"The Impact of Low-Ability Peers on Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Outcomes: Random Assignment Evidence on the Effects and Operating Channels"
Zhang is a fourth-year doctoral student specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC). Her research foci include early childhood, the educational achievement gap, educational equity, parental involvement, and cultural and family influences. She is advised by Assistant Professor Jade Jenkins and Distinguished Professor of Education George Farkas.
Zhou is a third-year doctoral student, also specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context. Zhou researches education and economics, education inequality, higher education, and educational policy. She is advised by Associate Professor Xu and Assistant Professor Rachel Baker.
This article presents new experimental estimates of the impact of low-ability peers on own outcomes using nationally representative data from China. We exploit the random assignment of students to junior high school classrooms and find that the proportion of low-ability peers, defined as having been retained during primary school (“repeaters”), has negative effects on non-repeaters’ cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes. An exploration of the mechanisms shows that a larger proportion of repeater peers is associated with reduced after-school study time. The negative effects are driven by male repeaters and are more pronounced among students with less strict parental monitoring at home.