International student assessment programs found that Chinese students had the top-tier performance and the longest learning time beyond school education. A recent article published in the International Journal of Educational Development examined the relationship between learning time and performance among secondary school students in China.
The study used data from the China Education Panel Study for analysis. The study was a large-scale nationally representative survey conducted in the 2013-2014 school year as the baselines. 19,487 students in the 7th and 9th grades from 112 schools. Students’ academic achievement was standardized based on their school’s midterm exam scores in Chinese, English, and mathematics. The after-class learning time was measured in terms of the average time per weekday and weekend spent on doing homework assigned by school teachers, doing homework assigned by cram school and parents, and taking cram school courses.
The results showed that:
- The relationships between after-class learning time and academic performance are non-linear. Test scores first improve with learning time increase but then decrease after a certain point.
- After-class learning contributes most to students’ academic performance when they study three hours per day on weekdays and eight hours per day during weekends.
- However, students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds or sharing educational resources with their siblings need to study more time in order to achieve the best performance.
The authors suggested that after the optimal learning time, students’ sense of learning difficulty increases while self-efficacy decreases, explaining the decreased performance.
Source (Open Access): Yang, J., & Zhao, X. (2021). Does all work and no play make elite students? Evidence from the China education panel survey. International Journal of Educational Development, 80, 102321.