The DFID-funded Southwest Basic Education Project (SBEP) operated during
2006-2010 in 27 of the poorest and most remote counties in southwestern
China. The project was designed to improve the Provincial and County
governments’ own systems for education support and development and
included: stipends for poor students (especially girls and minorities);
introduction of School Development Planning (SDP); teacher training on
effective support, improved quality and greater relevance of schooling
for disadvantaged children; involvement of those children in their own
learning; head teacher training; and equity training focusing on the
most disadvantaged children.
The SBEP project Goal was: \"Increased and equitable access to high
quality basic education in all counties targeted in the Government of
China’s Nine Year Compulsory Education Programme in the Western
Region.\" Its Project Purpose was: \"To support the Government of China
to achieve its goals in basic education, by increasing Government
capacity to improve effective programmes that increase equitable access,
completion and achievement for the most excluded boys and girls.\"
The Student Achievement Study (SAS) was designed to assess the potential
impact of the project interventions on students' performance,
especially the performance of disadvantaged children. It aimed to answer
(i) Whether students in project counties made more progress than those
in non-project counties over the project period?
(ii) Whether project interventions had greater impact on disadvantaged
students than less disadvantaged students over the project period?
(iii) Could project interventions have a greater impact on
disadvantaged students for improved performance in some areas of
knowledge than others?
All questions were related to changes of students' performance from
where they started at the beginning of the SBEP project to where they
ended up 2 years or 4 years after the project interventions. It was
assumed that if the project interventions were effective on
disadvantaged children, a greater change in performance of disadvantaged
than that of not disadvantaged over the project period should be
expected, and performance of children in these areas should be improved
The key findings were:
- Despite having markedly lower average ability scores at the baseline
tests, students of all grades in the project counties made
significantly more progress than those in the non-project counties by
the mid-term and by the end of the project, for both Chinese and
Maths, results were similar for boys and girls.
- Girls of all grades in SDP schools demonstrated a more improved
performance in Chinese than girls in non-SDP schools at both mid-term
and end of the project, and a small improvement in Maths at the end of
project. The same patterns were found from sub-domain analysis.
- Students with low socio-economic backgrounds of all grades in the SDP
schools showed a consistent pattern of greater progress in both
Chinese and Maths over the project life than those in the non-SDP
schools, with half the estimates of those patterns reaching
statistical significance. The same consistent pattern was supported by
the sub-domain analysis too.
- Minority students in SDP schools demonstrated worse progress overall
for both subjects except for students in Grade 9 in Maths ; there were
similar findings from the sub-domain analysis.
- There was some weak evidence showing impacts of SDP interventions on
improved performance of disabled students to the end of the project
though without reaching statistical significance. Positive effects
were found among disabled students of Grades 3, 7 and 9, with more
estimates of those effects reaching significance level for Chinese
sub-domains than for Maths.
- The SDP interventions did not show sub-domain differentiated impacts
on performance of disadvantaged children.
In conclusion, the study has provided evidence to support the positive
effects of the SBEP interventions on disadvantaged children in the
poorest regions in China. Efficacy of such interventions in the
education system appeared measurable by progress of students’
achievement or learning ability.
Yang, Min; Ding, YanQing; Hu, WenBin. Southwest Basic Education Project (SBEP). Analysis of the Impact of SBEP on Student Achievement. Cambridge Education, Cambridge, UK (2012)
Southwest Basic Education Project (SBEP). Analysis of the Impact of SBEP on Student Achievement