RUSSIA: US-style college exams take hold

Two years into a controversial Kremlin-backed experiment to bring post-Soviet education in line with Western practices and introduce standardised nationwide college testing, the Russian version of the American SAT has gathered a number of critics and provoked angry reactions from teachers and parents, reports Sophia Kishkovsky for The New York Times.

In 2009, the Unified State Exam in Russian language and maths became mandatory for high school graduation and college entrance. Students planning to enter college are required to choose a third test related to their planned major. President Dmitri A Medvedev is a strong supporter of the test as part of his modernisation drive and part of an effort to fight fraud in an area long accused of being susceptible to bribes.

But there are opponents across the political spectrum. The Communist Party says the test has put the nail in the coffin of a once glorious education system that sent the first man into space and sent the United States scrambling to catch up to the Soviet Union in maths and science.
Full report on the New York Times site