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Educational inequality and achievement disparity: An empirical study of migrant children in China

Yuna Ma, Xin Hou, Jin Huang, Weiwei Wang, Yanping Li, Xiaochun Zhou and Xi Du

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 87, issue C, 145-153

Abstract: The study examined academic disparity between migrant and local urban children and its associations with family socioeconomic status, parental involvement, and school settings using the survey data conducted in 2014 from a sample of children and their families in Beijing, China. The analytic sample (N = 687) included 431 migrant children and 256 local urban children. Structural Equations Models (SEM) were used to test research questions. Results suggest that migrant children, in particular, those in private migrant schools, have much poorer academic performance than their urban counterparts. This performance gap is mainly explained by different schools that migrant and local urban children attend (public vs. private migrant schools). Family socioeconomic status and parental involvement, while are positively associated with academic performance, do not remove the disparity between migrant children in private migrant schools and local urban children. When school satisfaction is included in analyses as a proxy of school quality, the difference in academic performance between two groups becomes insignificant. The study sheds light on the potential pathway that institutional inequality in education affects migrant students' educational achievement through the quality of educational services and financial, human, and social investment. Findings suggest that, to address academic disparity between migrant and local urban children in China, it is important to change the institutional inequality faced by migrant children.

Keywords: Educational achievement; Educational inequality; Migrant children (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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