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Of all publications in the section: 39
Exposure to prenatal androgens affects both future behavior and life choices. However, there is still relatively limited evidence on its effects on academic performance. Moreover, the predicted effect of exposure to prenatal testosterone (T) - which is inversely correlated with the relative length of the second to fourth finger lengths (2D:4D) - would seem to have ambiguous effects on academic achievement since traits like confidence, aggressiveness, or risk-taking are not uniformly positive for success in school. We provide the first evidence of a non-linear relationship between 2D:4D and academic achievement using samples from Moscow and Manila. We find that there is a quadratic relationship between high T exposure and markers of achievement such as grades or test scores and that the optimum digit ratio for women in our sample is lower (indicating higher prenatal T) than the average. The results for men are generally insignificant for Moscow but significant for Manila showing similar non-linear effects. Our work is thus unusual in that it draws from a large sample of nearly a thousand university students in Moscow and over a hundred from Manila for whom we also have extensive information on high school test scores, family background and other potential correlates of achievement. Our work is also the first to have a large cross country comparison that includes two groups with very different ethnic compositions.
Added: Aug 28, 2012
The literature on the consequences of academic inbreeding shows ambiguous results: some papers show that inbreeding positively influences research productivity, measured in the quantity and quality of publications, while others show the opposite effect. There are contradictory results both in studies of different countries and within countries. Such a variety of results makes it impossible to transfer the findings from one academic system to another, and in Russia this problem has been under explored. This paper focuses on the relationship between inbreeding and publication activity among Russian faculty members. The results, using Russian data from the Changing Academic Profession survey, showed no substantial effect of academic inbreeding on research productivity. Inbred and non-inbred faculty members do not differ substantially in terms of the probability of having publications, or how many, although for inbreds such probability is slightly higher. These results are robust for different operationalizations of inbreeding and measures of publication activity. However the absence of significant differences in the number of publications may not mean the absence of a difference in their quality. The possible explanations and limitations of the standard measures of research productivity are discussed.
Added: May 10, 2016
CAN TEACHER PRACTICES REDUCE THE GENDER GAP IN MATHEMATICS INTEREST FOR STUDENTS WITH DIFFERENT ACHIEVEMENTS?
Researchers have postulated that there is a positive effect of autonomy-supportive teacher practices on academic interest. Few studies, however, investigate how these practices can reduce the gender gap in mathematics interest. The goal of our study is to examine how autonomy-supportive practices effect on attitudes toward mathematics for girls and boys with different level of mathematics achievements. We used data from the Russian longitudinal study “Trajectories in Education and Career” (TrEC) to identify teacher practices which can reduce the gender gap in mathematics interest. Using hierarchical linear regression analysis we focused on two types of teacher practices: autonomysupportive and controlling. We conducted analysis for boys and girls separately and evaluated how the effect of teacher practices on mathematics interest varies for boys and girls in general and according to their level of mathematics achievements. Our analysis demonstrates that girls are more sensitive to different teacher practices and some autonomy-supportive practices have a positive effect on mathematics interest for girls only and no effect on boys’ interest. We also identified that some teacher practices have different effects on students’ interest according to the level of their prior achievements. Autonomy-supportive practices are more important for students with high achievements.
Added: Sep 16, 2016
This paper analyses the influence of different combinations of work and study on academic achievement among university students of Yaroslavl region in Russia. The data was collected during the first wave of longitudinal research on the educational and occupational trajectories of graduates of schools and universities conducted by the Institute of Education, Higher School of Economics, Moscow in 2009. The sample consists of 1474 4th and 5th year university students. Five work-study types are defined on the basis of two variables: work schedule and work relatedness to specialty: full-time work outside the specialty field, part-time work outside the specialty field; full-time work in the specialty field, part-time work in the specialty field; and not working during university studies. The results show that working outside the specialty field (full-time or part-time) has a negative impact on academic achievement, whereas the other work-study types do not have any significant effect. The results partly support our hypothesis that different work-study combinations influence academic achievement in different ways and that job relatedness to the academic specialty is a significant characteristic in defining the influence. The paper contributes to the research field of studying attributes of student employment which are responsible for different effects on academic achievement
Added: Dec 9, 2014
Constructing Tests that Can Measure and Compare the Maths and Physics Skills of Engineering Students in Russia and China
Although the number of engineering graduates has expanded rapidly in the last two decades, relatively little is known about the quality of engineering programs worldwide. In particular, few studies look at differences in the degree to which students are learning skills across different engineering programs within and between countries. There is particular interest in the investigation of the engineering education quality in the countries with the rapidly growing economy, such as BRICS countries. Until now, there was little research in this field and one of the main reasons for this is the difficulty in developing an assessment approach and the accompanying set of instruments, which would allow for measurement and international comparison. Our study describes a set of procedures for developing such an assessment framework of instruments, to measure and compare skill levels and gains across engineering programs. We first describe a systematic approach for constructing cross-nationally comparable instruments in maths and physics for students in the first two years of their undergraduate engineering programs. The approach includes both a priori procedures (including expert assessments to avoid construct, method, and item bias), and a posteriori procedures (including the psychometric analysis of test quality, differential item functioning, and identifying and reducing bias in the data). In addition to describing this set of procedures in theory, we also show how we systematically implemented these procedures. Drawing on data that we collected from over 24 engineering experts and 3,600 engineering students across Russia and China, we provide evidence that it is possible to create tests that are cross-culturally valid, equate-able, and free from bias.
