Private tutoring, which aims at enhancing student learning and achievement, has become a popular approach in education, especially in East Asia. According to the Chinese Society of Education, 137 million primary and middle school students were enrolled in after-school private tutoring in 2016. A recent study published in Children and Youth Services Review examined the relationship between private tutoring and academic achievement, as well as emotional well-being and parent-child relationships, in Chinese junior high school students.
This study’s data were from the 2014-15 cohort of the China Education Panel Survey, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of junior high school students in China. A total of 9,449 junior high school students from 112 schools in mainland China participated in this cohort study. Students were asked whether they received private tutoring in either Chinese, English, or Mathematics and assessed their self-confidence, parent-child relationship, and depression. Students’ midterm test scores in Chinese, English and Mathematics were also collected. The findings were as follows.
- The overall private tutoring rate of junior high school students in China was 27.8% in the school year 2014-2015. The private tutoring rate was 9.1% for Chinese, 19.3% for English, and 19.8% for Mathematics.
- Private tutoring was positively associated with student academic achievement in Chinese, English, and Mathematics.
- Students who received private tutoring demonstrated higher levels of self-confidence and of relationship with their mother.
- However, when the private tutoring became highly intensive in length, the positive effects of it decreased.
The authors suggested that one reason for the decrease in high-intensity tutoring’s effectiveness might be that it displaced parental assistance in homework.
Source: Zheng, X., Wang, C., Shen, Z., & Fang, X. (2020). Associations of private tutoring with Chinese students’ academic achievement, emotional well-being, and parent-child relationship. Children and Youth Services Review. Advance online publication. Doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.104934.