Using Contextual Data in the Education Quality Assessment System: Tools Development and Testing Practices
The paper proposes an approach to assessing the performance of educational institutions with regard to their specific social features. To develop this approach, the authors relied upon 1) results of numerous studies proving correlations between student performance and contextual factors (both in Russia and abroad); 2) foreign colleagues’ experience of solving similar problems; and 3) the idea of providing minimum required information to enable such assessments in contemporary Russia. The fundamental idea behind the proposed assessment tool is that, having the necessary data at hand, one can empirically identify stable correlations between student performance and contextual factors (e. g., the social composition of students). In research practice, these correlations were revealed through multiple regression analysis. The results of such analysis established empirical correlationsmay then be used to “discount” formal progress; that is, to have justifiably higher expectations about insti¬tutions in more favorable contexts and lower expectations about those in less favorable situations. The authors con¬sider two ways of using this information— one based on a formula and one based on a specific index (the index of school social well-being) that they have developed. They also draw attention towards possible constraints associated with using these tools and touch upon the more global problem of considering contextu¬al factors in assessing the quality of education in Russia.