Added: Sep 8, 2015
This article analyzes student pro-school/anti-school attitudes on different levels and explores their relation to educational outcomes. We examine the individual level, school level, and clique level predictors (clique is defined as a tight social group within a class social network). Cliques were identified using special software called Kliquefinder. We use multi-level regression approach on a sample of 7300 students from 104 public schools from St.Petersburg. Our findings show that: 1.) Socio-economic differentiation of Russian schools does not lead to a polarization of pro-school/anti-school attitudes in different types of schools; 2.) The polarization of attitudes emerges and is maintained at the clique level; and, 3.) Clique attitudes have a significant impact on educational outcomes (net of a student’s socio-demographic characteristics and individual attitudes).
Added: Feb 28, 2013
High school students, across the world, prepare for college by participating in shadow education. Despite substantial investments in shadow education, however, little is known about whether it helps students prepare for college. The goal of our study is to provide rigorous evidence about the causal impacts of participating in shadow education on college preparation. We analyze unique data from Russia using a cross-subject student fixed effects model. We find that participating in shadow education positively impacts high-achieving students but not low-achieving students. Participating in shadow education further does not lead students to substitute time away from other out-of-school studies. Instead, the results suggest that low-achieving students participate in low-quality shadow education, which, in turn, contributes to inequality in college access.
Added: Jan 27, 2014
Estimation of peer effects with predicted social ties: Evidence from two universities in Brazil and Russia
Social interactions with peers during learning have a significant impact on university students’ academic achievement. As social ties are voluntary, an empirical estimation of peer effects is exposed to a potential endogeneity problem. To overcome this issue, we propose to define the peer group of an individual as their predicted friends. The specific features of the learning environment in higher education institutions may affect dimensions along which friendship ties form. To test the presence of peer effects in different educational and cultural contexts, we use data on students studying in two universities located in two different countries, Brazil and Russia. We assume that friendship is affected by homophily in student attributes, such as having the same region of origin, the same gender, and sharing the same study group. In both institutions, we find positive externalities from having high-ability peers.
Added: Nov 10, 2015
Added: Jun 1, 2018
This study focuses on the relationship between extracurricular activity (specifically, group and individual sports) and adolescent drinking behaviour. To examine how participation in sports is related to the frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption we use hierarchical regression analysis. Our sample consists of 2961 students from 29 vocational schools in St. Petersburg. We demonstrate that participation in individual and team sports increases the risk of teenagers being involved in drinking behaviour; however the frequency of regular alcohol consumption is not associated with participation in sports. Students’ gender, socio-economic status and cultural capital, as well as residence status (living with parents or in the dorm) were significantly associated with teenage drinking behaviour: females and students living in a dorm were at greater risk of being involved in drinking, while regular alcohol consumption was more prevalent among males and students with a higher socio-economic status.
Added: Dec 1, 2016
Gender dierences in mathematical performance have been long debated in psychology, economics, and sociology. We contribute to this literature by analyzing a large data set of high school graduates who in 2011 took a standardized mathematical test in Russia (n = 738; 456). We nd no substantial dierence in mean test scores of boys and girls. However, boys have a greater variance of scores and are more numerous at the top of the distribution. We apply quantile regression to model the association between school characteristics and gender dierences in test scores throughout the distribution. Male advantage in test scores, particularly at the top of the distribution, is concentrated in cities and in schools with the advanced curriculum. In ordinary high schools, especially in the countryside, gender dierences in all parts of the distribution are very small. A separate analysis at the regional level conrms that male advantage in mean test scores is higher in more urbanized regions.
