Affirmative Actions and College Students’ Academic Engagement and Performance in China
Weidong Wang, Renmin University of China
Preferential admissions to Chinese colleges are substantial as the data on 5000 college students in Beijing from China Education Panel Studies (CEPS:College 2009-2012) show a 20% rate of preferential admissions. While descriptions of affirmative action programs are found in the education literature, little research is done about the consequences of affirmative action programs of different natures for college students’ academic engagement and performance. Using the theory of stereotype threat and the theory of skills mismatch, this paper will (1) classify and test contemporary China’s affirmative actions into three types – ethnic minorities, athletes (artists), and the advantaged, and (2) model the differential effects of these three types of affirmative actions on college students’ academic engagement and performance. The research design focuses on forming proper counterparts of students admitted under each type of affirmative actions using propensity score matching of background characteristics (excluding admission scores) and multivariate modeling of matched individuals.