2005. no1

Educational Policies


One of the main problems in the modernization of the Russian education system is that of improving the control and the management of education quality. The government-approved Priority directions of development of the Russian educational system mention that it is necessary «to form an all-national system to evaluate the quality of both the education provided to citizens and of current educational programs». This paper describes the principal approaches to the creation of an All-Russian system for the evaluation of the quality of education and discusses its main goals and organization principles.


An inaugural lecture in honor of Edwin Delattre, delivered at the Boston University on November 4th, 2004. Translated from the English by S.R. Kuld.M
A comment to M. Barber's lecture, by E.A. Lenskaya.



The paper is a concise presentation of the author's analytic report for The Heritage of Eurasia foundation published in 2004. The author argues in favor of the necessity to abolish the outdated concept that higher education is enough to train specialists. In the modern world it should be re-oriented towards developing abilities that would allow the student to acquire new skills through practice and further supplementary education. The main suggestions for improving the system of higher education are the following: education by lecturing has become irrelevant; faculty exchange should become standard in institutions of higher education, classes are efficient only if graduate students take part in the teaching; a modern university can not exist without developing its research and experimental facilities; universities can be strengthened by solving the problems of cities and regions; systems for methodological control cen be developed and implemented in universities once they achieve independence.

Theoretical and Applied Research


In the present article the educational system is considered as a series of steps starting from the pre-school level and ending with the university level. The steps of education are in general consecutive, but there are some situations when some of them can be parallel. Each step is characterized by three parameters: level, filter and signal. The level characterizes all the contents of the given step, the filter is the test that must be passed in order to get to the next step, the signal is the certificate that confirms completion of a step, allowing a person to show society that he has passed the filter. Special attention is given to institutional discontinuities, i.e. cases when society refuses to trust the signals. (For example, universities do not rely upon the results of the matriculation exams and organize entrance exams of their own.) The paper indicates the threat of disintegration of the educational system and of the inclusion of extra-systemic institutions becoming built into it. (For example, the institution of private teachers.) It is suggested that a careful analysis of the educational system itself and of its efficiency requires combining the microeconomical approach (in the form of human capital theory) and the institutional approach (in the form of the theory of levels, filters and signals).


The paper analyzes the incentives faced by universities to provide high quality education services as they are shaped by competition and labor market signals. The paper argues that in higher education, unlike other sectors of the economy, liberalization and competition in and of themselves do not ensure quality. This conclusion holds for both the mass and elite segments of the university system. The authors further discuss alternative models of interaction between the labor market and the university system, as well as government policies and other means of correcting higher education market failures.


Gordon C.Winston. Sibsidies, hierarchy and peers: the awkward economics of higher education // The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 1999. Vol.13. №.1. Р. 13-36.
Translated from English by A. Kovaleva.


Content of Education


The main problem in the development of social sciences in Russia is not that the tenets of modern sociology are still very incompletely absorbed, and not that Russian scientists are closed to the Western ideas, but rather in the weakness of Russian society, which does not feel the need for this type of knowledge. Today, as in the past, the student has absolutely no choice either of instructors or of the contents of his education, as the bureaucratic system left from the Soviet times does not allow for any freedom in this aspect. It is for this reason that sociological education turns out to be extremely inefficient.


The paper discusses in detail the problems of the USE (Unified State Examination) in mathematics. Specifically, the paper studies the examination procedure and determines how well the examination stands up to Well-known technical, methodological, and didactical characteristics of efficient tests. The paper presents results concerning the main parameters of the test: its form, length (number of assignments) and duration. The author suggests procedures to organize the test that would allow the researcher to follow the whole procedure «from inside» by measuring the time needed to perform each separate assignment. This technology has been tested many times, and it has many advantages: it prevents mistakes in the scanning the completed tests, its cost is low, and it can be used to objectively measure the level of competence of students.




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 article presents the results of representative polls of students and teachers of all faculties at HSE. The polls were conducted by the student interest goup Gorod (City) as part of the annual monitoring of university life. The polls investigated the attitude of the respondents to new features of university life, such as the module system, the week of selfpreparation between modules, the emphasis on written forms of grading, the 10-point system of grades, the credit system, student and teacher ratings. The research showed that the attitude of students and teachers to these innovations is in general positive. However, some points remain controversial.


