Teacher Quality and the Cognition Gap between Urban and Rural Students in China

Dr Lei Zheng, Dr. Xiang Qi, Beijing Normal University

Using a nationally representative dataset from China Education Panel Survey, we examine the impact of teacher quality on the cognition gap between urban and rural students. Results from value-added model finds that the quality of teachers, measured by teachers’ academic qualification and professional title, exerts significant effect on students’ cognitive ability. Estimation based on quantile regression further indicates a heterogenous teacher quality effect along cognition distribution. Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition shows that the difference in teacher quality between urban and rural schools attributes to 9.06% of the cognition gap on average. Disaggregated decomposition based on unconditional quantile regression reveals that the contribution of teacher quality to the gap is increasing along the cognition percentile. Our findings suggest that improvements of teacher quality in rural schools are meaningful efforts to narrow the urban-rural educational disparity.


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