Trajectories in Education and Careers (TrEC) is an ongoing longitudinal cohort panel study of Russia’s youth initiated in 2009. Combining a nationally-representative quantitative sample and a qualitative subsample, and drawing on internationally-recognized data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), TrEC is a unique and one of the most comprehensive cohort longitudinal studies of its kind in the world. The study examines how educational and professional pathways of Russia’s young people are shaped and actualized in the contexts of increasing uncertainty and persistent social inequalities. This multi-cohort project includes the main nationally representative panel and several regional panels. Additionally, it includes a sub-sample of in-depth longitudinal qualitative interviews with selected participants, titled the ‘Tracer Atom’. TrEC is administered by the Laboratory for Cultural Sociology and Anthropology of Education, Institute of Education, NRU HSE, Moscow, Russia. Project directors are Dmitry Kurakin and Isak Froumin.
The national panel is a longitudinal follow-up with the participants of TIMSS in Russia. Taking as a starting point the TIMSS sample, TrEC has built upon it to become Russia's first nationally scaled education related cohort study. Respondents were eighth-graders in 2011 (aged 13–14), and have been surveyed and/or interviewed yearly since that point. A unique value-added feature of the national panel is that its respondents also participated in PISA in 2012 as an additional sample.
As a result, the national panel offers a unique dataset that includes both students’ national midterm and final and international assessment grades, as well as dozens of family background characteristics (e.g. parental level of education and family income). The database also includes survey answers regarding various cultural factors, such as life aspirations, future plans, desired occupation, and students’ engagement with symbolic resources, such as role models and influential books. Data of the national panel survey is available to researchers across the world. Data from the ‘Tracer Atom’ component of the study includes young people’s narratives of their educational and vocational choice, decision-making strategies, career aspirations and life planning. Such a rich combination of datasets allows for the examination of various relationships between student achievement, socio-economic characteristics and cultural patterns, beliefs and expectations.
Since 2009, the research project has inspired and provided crucial data for numerous studies. The project’s data and findings were used by various Russian educational agencies. Research findings of the project have been published in the world’s top sociology and education journals, including Sociology of Education, Social Forces, International Journal of Sociology of Education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, International Journal of Educational Development, Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, and others.
The article is describing the design of Russian longitudinal study 'Trajectories in Education and Careers' (TREC), launched by the Institute of Education of the Higher School of Economics in 2009.