Our School


Research News

Research News

Association between ability tracking and student’s academic and non-academic outcomes: Empirical evidence from junior high schools in rural China

/ 2024-01-09

Author:Gupta, Shriyam, Shaoping Li, Chengfang Liu,et.al

Paper journal:International Journal of Educational Development

Abstract:Ability tracking, a practice of grouping students into different classrooms based on their test scores, is prevalent in schools around the world. However, evidence on the effects of ability tracking on students’ learning outcomes remains mixed. Drawing on a longitudinal dataset of 9170 students across 119 rural junior high schools from 23 counties in two provinces of China, this paper examines how ability tracking affects students’ math score, math academic self-concept, and math anxiety. We find that ability tracking had no statistically significant effect on either students’ academic or non-academic outcomes. Sub-group analyses by high and low-ability classrooms revealed similar results for math scores and math self-concept. However, ability tracking helped reduce the math anxiety of high-ability classroom students as they experienced a lower value added in their anxiety score by 0.103 SD (p < 0.05) relative to students in schools that do not practice ability tracking. Furthermore, heterogeneous analyses revealed that ability tracking is associated with a lower value added in math score of lowability boarding students by 0.168 SD (p < 0.05) relative to non-boarding students in comparison schools.