CIES Presentation Park: Comparing the Impact of Private Tutoring in South Korea and the United States

I’m grateful to EJ Park for sharing her abstract.

Sunday, May 1: Session 57, 13:45-15:15h, Queen Elizabeth Hotel Floor C – Saint Laurent


The growing demand for private tutoring around the world is often regarded as a policy problem reflecting a weakness in public school programs.  Private tutoring poses potentially adverse impacts on the educational environment, because it is sometimes viewed as worsening social inequalities. In South Korea, for example, data show that expenditures on private tutoring by the wealthiest 10 percent were twelve times the amount spent by the poorest 10 percent of households. In contrast, private tutoring in the United States is used primarily for remedial purposes, and thus it occurs primarily for lower income students. The goal of this research is to test whether the use of private tutoring differs between the Korea and the United States, and whether private tutoring is associated with student achievement outcomes.  Our conceptual framework is an input-output model, where student achievement scores comprise the outputs and school resources/programs and student family background make up the inputs.  The data used for this research is the 2006 PISA Survey (Programme for International Student Assessment).  Our analytic approach will have two parts: (1) tabular comparisons and analysis of variance to compare tutoring patterns between South Korea and the U.S., and (2) OLS regression and hierarchical linear modeling to test the effect of private tutoring on students’ achievement outcomes, controlling for socioeconomic and school factors.   Although results are preliminary, there is a significant relationship between private tutoring and achievement in both countries, but the association is positive in South Korea and negative in the United States.

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