A doctoral dissertation has found that young Russians studying in Estonian-language schools get better scores on the PISA mathematics, reading and science test.
Russian children studying in Estonian schools scored 27 points better than their Russian-language school counterparts, said the paper by Kristiina Lindemann, a Tallinn University Ph.D. student.
According to data from the OECD, that is the equivalent of being half a school year ahead, writes Eesti Päevaleht.
Compared with the results of Estonian children, those learning in Russian lag an entire year behind, the dissertation found.
Lindemann cautioned against reading too much into the quality of schools as opposed to the aptitude of pupils. She said that although only a small percentage of Russian-speaking parents prefer schools where the language of instruction is Estonian, it was families with better socioeconomic backgrounds that tended to do so.
Another possible cause is that many math teachers at the Russian-language schools also attend training in St. Petersburg, where there is less focus on creativity and more emphasis on facts, said a math teachers association head, Hele Kiisel.