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A comparative international study of first-graders ready for school at the entrance to the education system and their academic achievements at the end of the school year

Priority areas of development: state and public administration
Department: Center of Education Quality Monitoring
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research: The main research purpose is to conduct a large-scale assessment of pupils’ readiness to school on a sample of one of the Russian regions, as well as to provide a comparison of readiness to school of first-graders in Russia and other countries participating in the study iPIPS (England and Scotland).


In order to form the scales, evaluate their psychometric properties, and check the cross-cultural equivalence of Russian and English versions of iPIPS, the Item Response Theory (IRT) was used. The psychometric analysis was conducted using Winsteps software and included analysis of the items characteristic, analysis of model fit, DIF-analysis, dimensionality-analysis.

For purposes of secondary analysis of data some statistical methods were used: correlation analysis, dispersion analysis and descriptive statistics.

Empirical base of research:

To conduct the international comparative study, as well as the study of readiness to  school of first-graders in Russia we have used iPIPS (international Performance Indicators in Primary School).  iPIPS is the international instrument for starting diagnosis of children at the entrance to school and the assessment of their individual progress during the 1st year of schooling, developed by the Center for Evaluation and Monitoring of the University of Durham, UK.

As empirical research base we have used the data sets collected during two cycles of iPIPS study in Russia, as well as the England’s and Scotland’s iPIPS data sets, provided by our partners from the University of Durham.

The sample for the large scale assessment in Russia comprised the first-grade students of 27 schools (general education, with subjects as well as gymnasiums and lyceums) from 6 districts of Krasnoyarsk city. In total 1,452 students of 65 classes participated in national study of children’s readiness for school.

The sample for the international comparative study included a representative sample of about 300 first-graders from Velikiy Novgorod region, as well as about 13000 pupils from both England and Scotland.

Results of research:

In the spring of 2014 in the city of Veliky Novgorod and Novgorod region on a representative sample of about 300 first-graders was conducted the second stage of iPIPS pilot study (in autumn 2013 passed the first stage). In the autumn of 2014 in the city of Krasnoyarsk was conducted an extensive study (large-scale assessment) of readiness for school of about 1,500 children.

Based on the results of the pilot study the investigation of the quality of the adapted Russian iPIPS version was done. According to the analysis the iPIPSin Russia can be considered as the instrument, which meets the requirements of validity and reliability.

The international comparative study of children’s readiness for school and evaluation of their progress during the first year of schooling was also carried out for kids from Russia, England and Scotland. The study solved the difficult problem of aligning the various language versions of the assessment instrument for assessing readiness for school of children with considerably big age differences. The research has proven the possibility for comparisons of the assessments results of children from different countries and different ages starting school based on iPIPS, and highlighted the prospects for iPIPS’s further international expansion.

The results of the first large-scale iPIPS study in Krasnoyarsk showed what Russian childrenstarting school know and can do. Following the study the comprehensive feedback (with recommendations of how to improve the learning process) was sent to each participating class and school, as well as the region as a whole. In addition an analysis of factors related to children's readiness for school was done.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The iPIPS instrument is recommended for implementation in the schools of the Russian Federation as a tool for starting diagnosis of children at the entrance to school and the assessment of their individual progress during the 1st year of schooling.

Results of the diagnosis will help to better assess the situation in primary schools under the new federal state educational standards.


Хоукер Д., Карданова Е. Ю. Cтартовая диагностика детей на входе в начальную школу и оценка их прогресса в течение первого года обучения: международное исследование iPIPS // В кн.: Тенденции развития образования.Что такое эффективная школа и эффективный детский сад?. М. : Издательский дом «Дело» РАНХиГС, 2014. С. 311-320.
Kardanova E., Ivanova A., Merrell C., Hawker D., Tymms P. The Role Of The Ipips Assessment In Providing High Quality Value Added Information On School And System Effectiveness Within And Between Countries / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series EDU "Education". 2014. No. WP BRP 20/EDU/2014.
Ivanova A., Kardanova E., Merrell C., Tymss P., Hawker D. Checking the possibility of equating a mathematics assessment between Russia, Scotland and England for children starting school // Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice. 2018. Vol. 25. No. 2. P. 141-159. doi