Can International Test Score Comparisons Inform Educational Policy? A Closer Look at Student Performance in Russia and its Neighbors

35 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2013

See all articles by Martin Carnoy

Martin Carnoy

Stanford University; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Tatiana Khavenson

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Alina Ivanova

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Richard Rothstein

Economic Policy Institute (DC)

Date Written: July 2013

Abstract

Russian 8th graders score relatively high on the TIMSS mathematics test. But they perform poorly on the PISA mathematics test compared to students in Eastern and Central European countries that traditionally taught a math curriculum similar to Russia’s. In this paper, we push beneath the surface of this puzzle by focusing on how students from higher and lower social class background in Russia performed over a decade on the PISA and TIMSS tests compared to students of similar social class background in Eastern European countries and in some much higher income neighbors in Western Europe. We also compare Russian students in Russia with those in Russian language schools in Latvia. We conclude that the Russian PISA “problem” is located mainly in the relatively low performance of higher social class students and may be more related to the Russian math curriculum or the test itself than students’ math knowledge.

Suggested Citation

Carnoy, Martin and Khavenson, Tatiana and Ivanova, Alina and Rothstein, Richard, Can International Test Score Comparisons Inform Educational Policy? A Closer Look at Student Performance in Russia and its Neighbors (July 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2289188 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2289188

Martin Carnoy (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-725-1254 (Phone)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Tatiana Khavenson

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Alina Ivanova

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Richard Rothstein

Economic Policy Institute (DC) ( email )

1660 L Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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