Do Selective High Schools Improve Student Achievement? Effects of Exam Schools in China
36 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2015 Last revised: 21 Jan 2017
Date Written: June 6, 2016
We use regression discontinuity design to examine the effect of a system of public exam high schools, which admit students solely by pre-existing achievement, on student college entrance exam scores in Beijing, China. More selective exam schools may have higher peer quality and sometimes are equipped with more experienced teachers and better facilities. We find, however, that elite exam high schools, which are the most selective, have no effects on student test scores. We find that on average the system of exam schools improves student performance on the exam, which indicates that students benefit from attending more selective non-elite schools. The results on qualifying for college admission are consistent with our findings about test scores. Differences among schools in peer achievement, student/teacher ratio and the percentage of certificated and experienced teachers partially explain our findings; self-choices of track and exam participation do not explain test scores or college admission.
Keywords: Academic Performance, Selective High School, Peer Effects, Regression Discontinuity Design
JEL Classification: H52, I20
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