Added: Oct 4, 2013
There is currently a large body of literature about applying knowledge gained in class to real-life situations. However, comparatively little is known about how a student’s mastery of the material affects his or her ability to transfer this knowledge to unfamiliar settings. Our research seeks to illuminate this relationship between a student’s subject mastery level and knowledge transfer to out-of-subject contexts. We use data from TIMSS mathematics (8th grade) and PISA mathematics to evaluate the link between the subject mastery level (in this case, the mastery level of mathematics) and the transfer of learned math. Building off previous discussions of TIMSS and PISA test differences, we consider TIMSS performance as the mastery level of school mathematics, and PISA performance as the ability to transfer learned math to an out-of-subject context. The sample included 4,241 Russian students who took part in both the TIMSS – 2011 and PISA – 2012 cycles. In our study, we first divide the students into six TIMSS-groups according to their performance in TIMSS. Then we identify the most difficult PISA test items based on the Rasch Model. Finally, we determine what percentage of the most difficult PISA items were answered correctly in every TIMSS group. This percentage served as a measure of the ability to successfully transfer knowledge. We found a positive relation between the subject mastery level and the ability to transfer learned math to an out-of-subject context. The higher the mastery level of mathematics, the higher the probability that the knowledge will be transferred. However, this link was not linear. Only the highest mastery level contributed significantly to the knowledge transfer. At other mastery levels, the rate of successful transfer differentiated only slightly. These results imply the importance of making certain that students have truly mastered curriculum before moving to new topics. Additionally, the non-linear nature of the link suggests that educators should begin rethinking how test results are interpreted.
Added: Mar 21, 2014
There is currently a large body of literature about applying knowledge gained in class to real-life situations. However, comparatively little is known about how a student’s mastery of the material affects his or her ability to transfer this knowledge to unfamiliar settings. Our research seeks to illuminate the relationship between a student’s subject mastery level and his or her knowledge transfer to out-of-subject contexts. We use data from TIMSS mathematics (8 grade) and PISA mathematics to evaluate the link between subject mastery level – in this case, the mastery level of mathematics – and the transfer of learned math. Building off previous discussions of TIMSS and PISA test differences, we consider TIMSS performance as the mastery level of school mathematics, and PISA performance as the ability to transfer learned math to an out-of-subject context. The sample included 4,241 Russian students who took part in both the TIMSS 2011 and PISA 2012 cycles. In our study, we first divide the students into six groups according to their performance in the TIMSS. Then we identify the most difficult PISA test items based on the Rasch Model. Finally, we determine what percentage of the most difficult PISA items were answered correctly in every TIMSS group. This percentage served as a measure of the ability to successfully transfer knowledge. We found a positive relation between subject mastery level and the ability to transfer learned math to an out-of-subject context. The higher the mastery level of mathematics, the higher the probability that knowledge will be transferred. However, this link was not linear: only the highest mastery level contributed significantly to knowledge transfer. At other mastery levels, the rate of successful transfer differentiated only slightly. These results imply the importance of making certain that students have truly mastered curriculum before moving to new topics. Additionally, the non-linear nature of the link suggests that educators should begin rethinking how test results are interpreted.
Added: Feb 27, 2014
Inequality of educational opportunity in a cross-section of countries. Empirical analysis of 2009 PISA data
We provide a measure of inequality of educational opportunity for 72 countries, estimated as a share of the variation in the 2009 PISA test scores that is explained by pre-determined family characteristics. Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to 40 percent of the variation in educational achievement and different measures (for example in math, science, and reading) are highly correlated. Cross-country variation in the inequality of educational opportunity is unrelated to financial indicators, such as expenditure per student or public spending on education as a share of GDP, but depends on pre-school enrollment, overall economic inequality, and the availability of basic medical services. We also document the negative relationship between the inequality of educational opportunity and educational achievement: average educational achievement is lower in countries where family background plays a major role in determining individual progress.
Added: Jan 17, 2013
We use a national Brazilian test (SAEB) and an international test (PISA) to measure whether Brazilian students 13-15 years old improved their mathematics and language learning in 1995-2012. We control for part of out-of-school influences by comparing test scores for students with similar family academic resources. Our empirical strategy is descriptive and comparative. We find that Brazilian students have made test score gains during this period on the PISA, but much less so on the SAEB. Gains on the PISA test for advantaged Brazilian students are smaller than among disadvantaged students. This is also the case for the SAEB.
