In the Classroom Publications
Purpose – Low levels of human capital in rural China are rooted in the poor schooling outcomes of elementary school students. The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the distribution of academic performance in rural China and identify vulnerable groups.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors draw on a data set of 25,892 observations constructed from 11 school-level surveys spanning nine provinces and one municipality in China conducted from 2013 to 2015. Findings – The authors find that the distribution of academic performance is uneven across provinces and subgroups. In general, male students, Han, living in richer counties, living with their parents and studying in rural public schools do better academically than female students, non-Han, living in poorer counties, left behind and studying in private migrant schools in cities.
Research limitations/implications – Using the results of this study, policymakers should be able to better target investments into rural education focusing on at risk subpopulations.
Originality/value – With limited data sources, the research on the academic performance of students in rural China is largely absent. The findings of this study help to fill the gaps in the literature base.
Keywords China, Rural areas, Academic performance Paper type Research paper
Despite massive investments in teacher professional development (PD) programs in developing countries, there is little evidence on their effectiveness. We present the results of a large-scale, randomized evaluation of a high-profile PD program in China, in which teachers were randomized to receive PD; PD plus follow-up; PD plus evaluation of their command of the PD content; or no PD. Precise estimates indicate that PD and associated interventions failed to improve teacher and student outcomes.
The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on the Matriculation of Junior High School Students to Rural China’s High Schools
The Gender Gap Among School Children in Poor Rural Areas of Western China: Evidence From a Multi-Province Dataset
This study describes the current teacher training system in China, including the prevalence of teacher training, the types of training, training content and the ways that training is delivered. The paper presents subjective evaluations of training for principals and teachers using four diverse datasets. The results show that the National Teacher Training Project (NTTP) deviates from offi cial policy objectives in several respects. The subjects of training programs and training content are not fully compliant with policy objectives. In addition, training opportunities are offered to a smaller proportion of rural teachers than urban teachers. It is found that the proportion of teachers and principals satisfied with the NTTP is lower than that for other types of training. Therefore, measures should be taken to increase training opportunities for rural teachers and to ensure the quality of training for all teachers.
Impact of a Teacher Incentive on Children’s Use of Eyeglasses: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Purpose: The impact of school-time wear of glasses on children’s education has been shown to be limited by lack of regular compliance in half or more of children, even when free glasses are given. We sought to study the impact of free glasses combined with teacher incentives on in-school use of glasses among Chinese urban migrant children.
Impact of Teacher Professional Development Program on Student Achievement in China - Supplemental Tables
The Impact of Integrating ICT with Teaching: Evidence From a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural Schools in China
Recent attention has been placed on whether integrating Information Communication Technology (hereafter, ICT) into education can effectively improve learning outcomes. However, the empirical evidence of the impact of programmes that adopt ICT in schooling is mixed. Theory suggests it may be due to differences in whether or not the ICT pro-grammes are integrated into a teaching programme of a class. Unfortunately, few empirical studies compare the relative effectiveness of programmes that integrate ICT into teaching with the ones that do not. In order to understand the most effective way to design new programmes that attempt to utilize ICT to improve English learning, we conducted a clustered randomized controlled trial (RCT) with some schools receiving ICT that was in-tegrated into the teaching programme of the class; with some schools that received ICT without having it integrated into the teaching programme; and with other schools being used as controls. The RCT involved 6304 ﬁfth grade students studying English in 127 rural schools in rural China. Our results indicate that when the programme is integrated into the teaching programme of a class it is effective in improving student test scores relative to the control schools. No programme impact, however, is found when the ICT programme is not integrated into the teaching program. We also ﬁnd that when ICT programmes are inte-grated into teaching, the programmes work similarly for students that have either high or low initial (or baseline) levels of English competency. When ICT programmes are not in-tegrated with teaching, they only raise the educational performance of English students who were performing better during the baseline.
The Impact of Vocational Teachers on Student Learning in Developing Countries: Does Enterprise Experience Matter?
Although vocational schooling is responsible for educating a large share of students in the world today, there is little evidence about what factors matter for vocational student learning. Using data on approximately 1,400 vocational students in one eastern province in China, we employ a student fixed effects model to identify whether teacher enterprise experience—believed to be one of the most important factors for vocational student learning—increases students’ technical skills. We find that enterprise experience has a substantial positive impact on students’ technical skills. Furthermore, the impacts are concentrated on high-achieving students. In contrast, policies to provide teachers with “professional certifications” (given to teachers who participate in short-term trainings) have no positive impact.
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.
Impact of Free Glasses and a Teacher Incentive on Children's Use of Eyeglasses: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Purpose: To study the effect of free glasses combined with teacher incentives on in-school glasses wear among Chinese urban migrant children.
Design: A cluster randomized trial.
