The Unified State Examination and the Determinants of Academic Achievement: Does Investment in Pre-Entry Coaching Matter?
This article examines the relationship between pre-entry coaching (both in terms of money and effort) and the achievement of Russian high school graduates as measured by the results of the Unified State Examination (USE). Using a data set of students from the 16 biggest Russian cities, which includes information on USE results, family background, school characteristics, and patterns on pre-entry coaching, I estimate the factors that determine the final USE results. Characteristics of pre-entry courses (the duration of the program as well as the total fee) are related to higher USE scores, but the size of this association is moderate. Attending individual classes has a significant (but still moderate) relationship with the USE score in Russian, but the duration of a program moderately and positively relates to the USE scores. Other factors, like parental education, family income, student abilities, and the type of school attended are significant predictors of USE results in Russian, Mathematics, and the average USE score.