The Determinants of Shadow Education in Math: A Comparative Study of Hong Kong and Shanghai

Open Access
Deng, Yunyi
Graduate Program:
Educational Theory and Policy
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Soo Yong Byun, Thesis Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • shadow education
  • private tutoring
  • education in china
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai
Driven by the purpose of improving student academic performance, shadow education, also known as outside-school learning or private supplementary tutoring, has been a growing educational phenomenon all over the world. This study draws on literature from other countries to identify drivers of demand and the scale of shadow education, as well as determinants. Then, this paper investigates the determinants of shadow education in Hong Kong and Shanghai by using the data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009. The results of the logistic regression analysis show that in Hong Kong, having higher family socioeconomic status (SES), higher student grade level, more positive attitude towards school, taking more math classes per week, having a higher math score, studying in a class with a greater student-teacher ratio were associated with an increased likelihood of participating in shadow education in math; while in Shanghai, having a higher index of family SES, living with two parents, keeping a positive attitude toward school, studying in classrooms with better disciplinary climate, having more math classes per week, obtaining a higher math score and studying in a class with a smaller student-teacher ratio, were associated with an increased likelihood. A comparison between determinants of Hong Kong and Shanghai suggests that there are eight factors that significantly differ in their effect on math tutoring between Hong Kong and Shanghai . These factors include family SES, living with two parents, student grade level, disciplinary climate, the number of math classes per week, math score, going to a public school, and student-teacher ratio. The current study concludes by discussing the social and economic implications of the findings by highlighting traditional Chinese values, the National College Entrance Exam, and other related educational phenomena in the Chinese societies.