The project's contemporary relevance is determined by the increased interest of consumers of educational services in the quality of education appropriate to their needs and aspirations, and in access to information on the quality of services provided by social organizations; also by the state educational and social policies of the Russian Federation intended to develop transparency of governmental institutions and organizations providing social services, and at the expansion of public participation in the management and quality evaluation of education.
The object of this study is public participation in the independent quality evaluation and rating of educational organizations.
The goal of the research is to design and test the mechanism of public rating of pre-school educational institutions and general education institutions based on public data reports.
To achieve this goal a number of tasks have been completed within the framework of the project:
- we carried out a review of domestic and foreign theoretical studies on public demand for quality educational services and on the use of accountability in education;
- we made an analysis of federal legal documents governing public reporting and public participation, and of independent evaluation and rating of educational institutions;
- we made a study of and summarized the international experience of public reporting, quality evaluation and rating of educational institutions;
- we designed public rating mechanisms, including a rating algorithm, and drew up recommendations for selecting criteria to evaluate educational organizations and a list of requirements for rating quality.
The empirical foundation of the research is based on the results of a pilot test of mechanisms for public participation in three regions of Russia : Krasnoyarsk region, Tomsk region, and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.
A package of methodical, reference and instructional materials, developed during the project, is ready for dissemination and implementation in the regional educational systems. Recommendations, principles and mechanisms, submitted in the project, should be considered in the development of federal level legal documents which regulate the issues of independent quality evaluation of public sector organizations, transparency and accountability of governmental bodies and educational organizations.
Further development of the study can be directed at designing a similar model for rating organizations of vocational education and further education for children, and for local authorities engaged in education management. The versatility of the project principles and tools allows them to be adapted for the development of independent organization rating systems in other social areas (e.g. culture, sports, health).
The results of the study can be used in transparency monitoring and in forming an independent quality evaluation system for education in the subjects of the Russian Federation, as well as in the educational process of organizations of higher and secondary vocational education in the implementation of training programs and professional re-training for the disciplines of "Management" and "State and Municipal Administration" within core and specialized curricula.
The research findings can be used as a basis for designing educational programs and educational-methodical complexes for training stakeholders - members of the public, community advisory councils and commissions, non-profit organizations, as well as for commercial and correspondence courses.