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Nora Sulots
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Every September, rising seniors in the Fisher Family Honors Program travel to the nation's capitol for CDRRL's Honors College. During this week-long program, students visit a wide variety of policy-related institutions in Washington, D.C., and gain firsthand exposure to how these organizations, the federal government, and think tanks work to advance democracy and development around the world.

Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to learn about the government's vision for democracy at the National Security Council, explore an academic view of development from scholars at the World Bank, and dive into the challenges and advantages of empowering local democratic activists — particularly in countries hostile to democracy — with speakers at the National Endowment for Democracy, among other exciting site visits. They are also encouraged to use this time to connect with experts related to their thesis question. The culminating event of the trip will bring current honors students together with alumni from across the greater D.C. area for a networking happy hour.

CDDRL’s Fisher Family Honors Program brings together undergraduates from diverse fields and methodologies who are united by their passion for understanding democracy, development, and rule of law (DDRL). The aim of the program is for students to carry out original, policy-relevant research on DDRL and produce a coherent, eloquently argued, well-written honors thesis.

This year's Honors College begins on Sunday, September 18, and will be led by Didi Kuo and Stephen Stedman, who jointly direct the honors program, alongside Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy Larry Diamond.

Check back throughout the week for photos and updates from our students.

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2022-23 CDDRL Honors Students
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Introducing Our 2022-23 CDDRL Honors Students

Representing nine different majors and minors and hailing from four different countries, we are thrilled to welcome these twelve outstanding students to our Fisher Family Honors Program.
Introducing Our 2022-23 CDDRL Honors Students
CDDRL honors class of 2022 with Steve Stedman, Sako Fisher, and Didi Kuo
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Graduating CDDRL Honors Students Recognized for Outstanding Theses

Adrian Scheibler ('22) is a recipient of the 2022 Firestone Medal and Michal Skreta ('22) has won the CDDRL Outstanding Thesis Award.
Graduating CDDRL Honors Students Recognized for Outstanding Theses
Phi Beta Kappa
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CDDRL Congratulates Newly Elected Phi Beta Kappa Members

Sylvie Ashford (honors class of 2021) and Carolyn Chun (honors class of 2022) are among the newest members of this prestigious academic honors society.
CDDRL Congratulates Newly Elected Phi Beta Kappa Members
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From September 18 through 24, the Fisher Family Honors Program class of 2023 will attend CDDRL's annual Honors College, gaining firsthand exposure to how the federal government, policy organizations, and think tanks work to advance democracy and development around the world.

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Extant research continues to establish the importance of teacher job satisfaction to student performance, yet teacher job satisfaction remains under-investigated in rural China. In this paper, we examine the prevalence and correlates of teacher job satisfaction. Using data from 634 teachers across 120 schools in rural China, we find an alarmingly high prevalence of teacher job dissatisfaction: roughly 21% of rural teachers were less than satisfied with their jobs. In addition, we find that several individual- and school-level characteristics, including being a male teacher, being a homeroom teacher, not having a management role in school, being a middle-aged teacher, and a school’s boarding status, are correlated with teacher job dissatisfaction. In sum, the results demonstrate a need for further research and policy interventions to improve teacher job satisfaction in rural schools.

Journal Publisher
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Authors
Huan Wang
Huan Wang
Claire Cousineau
Bill Wang
Lucy Zeng
Andrew Sun
Ezra Kohrman
Nick Li
Esther Tok
Matthew Boswell
Matthew Boswell
Scott Rozelle
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Policymakers in developing countries have prioritized the mass expansion of vocational education and training (VET). Evidence suggests, however, that the quality of VET can be poor. One possible reason given by policymakers for this is a lack of resources per student. The goal of this study is to examine whether the quality of VET in developing countries increases by investing greater resources per student. To achieve this goal, we examine the impacts of attending model schools (which have far more resources per student) compared with non-model schools (which have fewer resources) on a range of student cognitive, non-cognitive, and behavioral outcomes. Using representative data from a survey of approximately 12,000 VET students from China, multivariate regression and propensity score matching analyses show that there are no significant benefits, in terms of student outcomes, from attending model vocational high schools, despite their substantially greater resources.

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China & World Economy
Authors
Guirong Li
Jiajia Xu
Liying Li
Zhaolei Shi
Hongmei Yi
James Chu
James Chu
Elena Kardanova
Yanyan Li
Prashant Loyalka
Scott Rozelle
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The demand for large-scale assessments in higher education, especially at an international scale, is growing. A major challenge of conducting these assessments, however, is that they require understanding and balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders (government officials, university administrators, and students) and also overcoming potential unwillingness of these stakeholders to participate. In this paper, we take the experience of the Study of Undergraduate Performance (SUPER) in conducting a large-scale international assessment as a case study. We discuss ways in which we mitigated perceived risks, built trust, and provided incentives to ensure the successful engagement of stakeholders during the study’s implementation.