Added: Dec 16, 2014
This research focuses on estimating the signalling role of education on the Russian labour market. Two well-known screening hypotheses are initially considered. According to first of these, education is an ideal filter of persons with low productivity: education does not increase the productivity of a person, but it does give him the possibility to signal about his innate productivity via an educational certicate. The second of these hypotheses admits that productivity actually does increase during the period of study, but nevertheless the main objective of getting an education is to acquire a signal about one's productivity. Information theory suggests that employees use education signals during the hiring processes whereby employers screen potential employees. Employers and other categories of self-employed workers are usually not screened by the labour market via their educational attainments. Comparison of the returns to education of employees vs. self-employed workers could show the difference between the returns to signals and the returns to human capital. Yet another way to understand the signals is to consider the time dynamics of the returns to education for employees staying in the same firm. This helps us to answer the question about whether the signals are valuable only during the hiring process, or whether they remain valuable during the whole experience with the firm. This research is based on the Mincerian-type earnings functions, estimated on RLMS-HSE and NOBUS data. On the basis of the available information, we cannot say that the returns to signals and human capital differ significantly in Russia. Nevertheless we can say that, for the majority of men, the return to educational signals decreases with time spent in the same firm, while we observe the opposite for women.
Added: May 15, 2012
Matching between Students and Universities: What are the Sources of Inequalities of Access to Higher Education?
It is assumed that a perfect balance between student academic achievement and university quality is beneficial both for students and higher education institutions (HEIs). Matching theory predicts the existence of perfect matching between the two groups in the absence of transaction costs associated with university enrollment. However, in this study we show cases of mismatch situations in Russia under the Unified State Exam (USE) – the standardized student admission mechanism. This research studies the reasons for this phenomenon for minimal transaction costs and the emergence of unequal access to HEIs. Based on data on Moscow high school graduates who entered university, the determinants of the mismatch between the quality of universities and applicant abilities are assessed. It is shown that although in most cases favorable matching results are established, the individual student achievement results themselves are subject to the influence of school and family characteristics. Thus, inequality of access can be formed at stages preceding HEI enrollment.
Added: Nov 22, 2017
The introduction of the Unified State Exam (USE) has simplified the process of university entry by decreasing transaction costs associated with the application process. The new system allows applicants to apply to several higher education institutions at the same time. However, many students do not take advantage of this opportunity and apply only to a single university. In this study we analyze the factors that influence application strategies, whether to apply to only one institution or to apply to several. We argue that higher USE scores predict a higher probability of multiple applications. Additionally, graduating from a high school that offers advanced training in a particular discipline positively influences this probability. The variables of family income and social capital, a parent’s level of education, and their age, as well as attending additional programs of pre-entry training are statistically insignificant.
Added: Sep 25, 2013
Participation in Massive Open Online Courses: The Effect of Learner Motivation and Engagement on Achievement
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a relatively new format of distance education which has become popular among students, faculties, employees and others. Regardless of the fact that MOOCs are a widespread phenomenon, they face some challenges including high dropout rates, low levels of student-teacher interaction, low representation of poor and less educated learners, issues with data processing and data analysis for creating predictive models. In our study, we look more closely at the last issue, while creating a model describing the relationship between the motivation, engagement, and achievement of MOOC participants. We use a database which consists of trace data and survey data from students of 20 online courses launched on the Coursera platform in 2014–2015 at the Higher School of Economics. Our research shows that for modelling the relationship between factors and achievement of MOOC students, it is necessary to transform the interval dependent variable into an ordinal one. To evaluate the relationship between motivation, engagement, and achievement, we used mediation analysis with ordinal logistic regression. The research shows that academic motivation of MOOC learners has an indirect effect on their achievement. The level of engagement acts as a mediator of this relationship. At the same time, intrinsic motivation plays an alternative role in the MOOC format compared to a traditional course format. Intrinsic motivation decreases the likelihood of getting a higher score from the second week of the course.
Added: Oct 10, 2016
We estimate the influence of classmates’ ability characteristics on student achievement in exogenously formed student groups. The study uses administrative data on undergraduate students at a large selective university in Russia. The presence of high-ability classmates has a positive effect on individual academic performance, and students at the top of the ability distribution derive the greatest benefit from their presence. An increase in the proportion of less able students has an insignificant or negative influence on individual grades.
Added: Aug 28, 2012
The article is related to the issue of program diversification with regard to the major forces determining that process. This study empirically examines the program diversity within Russian higher education institutions (HEIs), which have experienced significant changes. Comparing several historical types of specialized institutions, which were manly formed in the Soviet era, this study is assumed to bring insight into two key issues. Firstly, we investigate how the specialized institutions have been transformed with the regard to new circumstances. Secondly, we take a general interest in what have determined these transformations. We assume that the level of diversification and program drift is defined by the two most influential forces: state regulation and market. The empirical evidence of the changes of HEIs internal diversification includes quantative analysis of number of students distributed throughout eight fields of education.
Added: Nov 18, 2014