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Working paper

Which Teaching Practices Improve Student Performance on High-Stakes Exams? Evidence from Russia

This  study  examines  the  relationship  between  teaching  practices  aimed  at  raising  student performance on a high stakes college entrance examination—the Russian Unified State Exam (USE) —  and  student  performance  on  that  test.  The  study  uses  data  from  a  school/classroom  survey  of almost 3,000 students conducted in 2010 in three Russian regions. The analysis employs a student fixed effects method that estimates the impact of teaching practices used by students’ mathematics and Russian language teachers on students’ exam results. To test for possible heterogeneous effects of practices in different academic tracks, the study estimates the practices’ effect on USE scores for students  in  advanced  and  basic  level  tracks.  The  study  finds  that  the  only  strategy  with  positive effects on test outcomes is greater amounts of subject-specific homework geared to different types of test items, and that the most effective type of homework differs across tracks.