Curriculum reform and the social class achievement gap
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Through the study of the Liberal Studies reform in Hong Kong, this paper aims to investigate to what extent the curriculum reform makes a difference in the achievement gap between middle-class and lower-class students. Specifically, it examines the variation of the “class gap” between Liberal Studies and other traditional, core subjects in terms of the public examination results, and the major mediators underlying the class effect on the results.

Data from a survey of 1,123 students from 15 schools who studied the new curriculum between 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 in Hong Kong were analyzed using the hierarchical multiple regression models.

Students’ class backgrounds, mainly indicated by parental education, continue to make a substantive contribution to the achievement gap.

Practical implications
Given that Liberal Studies’ examination is compulsory for university entrance, the sensitivity of this reform to existing educational inequalities has a significant impact on students’ chances of entering local universities.

Sociologists have long observed the class gap in education, and this paper adds an important exogenous source, a curriculum change, to the analysis. The Liberal Studies reform has provided a unique opportunity to examine the potential effect of a curriculum change on the class gap. In addition, in view of the absence of empirical evidence in this topic, this paper is an effort to build the evidence base for understanding the outcomes of the reform.
All Author(s) ListLEE Tsz Lok, CHIU Wing Kai Stephen
Journal nameSocial Transformations in Chinese Societies: The Official Annual of the Hong Kong Sociological Association
Volume Number12
Issue Number2
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Pages148 - 165
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsHong Kong, Achievement gap, Social class, Curriculum reform, Liberal Studies

Last updated on 2021-13-09 at 00:05