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School Effectiveness in China

An Exploratory Study

Pai Peng

This book is a valuable attempt to address the issue of school effectiveness in mainland China. The author applies multi-level modeling and longitudinal student achievement and survey data to evaluate school effectiveness. In the first study, the author analyzes the effects of school resources and classroom processes on student achievement. He also investigates the size of school effects, and the differential school effects for different groups of students. The other two empirical studies focus on the value-added evaluation of academic performance in schools, including consistency, stability and robustness of value-added results. The author also discusses the policy implications of these empirical findings in the Chinese school system.
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Background and Motivation

School effectiveness research (SER) tries to address an important question in education: “what makes a good school?” It focuses on the factors at the school-and class level, which can promote the desired student academic and non-cognitive outcomes. In addition, how to evaluate school effectiveness is an important issue in this field. Value-added approach has been developed and applied successfully to assess school effectiveness in some countries. School effectiveness research has been prosperous in the last five decades, particularly in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia. However, it is still in the infant stage in China. Particularly, there are very limited empirical studies on school effectiveness in this country. In the ongoing “paradigm shift” in Chinese educational research, there is an urgent need for empirical studies on school effectiveness in China.

Apart from the academic importance of school effectiveness research, recent changes in educational policies in China call for more reliable empirical evidence from school effectiveness research. The policy priority has shifted from ensuring quantity (enrolment rate) to improving education quality since the goal of “universalizing 9-year compulsory education” was realized. The newly issued Compulsory Education Law (2006) stipulated the “balanced development” in compulsory education. The achievement of these policy goals also relies on research findings of school effectiveness research.

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