Ability tracking and social trust in China’s rural secondary school system

Fan Li, Prashant Loyalka, Hongmei Yi, Yaojiang Shi*, Natalie Johnson, Scott Rozelle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to describe and analyze the relationship between ability tracking and student social trust, in the context of low-income students in developing countries. Drawing on the results from a longitudinal study among 1,436 low-income students across 132 schools in rural China, we found a significant lack of interpersonal trust and confidence in public institutions among poor rural young adults. We also found that slow-tracked students have a significantly lower level of social trust, comprised of interpersonal trust and confidence in public institutions, relative to their fast-tracked peers. This disparity might further widen the gap between relatively privileged students who stay in school and less privileged students who drop out of school. These results suggest that making high school accessible to more students may improve social trust among rural low-income young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-572
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Volume29
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Ability tracking
  • confidence in public institutions
  • interpersonal trust
  • rural secondary schooling
  • social trust

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