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Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Authors
Guirong Li
Irina Shcheglova
Ashutosh Bhuradia
Yanyan Li
Prashant Loyalka
Olivia Zhou
Shangfeng Hu
Ningning Yu
Liping Ma
Fei Guo
Igor Chirikov
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We examine the effects of computer-based versus paper-based assessment of critical thinking skills, adapted from English (in the U.S.) to Chinese. Using data collected based on a random assignment between the two modes in multiple Chinese colleges, we investigate mode effects from multiple perspectives: mean scores, measurement precision, item functioning (i.e. item difficulty and discrimination), response behavior (i.e. test completion and item omission), and user perceptions. Our findings shed light on assessment and item properties that could be the sources of mode effects. At the test level, we find that the computer-based test is more difficult and more speeded than the paper-based test. We speculate that these differences are attributable to the test’s structure, its high demands on reading, and test-taking flexibility afforded under the paper testing mode. Item-level evaluation allows us to identify item characteristics that are prone to mode effects, including targeted cognitive skill, response type, and the amount of adaptation between modes. Implications for test design are discussed, and actionable design suggestions are offered with the goal of minimizing mode effect.

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Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Authors
Lin Gu
Guangming Ling
Ou Lydia Liu
Zhitong Yang
Guirong Li
Elena Kardanova
Prashant Loyalka
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In some accountability regimes, teachers pay more attention to higher achieving students at the expense of lower achieving students. The overall goal of this study is to examine, in this type of accountability regime, the impacts of a pay-for-percentile type scheme in which incentives exist for all students but which are larger for improving the achievement of lower achieving students. Analyzing data from a large-scale randomized experiment in rural China, we find that incentives improve average achievement by 0.10 SDs and the achievement of low-achieving students by 0.15 SDs. We find parallel changes in teacher behavior and curricular coverage. Taken together, the results demonstrate that incentive schemes can effectively address teacher neglect of low-achieving students.

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Economics of Education Review
Authors
Fang Chang
Huan Wang
Huan Wang
Yaqiong Qu
Qiang Zheng
Prashant Loyalka
Sean Sylvia
Yaojiang Shi
Sarah-Eve Dill
Scott Rozelle
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In China, education gaps exist not only between rural and urban students, but also within the population of rural students. Evidence points to poor reading skills development as one possible factor in this gap. If reading skills are moderating variations in academic performance among rural students, what factors in the home and school environment lead some students to develop strong reading skills? Using data from 1870 primary school students in rural China, the results show considerable variation in student reading skills. The home environment is strongly linked to reading skills, whereas school factors are not positively associated with reading skills. These findings suggest that policies and programs to support student reading skills are needed in rural China.

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International Journal of Educational Research
Authors
Nan Wang
Huan Wang
Feng Lu
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In the preschool period, interactions between teachers and children are an essential input for healthy development. However, it is not well understood how the qualifications of preschool teachers contribute to child development during the preschool period, and previous international studies have returned mixed results. We drew on data from a longitudinal study of 1031 preschool children age 49–65 months in rural China to examine the associations between teacher qualifications and the development of preschool children. The findings showed that 36% of preschool children in the sample are developmentally delayed.Overall, teacher qualifications (education level, specialization in early childhood education, professional ranking, experience and training) were significantly associated with preschool-age child developmental outcomes. Teacher professional ranking and educational attainment were positively and significantly correlated with two measures of child language development, but a degree specialized in early child-hood education was negatively related to vocabulary acquisition. No significant correlations were found between teacher experience or teacher training and child developmental outcomes. The study concludes that policymakers should encourage highly educated and professionally ranked teachers to serve in rural preschools in order to improve the development of preschool children.

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Early Childhood Research Quarterly
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Lei Wang
Ruirui Dang
Yu Bai
Siqi Zhang
Buyao Liu
Lijuan Zheng
Ning Yang
Chuyu Song
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This paper seeks to understand the learning outcomes that prevail across key subpopulations in China today. Data from a nationally representative survey show that rural youth are two years behind urban children in math and Chinese. Non-Han minorities, children in poorer counties, and children with less-educated parents are the most vulnerable.

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Asian Survey
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Wenbin Min
Siqi Zhang
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Previous studies reflect a high prevalence of depressive symptoms among Taiwanese adolescents (ages 13–18), but there is an absence of literature related to the risk of depression of children in Taiwan (ages 6–12), particularly among potentially vulnerable subgroups. To provide insight into the distribution of depressive symptoms among children in rural Taiwan and measure the correlation between academic performance, we conducted a survey of 1655 randomly selected fourth and fifth-grade students at 92 sample schools in four relatively low-income counties or municipalities. Using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) we assessed the prevalence of depressive symptoms in this sample, in addition to collecting other data, such as performance on a standardized math test as well as information on a number of individual and household characteristics. We demonstrate that the share of children with clinically significant symptoms is high: 38% of the students were at risk of general depression (depression score ≥ 16) and 8% of the students were at risk of major depression (depression score > 28). The results of the multivariate regression and heterogeneous analysis suggest that poor academic performance is closely associated with a high prevalence of depressive symptoms. Among low-performing students, certain groups were disproportionately affected, including girls and students whose parents have migrated away for work. Results also suggest that, overall, students who had a parent who was an immigrant from another country were at greater risk of depression. These findings highlight the need for greater resource allocation toward mental health services for elementary school students in rural Taiwan, particularly for at-risk groups. 

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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Authors
Yujuan Gao
Derek Hu
Evan Peng
Cody Abbey
Yue Ma
Chyi-In Wu
Chia-Yuan Chang
Wei-Ting Hung
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