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Yue Ma
Journal Articles

Dropping Out of Rural China's Secondary Schools: A Mixed-Methods Analysis

Yaojiang Shi, Linxiu Zhang, Yue Ma, Hongmei Yi, Chengfang Liu, Natalie Johnson, James Chu, Prashant Loyalka, Scott Rozelle
The China Quarterly, 2015 December 15, 2015

Students in rural China are dropping out of secondary school at troubling rates. While there is considerable quantitative research on this issue, no systematic effort has been made to assess the deeper reasons behind student decision making through a mixed-methods approach. This article seeks to explore the prevalence, correlates and potential reasons for rural dropout throughout the secondary education process. It brings together results from eight large-scale survey studies covering 24,931 rural secondary students across four provinces, as well as analysis of extensive interviews with 52 students from these same study sites. The results show that the cumulative dropout rate across all windows of secondary education may be as high as 63 per cent. Dropping out is significantly correlated with low academic performance, high opportunity cost, low socioeconomic status and poor mental health. A model is developed to suggest that rural dropout is primarily driven by two mechanisms: rational cost-benefit analysis or impulsive, stress-induced decision making. 

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Journal Articles

Exploring the Dropout Rates and Causes of Dropout in Upper-Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Schools in China

Hongmei Yi, Linxiu Zhang, Yezhou Yao, Aiqin Wang, Yue Ma, Yaojiang Shi, James Chu, Prashant Loyalka, Scott Rozelle
International Journal of Education Development, 2015 April 27, 2015

Policymakers in many developing countries regard upper-secondary technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a key element in economic growth and poverty reduction. Unfortunately, there is evidence that upper-secondary TVET programs in developing countries experience high rates of dropout. The overall goal of this study is to examine the dropout rates and reasons for dropout among uppersecondary TVET students in China. To meet this goal, we have three specific objectives. First, we seek to produce high-quality estimates of dropout rates among students in upper-secondary TVET schools in one coastal and one inland province of China. Second, we seek to identify which students drop out from upper-secondary TVET. Third, we test whether financial constraints, math and computer achievement, and parental education and migration status correlate with TVET dropout. Drawing on data from a survey of 7414 upper-secondary TVET students in two provinces of China, we find dropout rates of 10.7% across both provinces and as high as 22% in poorer inland areas, suggesting major gaps and disparities in Chinese TVET dropout rates. Furthermore, we find that baseline academic performance and maternal education and migration status are strong correlates for student dropout.

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