Ilya Prakhov 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Effects of Investments in Preparation Courses on the USE Scores

2014. No. 3. P. 74–99 [issue contents]

Ilya Prakhov - Ph.D. in Economics, Research Fellow, Center for Institutional Studies, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. Address: 20, Myasnitskaya str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation. E-mail: ipra@inbox.ru

3rd Place in a Competition of Young Scientistsʼ Research Papers of 2013.

Despite the introduction of the Unified State Examination (the USE) as a new admission requirement, Russian households keep investing in preparation courses, while students spend their time on tutorials. To assess how time and money investments in preparation courses affect the USE scores, we systematized results of  empirical studies on the issue, analyzed the main forms of preparation courses in Russia and built a model of learning strategies followed by applicants that allows to evaluate return on investment in extra training in terms of the growth of the final USE scores. It was established that in new institutional admission conditions  students use the same conventional forms of preparation to exams as before, although they had been expected to resort less to extra training after unification of the examination system. We conducted a poll among first-year students and their parents, altogether including 1,600 households in the 16 largest cities of Russia.  Estimation of the modified academic performance function revealed a positive relationship between investment of money and time in preparation courses, on the one part, and results of the exam, on the other part, although the return on such investment turned out to be rather low. On the one hand, it means that USE results come from efforts applied by candidates; on the other hand, it means that students who take preparation courses may win in terms of the final results, which may bring about inequality in access to higher education. In a number of cases, the effects of school and of academic performance are more powerful than those of preparation courses. The paper formulates topics for further research: comparison of return on investment to preparation courses for students in localities with essentially different markets and tutorial opportunities (cities and towns, satellite towns, villages), analysis of learning strategies followed by students with  different motivation in their choice of university, i. e. willing to earn the minimum passing score or aspiring to get high scores in order to qualify for a top-ranked university.

Citation: Prakhov I. (2014) Vliyanie investitsiy v dopolnitel'nuyu podgotovku na rezul'taty EGE [Effects of Investments in Preparation Courses on the USE Scores]. Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no3, pp. 74-99.