Olympiads: Attracting Top Talent in a Non-Standard Way
Matching students with universities in Russia occurs via a complicated procedure. Most students are admitted based on the Unified State Exam (USE)—a standardized government-organized test, while the most selective universities enroll the winners of the Olympiads—intellectual competitions for high-schoolers. Olympiads have a long history in Russia—enthusiasts organized the first mathematical competitions in the 1960s. Today, there are hundreds of Olympiads in which high school students compete in all school subjects and in non-curriculum fields, such as robotics, critical thinking, creative writing, and business. Some Olympiad awards (in most cases, at the university's discretion) open the doors to a bachelor's program bypassing all examinations; others exempt students from certain subjects in USE.
This paper examines the characteristics of students admitted to Russian universities with different levels of selectivity. First, we argue that students differ not only by the results of the Unified State Exam (USE), the university entrance exam, but by family and school characteristics, and by educational strategies. Next, it is shown that the probability of being admitted to the most selective HEIs is determined not only by the USE scores, but by characteristics that are not directly related to the applicants’ abilities, such as class specialisation in secondary schools, and high school location. Moreover, we have found that income has an indirect impact on the admission results: a higher level of income increases the probability of being admitted to highly selective universities through the level of investment in pre-entry coaching and the regional differences in wages. On the other hand, regional differences in costs of living decrease the opportunities of studying in selective universities. Hence, schooling and financial barriers without alternative student support can limit the participation of less affluent students in selective universities.
This article provides a comparative analysis of accessibility of higher education across Russian regions in terms of the following three factors: the availability of admission opportunities; financial affordability; and geographic accessibility.
The study will be of interest to government agencies in higher education at various levels, analysts and researchers, as well as a wide range of readers focused on regional differences in higher education systems and policies.
Modern graduates need to work with electronic devices. On laboratory work, students conduct experiments to solve practical problems of researching real problems that arise in the design and operation of electronic devices. However, the shortage of laboratory equipment, its high cost and the shortage of laboratory assistants for maintenance and assistance in work reduces the quality of laboratory work. On the other hand, modern education is increasingly using a network resource. Virtual laboratories have their advantages, but even when carrying out a physical experiment in them, the sense of the reality of what is happening disappears. Effective solutions to the effectiveness and quality of conducting laboratory exercises can be found using a system of virtual instruments that can be accessed via the Internet or directly at the university.
The aim of the research is to show, by the example of one experimental device made on the National Instruments ELVIS platform, the advantages of a combined approach to learning - a successful combination of a virtual resource and a real physical experiment. The laboratory model described in the article is very practical for studying radio engineering devices, and it can ideologically serve as a basis for other similar developments.
The research was based on the prototype board for studying the basics of analog electronics for the NI ELVIS workstation, the cycle of laboratory work on the general technical discipline "Electronics", the results of their protection, and the results of intermediate student controls. In work methods: laboratory experiment, modeling, pedagogical testing were used.
The results of the research show that students feel the need for more knowledge about real processes and systems. This need is most evident in the direction of the preparation of bachelors of engineering and technology. They expect from a laboratory work a real physical experiment, but with the convenience of computer-processing results. A new paradigm for studying radio electronic devices based on physical experiments in a virtual instrument system gives an improvement in the quality of instruction and allows students to effectively study the circuitry of analog devices. The ideology of virtual instruments leads to more motivation for students, they get skills in working with modern measuring equipment and at the same time communication skills in a group, since the computer resource is used as a research tool, not the purpose of learning.
A physical experiment using virtual measuring instruments, accessibility and mobility of laboratory facilities, additional motivation of students are the main advantages of using the NI ELVIS hardware and software platform with a specialized breadboard model in the educational process.