In the course of modernization of the Russian education system, professionals encounter numerous problems. One of them is the lack of a reliable system of education quality assesment in high school. Since the real level and the real quality of the education in this country are unknown, both educators and potential investors are unable to determine the «convertibility» of educational institutions. International practice shows that it can take decades to solve such problems «from scratch». However, a system of quality assessment has already been developed, and functions successfully within the framework of the International Bacchalaureate organization. Along with hundreds of schools in 119 countries, nine Russian educational institutions now participate in this system. The experience of this system is of course of much interest, and its study and application may well help optimize similar processes in Russia.


An interview with Elena Gevorkyan, the deputy Head of the Federal Service of Control in Education and Science.
Prepared by Boris Startsev.



The materials are based on the Round Table organized by the Russian Public Council for the Development of Education (RPCDE). The topic of the Round Table was «Is our school viable?» The Unified State Exam, and recent international evaluations of the quality of school education show that the quality of our education is lower than in developed countries. This situation cannot but cause concern. In this section: How can this lag be overcome? What are the crucially important directions of development of a modern education system in Russia? Are the results of the international evaluation of our education reliable? Does Russia need these results at all?

Education Statistics and Sociology


The results of a study conducted by the Levada center and HSE for the Federal Agency of Education are presented. The purpose was to study the demands of employers with regard to the professional training of employees. For this purpose, heads of enterprises and organizations in six principal sectors of economy were polled (excluding agricultural regions). The authors succeeded in determining the most significant differences between successful enterprises and the majority of the rest («the mass consumer») in their demands on the job market. The authors estimate the degree of satisfaction of the «successful» sector employers with the quality of workforce training in the current job market.


The paper analyzes certain gender problems of the educational system in modern Russia. Some of these problems have existed for a long time and are now becoming more acute. Other ones have arisen only recently, as a consequence of socio-economic changes in the country in general and in the educational system in particular. The paper analyzes the dynamics of gender composition of students in different levels of education (both general and professional training). It is shown that recently the level of education of Russian women has surpassed that of men. In the near future this gap will only widen. It is shown that at all levels of professional education the percentage of female students is growing even in the traditionally «male» institutions. That creates a basis for a similar process to take place in the job market. The paper presents data demonstrating the further feminisation of the faculty in higher education institutions. The research is based on government statistics.


The paper is based on the data of a questionnaire poll that was conducted by the Center of Education Sociology of the Russian Academy of Education in 2003. Attention is given mainly to the study of the motivation to obtain a higher education, specifics of the students' attitude to the quality of their education (whether it is sufficient, basic, systematic, modern), students' involvement in research, and plans regarding future professional activity. Gender and age differences are considered; opinions of students from pedagogical and technical colleges are com_ pared. Factor analysis of the obtained empirical material was specifically carried out to elucidate the structural characteristics of motivation changes in male and female students at pedagogical and technical universities. It is shown that principal changes in the attitude towards the acquisition of higher education take place at the beginning of the 3rd year. They are connected with the increase of the role of education as a personality development factor. This result not only brings the authors to conclusions about the specifics of development of learning activities at the higher education level, but also demonstrates that a certain «studying crisis» takes place. This crisis manifests itself both in a re-estimation of the quality of the education acquired and in a decreased orientation towards the professional activities related to it.



This section presents unique documents: unpublished fragments of V.O. Klyuchevsky's notebooks and diaries of 1904–1905, in which he analyses the logic of the dramatic events of those years. His musings are centered about questions of culture and education as a possible escape from the bacchanal of uncontrollable historical forces. Questions of university education, ponderings on what history is, what the role of the university in Russian political life is, connect various separate observations into a harmonious whole. The diary chronicals assumes the character of a history of ideas.


Dmitry Andreevich Tolstoy (1823-1889) was a government figure and, according to his contemporaries, one of most interesting and paradoxical persons of his time. His tenure as minister of public education for almost a decade and a halfstill raises controversy. Since the mid 1860-s D.A. Tolstoy kept a «working journal» where he commented on the events and facts that were important to his professional activities. These notes can allow one not only to reconstruct his day-to-day work, but also to create the image of the «ministerial workings», of the ideology of a person who controlled all the threads and levers of educational power in his hands. We are publishing fragments from these notes.

Book Reviews and Survey Articles


An overview of the report.