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Inequalities in the Pathway to College in China: When Do Students from Poor Areas Fall Behind?

  • Prashant Loyalka (a1), James Chu (a2), Jianguo Wei (a3), Natalie Johnson (a4) and Joel Reniker (a5)...

Abstract

Inequalities in college access are a major concern for policymakers in both developed and developing countries. Policymakers in China have largely tried to address these inequalities by helping disadvantaged students successfully transition from high school to college. However, they have paid less attention to the possibility that inequalities in college access may also arise earlier in the pathway to college. The purpose of this paper is to understand where inequalities emerge along the pathway to college in China, focusing on three major milestones after junior high. By analysing administrative data on over 300,000 students from one region of China, we find that the largest inequalities in college access emerge at the first post-compulsory milestone along the pathway to college: when students transition from junior high to high school. In particular, only 60 per cent of students from poor counties take the high school entrance exam (compared to nearly 100 per cent of students from non-poor counties). Furthermore, students from poor counties are about one and a half times less likely to attend academic high school and elite academic high school than students from non-poor counties.

对于发达国家和发展中国家的政策制定者而言, 大学入学机会不平等是他们都关注的一个重要问题。中国的政策制定者已经尝试, 通过帮助农村学生成功地从高中升入大学, 来改善这种不平等。但是, 中国的政策制定者并没有意识到,大学入学机会的不平等可能在更早的阶段就已经发生了。本文的目标是通过关注从初中到大学升学过程中的三个关键转折点,来探究大学入学机会的不平等到底是从哪个阶段开始的。通过对中国某地区超过 300,000 学生的数据进行分析, 我们发现升入大学的路径中最大的不平等发生在从初中升入高中这一转折点。具体来说, 贫困县里只有 60% 的学生参加了中考 (和非贫困县里几乎 100% 的学生都参加中考相比较)。更进一步地说,来自贫困县的学生没有上普通高中或者重点高中的比例比来自非贫困县的学生高 1.5 倍。

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email: jgwei@ciefr.pku.edu.cn (corresponding author).

References

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Inequalities in the Pathway to College in China: When Do Students from Poor Areas Fall Behind?

  • Prashant Loyalka (a1), James Chu (a2), Jianguo Wei (a3), Natalie Johnson (a4) and Joel Reniker (a5)...

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