Dongfang Liu


Vogel, Linda Jane


Cohen, Michael, 1951-

Committee Member

Ku, Heng-Yu


Leadership, Policy and Development


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





217 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Although the economy has been developing at a fast pace for the last few decades, there is still a relatively high low SES population within the Chinese society, which constitutes a contextual barrier to educational equity in Chinese education. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has been administering assistance policies in education to promote education equity, such as the milestone policy introduced by the Compulsory Education Law that requires all school-age children to attend grades one through nine for free. This policy has brought immense prosperity to the majority of citizens. However, Chinese education still faces a large array of challenges pertaining to the imbalanced development, funding shortages, lack of qualified educators, household registration system, family mobility, and so forth. These challenges compromise low SES students’ educational attainment and performance on high-stake tests, such as the National College Entrance Exam (NCEE). Considering the high value of the NCEE, understanding what factors affect low SES students’ performance on this test has a practical value to educational practices. School leaders and policy makers need to be informed and aware of these factors in order to more effectively support low SES students in the Chinese education system. Nonetheless, the influences of SES on test scores, especially the Chinese NCEE, remain largely unexplored in existing literature. The author aimed to use the findings of the study to inform Chinese policy makers, building-level leaders, and educators as to how to better support students from low SES families and eventually improve social justice and education equity in China. Regardless of the adverse situation, quite a number of low SES Chinese students still seized college education opportunities by excelling on the NCEE due to their extraordinary diligence and work ethics. In this context, the successful examples of low SES students on the NCEE is worthy of research to reveal what factors influenced their success on the NCEE. The research used individual interview to collect qualitative data and tried to explore the experiences of the low SES Students with high achievements. There were 18 participants joined this study. The findings from this study open a path, possible methods, and advice on how to replicate the participants in this study successful experience on a larger scale and to extend those benefits to a larger number of low SES students, their families, and their communities. Based on the findings, key factors for the success of the participants were already present during their pre-high school trajectories and before they have received any significant financial and educational benefits through the Hongzhi program. Therefore, the author focused on developing, strengthening, and multiplying those factors, rather than on the aspect of allocating financial resources, which nevertheless would be necessary to implement those proposals. Those financial resources, obviously, lay beyond the scope and purposes of the study. In other words, the author wanted to make ample use of already existing resources that may have not been used so far or are misunderstood, underused, and underestimated. Finally, the recommendations based on the findings of this study promote the development of a community approach to strengthening education by including schools, educators, families, and students whose combined efforts could benefit each of the stakeholders in a synergistic cycle. The author envisions that the process of helping low SES students to succeed in their education paths could in turn help to develop further the fabric of the local low SES communities. Thus, the process would help in transforming schools into community centers where everybody can take part in the multifaceted teaching process, in learning and in receiving the benefits of educational achievement, each giving and receiving according to their different roles, assets, and contributions, to the overall benefit of Chinese society.

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