The article by the MCU’s researchers published in the Australian scientific journal

The article “Preschool education quality in Russia: Trends and relations” by the researchers of the MCU’s Institute of System Projects professors Tatiana Le-van, Igor Shiyan, Olga Shiyan, and Sergey Zadadaev has been published in the International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal (the IRECE Journal). The paper focuses on the results of the All-Russian research on pre-school education quality. The research was conducted in 2016—2017 with the use of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS). 

Associate Professor Tatiana Le-van shares key conclusions of the research:

For the first time in Russia, the relationship between the quality of the educational process and the structural characteristics of the system is analyzed using a massive sample: 1301 kindergartens from 75 regions of the Russian Federation participated in the study in 2017, with 1357 unique participants – in two years. It was found that there is no significant connection between the way everyday life is arranged in pre-school groups (what spaces, toys, and materials children use during classes and in free activities, how educators interact with children, and children with each other, how time is distributed for different types of activities), and the teachers’ age, experience, professional education, the age of children with whom the teacher works.

It was important for teachers to receive feedback on the quality assessment: where educators learned the results of the first year of their work and were able to discuss them with experts, in the second year, the dynamics of quality were revealed in many parameters. However, there are still a number of parameters that were not systematically affected by the changes. It is important to explore the reasons for this more deeply.

The number of children in preschool groups is weakly related to the quality of the parameters of the educational process. There are few meaningful connections, and they are contradictory. This suggests that even in groups of few children, teachers do not always conduct educational activities focused on the development and individualization of pupils, but more often broadcast the same models of “instructive pedagogy” as in a large group.

The strongest factor related to the quality of the educational process was the ratio of adults and children during educational activities. It presupposes not formal, but real involvement of teachers in interaction with children at the most efficient time for the development of children — in the morning. It was found that with an increase in the number of children per adult, the quality of the process decreases. It was revealed also that when the ratio between the number of children and the number of teachers is 10:1 or more, the quality of interaction in the development of children’s speech and thinking significantly deteriorates.

The theoretical part of the study showed that the relationships between the quality of preschool education and children’s performance, the quality of the process and structural parameters are most often complex and indirect. The mediators that mediate these connections play an important role.

To ensure more profound results, it is essential to conduct a very thorough analysis, not by general quality indices, but by individual parameters. Finally, what is actually required to improve the education quality is investing in the reform of professional education and professional development of teachers and education leaders.

It took the researchers two years of scrupulous work to publish the article in the IRECE Journal.

The article in English can be accessed from the IRECE website.

The Russian version of the article will be soon published in the peer-reviewed journal Educational Studies Moscow (No. 2, 2021).