How peer effects affect students’ cognitive abilitiesJul. 28,2020
Equity in compulsory education includes not only the rational distribution of educational opportunities among different groups at the explicit level, but also the guarantee of education quality at the implicit level. Previous research has paid more attention to the former than to the latter. This paper used China Education Panel Survey random survey data of junior middle school students in China from 2013 to 2014 to study the peer effects on individual cognitive ability from the perspective of student peer effects. The analysis shows the following. (1) The peer effects in the stage of compulsory education in China have negative impacts on students’ performance, which is magnified by the increasing class and school sizes in the process of promoting compulsory education; (2) students with better academic performance benefit from interaction with students at the same level, but students with worse academic performance suffer in the process; (3) as far as the transmission mechanism is concerned, the class size and teacher characteristics are the main factors. In the new era, China’s compulsory education policy should gradually shift its focus from quantity growth to quality improvement, giving consideration to both explicit equality in access to education and implicit equality in education quality.
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