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Статья

The Impact of Investments in Additional Preparation on Unified State Exam Results

Russian Education and Society. 2015. Vol. 57. No. 5. P. 384-414.

The paper proposes a model of educational strategies for college entrants that makes it possible to assess the investment efficiency in additional preparation as evidenced by the Unified State Exam [USE] scores. It was found that college entrants still use traditional forms of preparation despite the new institutional admission conditions at universities. However, it was expected that after the unification of the examination system prospective students would be less likely to resort to extra classes in order to prepare for university entrance. A survey of first-year students and their parents was conducted. It included a total of 1,600 households in the 16 largest Russian cities. A positive relationship was found between monetary investments and time spent on additional preparation courses, on the one hand, and exam results, on the other. However, the return on these investments was low. These results were based on an assessment of a modified function of the educational achievements of students. On the one hand, this means that the results of the USE are connected to the efforts of prospective students, and on the other it shows that those who pursue additional preparation outside of school may gain an advantage by achieving an overall higher score, thereby creating inequality in access to higher education. The particular school that a student is enrolled in and that student's school performance are more significant factors in some cases than the effect of additional preparation.