Theses Doctoral

The Determinants of National College Entrance Exam Performance in China - With an Analysis of Private Tutoring

Zhang, Yu

This study ascertains the effects of private tutoring and other factors on student performance in the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) in China, using first hand data collected in a typical Chinese city in 2010. Three identification strategies including the instrumental variable model, the 3-level hierarchical linear model, and the Heckman two-stage method are applied in order to account respectively for the endogeneity of private tutoring participation, hierarchical data structure, and non-random high school selection bias. The quantile regression and the analysis of the urban and rural subsamples identify heterogeneous effects of various education factors on student performance. The study finds that the High School Entrance Exam (HSEE) score, good study habits and ability, parents caring about study and respecting the child, key class, the HSEE admission line, rich school activities, and the administrative style of high authority and accountability are significant and positive determinants of the NCEE score across subjects and models. Socioeconomic status has a significant and positive effects on the NCEE English score and total score, but the effect size is relatively small. Female students perform better than male students in Chinese and English, and there is no gender gap in math or in the total score. Private tutoring generally has no effect on the NCEE score for the whole sample, but may have a positive effect on low performing urban students and a negative effect on rural students who are not at the top. Rural students may face limited access to high quality private tutoring compared with their urban counterparts. Lower HSEE score, a higher SES, and more school level educational inputs are positive predictors of private tutoring participation. By using primary data, this study is the first to provide a comprehensive investigation of the effects of three levels (individual, class, and school) of factors on the NCEE performance in China. It includes factors such as the parental styles of educating their child and the school administrative styles that were seldom considered in previous studies in China. This also is the first to investigate the effect of private tutoring on student performance in China. Detailed information on the private tutoring industry is documented for the first time. The findings of this study have significant implications for education decision making by public policymakers and parents.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Tsang, Mun C.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 29, 2011