Methods: Children with visual acuity (VA) ≤6/12 in either eye owing to refractive error in 94 randomly chosen primary schools underwent randomization by school to receive free glasses, education on their use, and a teacher incentive (Intervention), or glasses prescriptions only (Control). Intervention group teachers received a tablet computer if ≥80% of children given glasses wore them during unannounced visits 6 weeks and 6 months (main outcome) after intervention.
Results: Among 4376 children, 728 (16.7%, mean age 10.9 years, 51.0% boys) met enrollment criteria and were randomly allocated, 358 (49.2%, 47 schools) to Intervention and 370 (50.8%, 47 schools) to Control. Among these, 693 children (95.2%) completed the study and underwent analysis. Spectacle wear was significantly higher at 6 months among Intervention children (Observed [main outcome]: 68.3% vs 23.9%, adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 11.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.91–22.5, P < .001; Self-reported: 90.6% vs 32.1%, OR = 43.7, 95% CI = 21.7–88.5, P < .001). Other predictors of observed wear at 6 months included baseline spectacle wear (P < .001), uncorrected VA <6/18 (P = .01), and parental spectacle wear (P = .02). The 6-month observed wear rate was only 41% among similar-aged children provided free glasses in our previous trial without teacher incentives.
Conclusions: Free spectacles and teacher incentives maintain classroom wear in the large majority of children needing glasses over a school year. Low wear among Control children demonstrates the need for interventions.
Teaching the Language of Wider Communication, Minority Students, and Overall Educational Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Qinghai Province, China
The education of poor and disadvantaged populations, particularly those from minority subgroups, has been a long-standing challenge to education systems in both developed and developing countries (e.g., World Bank 2001, 2004; Glewwe and Kremer 2006; Planty et al. 2008). For example, over the past decade in the United States the high school dropout rate of Hispanic students has remained at least twice as high as that of white students (Aud et al.
Abstract: Growing evidence suggests that teachers in developing countries often have weak or misaligned incentives for improving student outcomes. In response, policymakers and researchers have proposed performance pay as a way to improve student outcomes by tying concrete measures like achievement scores to teacher pay.
276-Is the high school admissions process fair? Explaining inequalities in elite high school enrollments in developing countries
Researchers typically explain inequalities in access to elite high schools by looking at gaps that appear before the high school admissions process. However, even when disadvantaged students reach the stage of high school admissions with identical qualifications as advantaged students, mechanisms particular to the high school admissions process may prevent disadvantaged students from accessing elite high schools. The overall goal of this paper is to examine the degree to which the high school admissions process deters disadvantaged students from accessing elite high schools.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore whether an in-service life teacher training program can improve boarding students’ health, behavior, and academic performance.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial to measure the effect of life teacher training on student health, behavior, and academic performance among 839 boarding students in ten central primary boarding schools in Shaanxi. And the authors also tried to identify why or why not life teacher training works. Both descriptive and multivariate analysis are used in this paper.
Findings – The authors find significant improvements in health and behavior. Specifically, compared to boarding students in control schools, 15 percent fewer students in treatment schools reported feeling cold while sleeping at night. The results also showed that student tardiness and misbehaviors after class declined significantly by 18 and 78 percent, respectively. However, the in-service life teacher training program had no measurable impact on boarding students’ BMI-for-age Z-score, number of misbehaviors in class, and academic performance. The analysis suggests that improved communication between life teachers and students might be one mechanism behind these results.
Originality/value – This is the first empirical work which explored how to improve the welfare of boarding students via their life teachers. Because of the sudden increase in boarding students in rural China, it is almost certain that school personnel lack experience in managing boarding students. As such, one promising approach to improving student outcomes might be in-service training for life teachers.
College is a Rich, Han, Urban, Male Club: Research Notes from a Census Survey of Four Tier One Colleges in China
One’s opportunity to attend college and earn a degree has increased dramatically in China. However, that does not mean that everyone has an equal opportunity. Historically, there has been well-documented systematic discrimination against minorities, women, and the rural poor. The main question of this paper is whether or not this discrimination has persisted since the recent expansion of China’s tertiary education system.
Do You Get What You Pay For with School-Based Health Programs? Evidence from a Child Nutrition Experiment in Rural China
This study uses a randomized controlled trial of a school-based anemia reduction program in rural China to examine how increased school emphasis on health promotion affects academic performance. Although education and health promotion are complementary functions of schools, they do compete for finite school resources. We compare the effects of a traditional program that provided only information about anemia and subsidies to an otherwise identical program that included performance incentives for school principals based on school-level anemia prevalence.
Aiming to provide better education facilities and improve the educational attainment of poor rural students, China’s government has been merging remote rural primary schools to centralized village, town, or county schools since the late 1990s. To accompany the policy, boarding facilities have been constructed that allow (mandate) primary school-aged children to live at school rather than at home. More generally, there also have been efforts to improve rural schools, especially those in counties and towns.