Using TIMSS and PISA results to inform educational policy: a study of Russia and its neighbours
In this paper, we develop a multi-level comparative approach to analyse Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) and Programme of International Student Achievement (PISA) mathematics results for a country, Russia, where the two tests provide contradictory information about students’ relative performance. Russian students do relatively well on the TIMSS mathematics test but relatively poorly on the PISA. We compare the performance of Russian students with different levels of family academic resources over the past decade on these tests compared to students with similar family resources in Russia’s neighbours and to Russian students studying in Latvian and Estonian Russian-medium schools. These comparisons and interviews with educators in Latvia and Estonia help us understand why students in Russia may perform lower on the PISA and to draw education policy lessons for improving international test performance generally and Russian students’ PISA mathematics performance specifically
In recent years, many countries have begun to pay more attention to the results of comparative international studies in education, for example, TIMSS, PIRLS, and PISA. In addition to international comparisons of students' outcomes, the issue of within-country differences in students’ results and access to educational resources is becoming increasingly relevant. Such within-country comparisons became possible in 2019 when the last data of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) arrived.,. In this regard Russia, as a country with a large territory and great social, economic and language diversity, might become an interesting case to examine. The research focus will be on the regional differences not only in students' results in reading, mathematics, and science, but also in their access to educational resources controlling their socio-economic and school context that is traditionally associated by researchers with higher students’ performance.
This paper examines the concept of spatial heterogeneity using the data of two Russian regions – Moscow Region and the Tatarstan republic. We compare the estimates for the relationship of students' PISA results with their personal, family and school characteristics, analyzing regional differences in share of variation in PISA performance, explained by these predictors.
Thus, regional inequality in PISA results is observed in all three subjects – mathematics, reading, and sciences. Moreover, the gap in the average scores of students in the Moscow region and the Republic of Tatarstan corresponds to almost five months, or a half-year of studying. This level of regional differences exceeds the international one. Large and significant differences are observed in the family and school characteristics. The contribution of these predictors to students’ achievements also vary among regions. This is an important point for educational policy which shows that the effectiveness of decisions can also vary depending on the territory.
The authors estimate contribution of different factors in reading skills of 15?year-olds by using four models of multilevel regression analysis. It turned out that the most significant factor is family background — not only at the individual level, but at the school level as well (average school socio-economic status of schoolchildren families effects average reading skills). At the school level the aggregated family characteristics of students affect individual achievements, and this effect surpasses an effect of school resources and localization of schools — those school factors that show a significant contribution to achievement. Attitudes toward reading and learning are significant at the individual level, but at the school level children’s attitudes toward reading and school don’t make an independent contribution to the individual results.
Dramatic political, socio-economic, and cultural transformation of Russia in recent decades are often compared to the reforms of Peter the Great. The ongoing reform of education, which is part of the changer, attracts international attention. There have been voices within the Czech: pedagogical public, growing in intensity in the past few years, pointing out the lack of information on the development of education in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, on the transformation of the educational system, and on the problems solved by politicians, experts, as well as school practice in the multi-ethnic and multi-national state. These problems may be of interest not only to the witnesses of the era of Soviet pedagogy and intensive work and personal contacts with its representatives, but also to the younger generation of teachers and researchers. The aim of the publication is to draw attention to education in the Russian Federation, providing the Czech educational community, professionals, and the general public with up-to-date information, as well as documenting, from a critical-analytical perspective, the development, current situation, and trends in Russian schooling.
The paper discusses recent initiatives undertaken by the Russian Government that are aimed to attract highly qualified foreign specialists to Russian higher education institutions. The authors describe obstacles that both institutions and specialists face. Best practices to attract leading scientists used in various countries are identified.
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Across the world STEM (learning and work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has taken central importance in education and the economy in a way that few other disciplines have. STEM competence has become seen as key to higher productivity, technological adaptation and research-based innovation. No area of educational provision has a greater current importance than the STEM disciplines yet there is a surprising dearth of comprehensive and world-wide information about STEM policy, participation, programs and practice.
The Age of STEM is a state of the art survey of the global trends and major country initiatives in STEM. It gives an international overview of issues such as:
STEM strategy and coordination curricula, teaching and assessment women in STEM indigenous students research training STEM in the graduate labour markets STEM breadth and STEM depth
The individual chapters give comparative international analysis as well as a global overview, particularly focusing on the growing number of policies and practices in mobilising and developing talent in the STEM fields. The book will be of particular interest to anyone involved in educational policy, those in education management and leaders in both schooling and tertiary education. It will have a wider resonance among practitioners in the STEM disciplines, particularly at university level, and for those interested in contemporary public policy.
The chapter focuses on STEM policies in Russia in recent years. It discusses the dynamics of STEM provision at all levels of education from primary to postgraduate, including the decline of participation in STEM disciplines, the underrepresentation of women and other trends in the Russian context. It also notes the lack of evidence for a clearcut link between STEM education and labour market outcomes for STEM degree holders. STEM policies in Russia require greater consistency, and more effective integration with other educational policies and with goals of national development.
Institutions affect investment decisions, including investments in human capital. Hence institutions are relevant for the allocation of talent. Good market-supporting institutions attract talent to productive value-creating activities, whereas poor ones raise the appeal of rent-seeking. We propose a theoretical model that predicts that more talented individuals are particularly sensitive in their career choices to the quality of institutions, and test these predictions on a sample of around 95 countries of the world. We find a strong positive association between the quality of institutions and graduation of college and university students in science, and an even stronger negative correlation with graduation in law. Our findings are robust to various specifications of empirical models, including smaller samples of former colonies and transition countries. The quality of human capital makes the distinction between educational choices under strong and weak institutions particularly sharp. We show that the allocation of talent is an important link between institutions and growth.