In a recent study published in School Psychology International, Lei and colleagues conducted a three-level meta-analysis to investigate the relationship between teacher-student relationships (TSR) and student academic achievement (SAA) in China. The authors believed the positive link between TSR and student academic achievement is higher in hierarchical, collective China than egalitarian, individualistic western society as teachers have greater authority in China than in Western societies, and teachers are often the centre of TSR. With the greater respect of authority among Chinese students, the link between TSR-SAA could be higher compared to Western countries.
The study included 74 studies (90 effect sizes) that examined the TSR-SAA correlation in the Chinese context published between 2002 and 2020 which involved both primary school and secondary school students. The results found
- Overall, significant positive correlation between teacher-student relation and student academic achievement (r = 0.26) was found among Chinese studies, which is larger than that in other countries (r = 0.16) which was found in two meta-analyses conducted in Western countries.
- Among different regions in China, the effect size was highest in central region (r = 0.31) followed by the eastern region (r = 0.24) and the western region (r = 0.17).
- The correlation increased with age as the strongest effect was found in senior high school (r = 0.35), followed by junior high school (r = 25) and primary school (r = 0.22).
- The effects were higher among females than among males.
Overall, the findings provided evidence for the importance of teacher-student relationships in promoting academic achievement. Moreover, it supported the authors’ hypothesis that the link TSR-SAA was stronger in China than in Western societies. However, the authors noted that more research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms that account for the difference in TSR-SAA across countries. Furthermore, different from the authors’ assumption, the richest region, eastern, did not have the strongest link between TSR-SAA. The central region, with intermediate values of resources and population density, showed the highest link among the three regions.
Source: Lei, H., Wang, X., Chiu, M. M., Du, M., & Xie, T. (2023). Teacher-student relationship and academic achievement in China: Evidence from a three-level meta-analysis. School Psychology International, 44(1), 68–101. https://doi.org/10.1177/01430343221122453