Schools operating in difficult social settings: Contextualization of educational results

Year: 2012

Author: Pinskaya, Marina, Koseratsky, Sergey, Froumin, Isak

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This study is the second stage of a project aimed at developing methods and instruments to identify schools with poor academic results operating in difficult social contexts that need help transitioning to a more effective mode of operation. This gives all types of students the opportunity to receive a quality education and reduces the number of schools that do not offer a satisfactory level of education.  

The information base for the study was comprised of the set of data provided by educational monitoring centers on more than 1,000 educational institutions in two Russian regions. The analysis was focused on school context in three areas; (1) characteristics of students' families; (2) characteristics of students' parents; and (3) characteristics of special needs students.   

Characteristics that showed the highest correlation with Unified State Exam results were examined (according to Pearson's coefficient): the proportion of families in which both parents have university degrees; the share of families in which both parents work; the percentage of intact families; the share of children that have disciplinary records; the proportion of families at social risk; and the percentage of families that live in well-furnished apartments. These traits largely correspond to the set of data used in contextualizing students' results using a value-added model based on data from the OECD.

As a result of the study, for the first time in the domestic system for assessing the quality of education, algorithms were defined for identifying the most and least effective educational institutions. Models were formed to contextualize academic results and analyze the achievements within groups of schools with similar socio-economic levels. This allows us to assess the quality of a schools work more objectively and opens the possibility to make appropriate administrative decisions for less successful schools.