卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Does private tutoring benefit students in China?

Is the ‘herd behavior’ of attending private tutoring in China really beneficial for students? A recent paper examined the academic and psychological benefits of private supplemental tutoring in Chinese junior high school students.

Using the 2013-2015 China Education Panel Survey, this study claims to be the first on private tutoring in China to use national-level panel data. Researchers adopted a quasi-experimental design to investigate the relationships between private tutoring and academic and psychological outcomes of junior high school students. The academic subjects of interest were Chinese, English, and Mathematics.

  • Overall, private tutoring has small, negative association with academic scores (ES = -0.01), but a positive association with psychological outcomes.
  • Private tutoring is disproportionately harming the total scores of boys and students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds (rural households with parents of non-elite occupations).
  • However, private tutoring benefits students from advantaged socio-economic backgrounds and urban areas in Mathematics scores.

The beneficial disparity means that private tutoring may widen the achievement gap between different socio-economic groups. One attributable factor to this result is the different tutoring quality in urban and rural areas. However, the researchers admit a lack of data in the quality and quantity of private tutoring and the subsequent limitations for a more in-depth analysis.

In terms of psychological effects, private tutoring is found to be negatively associated with negative emotions such as feeling unhappy and not enjoying life. This result indicates that positive emotional benefits might be a key factor driving Chinese students to participate in private tutoring.

 

Source: Sun, L., Shafiq, M. N., McClure, M., & Guo, S. (2020). Are there educational and psychological benefits from private supplementary tutoring in Mainland China? Evidence from the China Education Panel Survey, 2013–15. International Journal of Educational Development, 72, 102144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2019.102144

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