The article presents an analysis of new trends in the management of education based on the experience of the State University - Higher School of Economics (SU-HSE). Since its founding in 1992, HSE has focused on choosing and introducing the most efficient forms of organization. Considering each introduced innovation one by one, the author analyzes the essence of each new form of organization, its impact on education at SU-HSE, how it was implemented, what the teachers and students think of it, and how it can be further developed.
Expected learning outcomes have changed following the adoption of the new Federal State Educational Standards of General Education. New organizational forms, teaching methods and tools are required to achieve the new learning outcomes, which affects functionality of conventional learning aids, school textbooks in particular. New interrelation mechanisms are being developed between the textbook and the other components of learning environment, transforming the textbook from the “communicator of ready-to-consume knowledge” into a “navigator for independent learning”. Under such circumstances, it is important to evaluate teachers’ attitudes towards the textbooks used, their perception of the changing role of textbooks in the learning process, and their satisfaction with textbook content, namely the methodological apparatus and its potential for achieving the new learning outcomes.
This article presents the results of a survey assessing school teachers’ perceptions of the system of learning tasks in some widely assigned social theory textbooks from the series edited by Leonid Bogolyubov, Anatoly Nikitin and Tatyana Nikitina, Gennady Bordovsky, and Yevgeniya Korolkova. The survey covered thirteen regions of the Russian Federation: Moscow Oblast, Voronezh, Tambov, Bryansk, Tver, Smolensk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, and Saransk. The interview questionnaire included six themed modules: target audience profile analysis, teachers’ usage of different textbooks, the role of social theory textbooks in the learning process, textbook influence on the achievement of the new learning outcomes (formation of key 21st century competencies), teachers’ assessment of teaching guidebooks, and availability of social theory teaching packages in schools.
The article only explores the findings obtained for one questionnaire module, which explored how the methodological apparatus of social theory textbooks affected the creation of conditions for achieving metadisciplinary learning outcomes by school students, and offers recommendations on improving this apparatus.
A survey of first-year philology students was conducted in autumn 2008 at Moscow Humanitarian Pedagogical Institute (MHPI) with a purpose to explore their reading interests and to get an idea of how they had read the required school reading books — whether in full, in short summaries, or in excerpts. The same survey was conducted in 2013 among first-year philology students of the Institute of Humanities at Moscow City Pedagogical University, of which the MHPI became part in 2012. We discovered that high-school students did not read all dramatic and epic required reading books in full and showed little interest towards books telling about the painful points of the Russian history (collectivization, repressions, famine, etc.) or stories with complicated plots. The list of particularly important books has changed insignificantly, consisting almost entirely of required school reading books and foreign books, with their number reduced by a third for the last five years. The scope of reading interests also proved to involve mainly foreign literature and to have shrunken in the last five years. The required reading list and the number of books actually read by high-school graduates do not coincide: even philology-oriented school students read many books in excerpts or simplified versions. Literature as a school subject does not create enough motivation to read what is referred to as national literary classics. We find it necessary to revise the conventional attitudes to state prescriptions for teaching literature, to refuse from rigid required reading book lists, and to switch to a competency-based model of literary education outlined in the Federal State Literature Standards. A transition like that will require revision of the existing approaches to testing reading and speaking competencies of school leavers through the Unified State Examination.
The paper summarizes the results of a three-year-long experiment in implementing a system of credits and student ratings at the Higher School of Economics. The main outcome of the experiment was the methodological development, organization and implementation of a subject credit system, a module system of studying, a grading system based on a 10-point system, and a rating system of student achievement.
The first school year is very important in terms of the further educational trajectories of pupils. Information about the range of individual needs and abilities of children and prognosis of their educational achievements allow the educational system to improve school adaptation and teaching approaches. This study presents the results of an assessment of 7778 first-graders from four Russian cities (Moscow, Naberezhnye Chelny, Tambov and Sevastopol). The children’s results from cognitive (mathematics and reading skills) and noncognitive (personal, social, and emotional skills) assessments were analyzed using the cluster k-mean analysis in order to describe typical patterns of their development. The analysis of both cognitive and noncognitive skills improves the interpretation of the four obtained typical „ portraits“ of first-graders. The results can help teachers in the selection and amendment of educational materials and other means regarding children’s education as well as adaptation to school.
The urgent transition to distance education in March 2020 revitalized the debate on the influence of a new educational reality on the educational inequality. A study was performed to measure the relationship between the difficulties experienced by students during distance learning and their socioeconomic status. Data from a nationwide survey of students administered in late March—early April 2020 by a team of researchers from a few Russian universities was used as empirical basis of this study. Results demonstrate significant differences in obstacles faced by students from families with different levels of income. Students from low-income families were the most likely to have technical and self-regulation problems and to lack skills required for effective distance learning. Findings indicate the importance of finding system-level solutions to ensure equal opportunities for students in distance learning, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
The authors examine the digital divides of the first and second levels and analyze the use of educational resources by Russian schoolchildren. Several specialized educational resources for schoolchildren are described. The first level digital divide is understood as unequal access to the Internet among different social groups; the second level digital divide means the differences in the practices of using the Internet. Empirically the study is based on two surveys of schoolchildren, conducted in 2014–2016 in St. Petersburg (94 schools, 3,739 pupils of the 10th–11th grades) and the Kaluga region (249 schools, 27,904 pupils of the 6th–9th grades). The results show no evidence of the first level digital divide in the megalopolis. In the Kaluga region, the differences in access to the Internet are due to the type of settlement (city-village), the family structure (two-parent/single-parent families), and the parental educational level. Schoolchildren living in a village with a less educated single-parent are in the most vulnerable position. No differences in Internet use were found between schoolchildren regardless of their family background, school type, or type of settlement, neither in the Kaluga region, nor in St. Petersburg. Most schoolchildren use educational resources, and the intensity of use increases with age. The most popular general purpose resource is Wikipedia; the most popular specialized resource for schoolchildren is Znanija.com. Only a small percentage of the surveyed schoolchildren (about 2%) use the sites that offer ready homework.
Dynamics of academic performance of Russian school students depending on cultural capital and the size of community is analyzed using PISA and TIMSS data. In order to reveal tendencies in TIMSS and PISA scores dynamics ten educational experts were interviewed. The last 15 years have witnessed a slight improvement in performance of Russian school students and a drop in social and territorial inequality. These changes do not affect all subject areas and result from educational attainment improvements in small populated localities and social groups of low cultural capital. Meanwhile, no growth has been observed in the scores of students with higher levels of cultural capital. The interviews shed light on possible changes in the education system associated with the dynamics of school students’ educational attainment.