Dropping Out of Rural China's Secondary Schools: A Mixed-Methods Analysis

Posted: 22 Mar 2017

See all articles by Yaojiang Shi

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Yue Ma

Independent

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Natalie Johnson

Stanford University

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Prashant Kumar Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Date Written: March 20, 2017

Abstract

Students in rural China are dropping out of secondary school at troubling rates. While there is considerable quantitative research on this issue, no systematic effort has been made to assess the deeper reasons behind student decision making through a mixed-methods approach. This article seeks to explore the prevalence, correlates and potential reasons for rural dropout throughout the secondary education process. It brings together results from eight large-scale survey studies covering 24,931 rural secondary students across four provinces, as well as analysis of extensive interviews with 52 students from these same study sites. The results show that the cumulative dropout rate across all windows of secondary education may be as high as 63 per cent. Dropping out is significantly correlated with low academic performance, high opportunity cost, low socio-economic status and poor mental health. A model is developed to suggest that rural dropout is primarily driven by two mechanisms: rational cost-benefit analysis or impulsive, stress-induced decision making.

Keywords: school dropout,China,junior high school,determinants,qualitative study,mixed methods analysis

Suggested Citation

Shi, Yaojiang and Zhang, Linxiu and Ma, Yue and Yi, Hongmei and Liu, Chengfang and Johnson, Natalie and Chu, James and Loyalka, Prashant and Rozelle, Scott, Dropping Out of Rural China's Secondary Schools: A Mixed-Methods Analysis (March 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2937690

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Yue Ma

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Hongmei Yi (Contact Author)

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University ( email )

Room 412, Wangkezhen Buidling, Peking Unviersity
Beijing, 100871
China

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Natalie Johnson

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students ( email )

Stanford
United States

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Prashant Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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