Low levels of human capital in rural China are rooted in the poor schooling outcomes of elementary school students. The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the distribution of academic performance in rural China and identify vulnerable groups.
The authors draw on a data set of 25,892 observations constructed from 11 school-level surveys spanning nine provinces and one municipality in China conducted from 2013 to 2015.
The authors find that the distribution of academic performance is uneven across provinces and subgroups. In general, male students, Han, living in richer counties, living with their parents and studying in rural public schools do better academically than female students, non-Han, living in poorer counties, left behind and studying in private migrant schools in cities.
Using the results of this study, policymakers should be able to better target investments into rural education focusing on at risk subpopulations.
With limited data sources, the research on the academic performance of students in rural China is largely absent. The findings of this study help to fill the gaps in the literature base.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Gates Foundation’s Healthy Birth, Growth and Development (HBGDki), China Program, and the support of 111 Project from Ministry of Education of China (B16031).
Liu, H., Xue, H., Shi, Y. and Rozelle, S. (2019), "The academic performance of primary school students from rural China: Distribution and correlates", China Agricultural Economic Review, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 253-279. https://doi.org/10.1108/CAER-11-2016-0181
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