The monitoring study of the quality of enrolment in Russian universities has been carried out since 2009. Since 2011, it has covered all state higher education institutions (HEIs) in Russia that enroll students according to Unified State Examination (USE) scores. The monitoring doesn’t include vibrant arts and military education institutions.
In 2016, the monitoring covers data on 424 state universities and 20 private universities, leading admission to the state-funded places.
The object of research is the lists of applicants admitted into state-funded and fee-paying places at public universities, including the information on which category of enrollment they fall into, majors they applied for and their USE scores.
The subject of research is the quality of enrolment in universities. The quality of enrollment is analyzed on the basis of average USE scores of the students enrolled for state-funded and fee-paying places and across fields of study. In addition to the average USE scores, the study takes into account the structure of enrolment and the university’s leading positions in enrolment in certain fields of study.
- Providing next-year university applicants with open information, for them to make an informed choice of the university and field of study and about their chances to be admitted into certain HEI.
- Offering public education administration bodies and the universities a clear tool to evaluate their position as compared to their competitors (in terms of enrolment quality), both in general and by particular areas of studies. This in turn allows for adjustments in their enrollment plans, and also in the education policy at regional and federal levels.
- Carrying out public control over the procedure of enrolment in universities.
The method of the monitoring is very simple. The data is collected from open sources. Namely, relevant information is extracted from HEIs’ websites: fields of study the HEI enrolls into and the number of places offered for state-funded students; minimal USE scores set by HEIs to be admitted into each of their educational programmes; lists of USE subjects to be passed to be admitted into each educational programme; lists of those enrolled into various educational programmes, with their category (enrollment track) and USE scores.
Average USE grades are calculated on the basis of these data, and the structure of enrolment is determined by universities and by fields of study.
This data is used to create a database, which covers the following information on each enrolled student (given that it was published on the website): university; area of studies; form of payment (state-funded or fee-paying); category of enrolment (as part of competition, special-purpose, quota, without examinations, or applicants from Crimea); list of USE subjects passed; total amount of grades; USE grades; total amount of grades for individual achievements; average USE grade (per one subject).
The main result of this study is a ranking of enrolment quality in state-funded and fee-paying places. The ranking is split by universities and by fields of study. The universities are sorted in descending order by average USE grade of applicants enrolled (in case the grades are equal, by descending number of applicants enrolled).
The results include the following data for each university and each area of studies:
- Average USE grades in all categories of enrolment;
- Structure of enrolment;
- Average cost of education (roubles per year);
- Share of ‘strong’, ‘average’ and ‘weak’ enrolled students;
- Minimum USE grades set by universities in each area of studies.
In addition to that, integrated data is calculated
- by university profile,
- by field of study,
- by region.
The data collected each year is comparable with the data from previous years. This means that the data array collected in six years of the full-scale monitoring allows both making general conclusions on the changes in the quality of enrolment and tracking the trends in particular universities.
The following general conclusions have been made after analyzing the data base.
The quality of enrolment in state-funded and fee-paying places, as assessed by the average USE grades of the enrolees, has been improving. In 2016, the average USE grade in state-funded places amounts to 66.6, and it is 3 points higher than in 2011; the average USE grade in fee-paying places is 3.1 points higher than in 2011 and makes 60.8. The gap between the quality of enrolment in state-funded and fee-paying places has remained largely unchanged.
As for the dynamics by areas of studies, the following distinct trend can be identified: average USE grades at strong universities are growing, while at weaker universities they are falling, i.e. the gap between strong and weak universities is widening. It is observed in most engineering and technological areas (automation and management, architecture and construction, geodesy, computer science and computer engineering, information security, mechanical engineering, instrumentation and optical engineering, production machines and equipment, transportation, ecology, electronic and radio engineering, power engineering), as well as in natural sciences at classical universities (biology, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry).
It is driven by combination of two factors: the growth of demand in society for engineers and professionals in natural sciences, on the one hand, and the increased supply of state-funded places at universities in these areas of studies, on the other. As a result, the strongest applicants choose universities that can provide them with the best quality of education (even at fee-paying places). Whereas, redundant state-funded places at weaker universities are occupied by lower-performing applicants.
In contrast, educational programmes within the general areas of social sciences and humanities -- which are more or less stable in terms of the number of state-funded places – demonstrate stable or growing USE scores across the whole range of universities. As a rule, it is in these areas of studies that enrollment in fee-paying places is the greatest, and applicants with just above ‘passed’ grades concentrate.
The most remarkable changes in the structure of enrollment are in teacher training programmes. As compared to 2015, the share of ‘above 70 USE scores’ applicants has increased considerably. In 2015, they made only 36% out of 20 thousand applicants, whereas in 2016 they make 46%; correspondingly, the share of applicants with low USE scores (below 56) has decreased: from 19% in 2015 to 15% in 2016. A similar pattern is observed in psychological-pedagogical and defectology education: in 2015, the share of applicants with scores higher than 70 was 18.7%, whereas in 2016 it amounted to 24.3%; the share of weak applicants (USE scores below 56) decreased from 33.5% in 2015 to 25.8% in 2016.
The results of the Monitoring will be useful for educational authorities and government bodies (the Russian Ministry of Science and Education, regional education ministries, and other policy-makers) to measure efficiency in HEIs. The results are also useful for heads of HEIs to see how their universities compare to their competitors and to develop a strategy for their enrollment campaign.
The results of the Monitoring are published annually in open access on the website http://www.hse.ru/ege/. This allows to control the procedure of enrolment publically and helps the next-year university applicants make the choice of the university and the area of study.