms of population, territory, and economy. Each country has great economic and political influence in the regions, as well as dominance in education sphere (Altbach et al. 2013). They are emerging markets as their economies have been rapidly growing for the last decades while remaining lower middle income or upper middle income countries (World Bank 2016). The experience of these countries is critical for understanding the higher education system dynamics in large countries with limited resources.
The Republic of Moldova has a long history of shifting borders, and a short history as an independent state. Higher education only expanded during the Soviet era, which saw 9 public higher education institutions come into existence between 1926 and 1988. On the one hand, ample state funding for higher education allowed an unprecedented growth in access to higher education, a well-developed technical and material base, and internationally comparable educational standards. On the other hand, high level of centralization of the Soviet educational system made it static and unable to adequately respond to the changing needs of a dynamic labor market. Strict educational centralization led to bureaucratization of management, authoritarianism, excessive uniformity, lack of understanding of local conditions, stifling of ‘bottom-up’ initiative, and lack of academic mobility. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, participation in higher education was still the third lowest among all Soviet republics.
Russia (Russian Federation) has the largest territory in the world and extends over 11 time zones. As a federal state, Russia has 85 regions. Over 146 million people (FSSS 2016) are unevenly distributed throughout the country. About 77% of the population lives in the more urbanized European part of the country, whereas the Asian part of the country occupies more than 76% of the total area. The youth population is declining. Although there are around 180 different ethnic groups in Russia, most of the populations (78%) are ethnic Russians (Statdata 2017).
The Russian economy is based heavily on natural resources. As of 2015, it was the 13th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP (World Bank 2017a) and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (World Bank 2017b).
The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees the right to free higher education on a competitive basis for those obtaining it for the first time. General and vocational education is free and available to all.
The social and economic landscape has been rapidly changing in Russia during the last quarter of a century. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia experienced many changes, including: • The movement to an electoral democracy and a market economy • The rejection of a planned human resources policy relating to the main economic sectors • The decline or elimination of a number of key industries (OECD 2007)
Does public investment in educational innovations makes sense? Is there a tangible return on investment in innovations, either public or private? We know for certain that investments in expanding the existing modes of education do pay off (Becker 2009). But does it make sense to invest in innovation? This chapter will consider available evidence on impact of educational innovation, primarily at K-12 level. It will also demonstrate the need to conceptualize the impact of innovation. Work conducted within the next generation of educational reform should look very different from what we have done so far.