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Regular version of the site

The Social Organization of School

Priority areas of development: sociology
Department: Research Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Project Head: Daniil Alexandrovich Alexandrov

Department/Institute: Sociology of Education and Science Laboratory

This project was implemented within the framework of the HSE's Basic Research Programme.

Research Object: Schools, schoolchildren, and teachers; vocational colleges and their students; organizations providing extracurricular education.

Research Purpose: To investigate the relationship between the social organization of a school and students’ individual characteristics: academic achievement, educational aspirations, self-confidence, learning motivation, and sense of belonging. The role of extracurricular education in the personality development and socialization of schoolchildren is within the focus of the research.

Empirical Base of the Research:

  • Our own empirical data collected in 2010-2012 (surveys in schools of the St.Petersburg and Moscow regions: 150 schools, over 11,000 schoolchildren).
  • Data collected by the Laboratory in 2012: A survey of 50 schools in the Moscow region (3,500 schoolchildren, 850 teachers); and a survey of vocational colleges in St. Petersburg (20 vocational colleges, 1,800 students). The survey of vocational colleges is a foundation for longitudinal study.
  • Secondary data from publicly available databases: PIRLS, TIMMS, and PISA.

Research Results: In a school survey, we collected data on the socio-economic, socio-psychological, and demographic characteristics of migrant students and their families in the Moscow region, in comparison with the same parameters of local Russian students. In a survey of vocational colleges, we collected socio-psychological and demographic data on children who leave school after the ninth grade and continue their educations in alternative institutions.

In the area of analytical results, our research was focused on the role of the school context and its influence on particular characteristics of students. The first study investigated how the sociometric popularity of schoolchildren is related to individual academic achievements in the context of different levels of academic culture and educational aspirations in the classroom. Different effects for boys and girls were found, indicating that the relation between academic performance and popularity is gender-specific. The results demonstrate that in classes with a low academic culture, the individual academic achievements of the boys are negatively related to their popularity, while in the classes with a high academic culture, the relation is positive.

The second research study compared the impact of the social environment on confidence in mathematics in stratified (Russia and Czech Republic) and non-stratified (Norway and Sweden) educational systems. Multilevel analyses were performed with the TIMSS’ 2007 data for eighth-graders, for each country separately. For all four countries, no support for negative BFLPE was found: the achievement of others is positively related to an individual’s confidence in mathematics. The “reflected glory” effect has been detected only in stratified educational systems. The most practically relevant result of the analysis is that students with poor achievement gain more from studying in the best schools.

Implementation of the Research Results: Two major parts of our research, namely the study of social and ethnic inequality between and within schools and the study of extracurricular activities and its effects on socialization, were used in formulating advice for the government for planning new educational policy within the governmental taskforce “Strategy 2020”.

The results of our study of the adaptation of migrant children in Moscow region schools, including the original instrument developed during this work for evaluating the socio-psychological characteristics of schoolchildren and teachers were submitted to the educational administration of the Moscow region.

All the schools and vocational colleges that participated in our surveys received detailed reports describing their profiles and positions in the ranking of all educational institutions, along with commentary on their efficiency and improvement.

International Partners:

  • Andrés Sandoval-Hernández, Plamen Mirazchyiski, Sabine Meinck; IEA (The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement), RandA (Research and Analysis Unit), Hamburg, Germany
  • Mark Tranmer, Senior Lecturer in Social Statistics, The University of Manchester, Great Britain
  • Mieke Van Houtte, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Ghent, Belgium
  • Frank Van Tubergen, Professor of Migration and Integration at the Department of Sociology and the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Utrecht University
  • Marijtje Van Duijn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Groningen University


Иванюшина В. А., Александров Д. А. Межэтническое общение в российских школах: изучение методом сетевого диадного анализа // Социология: методология, методы, математическое моделирование. 2012. № 35. С. 29-56.
Titkova V., Ivaniushina V. A., Alexandrov D. A. Sociometric popularity in a school context / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series EDU "Education". 2013. No. 10.
Баранова В. В. Языковая социализация детей мигрантов // Антропологический форум. 2012. № 17. С. 157-172.
Alexandrov D. A., Tenisheva K., Savelyeva S., Evgeny Kochkin. Educational pathways and trajectories of rural students. I. Local educational systems / Sociology of Education and Science Laboratory. Series WP 001 "Sociology of Education and Science Laboratory Working Papers SESL". 2012.