2011/10 : Hell to touch the sky? Private tutoring and academic achievement in Korea
Although not exclusive to the Republic of Korea’s educational system, the pervasiveness of private tutoring, and its consequences, serve to distinguish it from systems operated in other countries. However, the identification of inefficiencies linked to this phenomenon have seen the educational authorities struggling against private tutoring since the 1980s. Yet, public policies have systematically failed because of the widely held belief that private tutoring services increase students’ academic performance. This paper quantifies the impact of time spent in private tutoring on the performance of students in the three competence fields assessed in the PISA-2006 (Programme for International Student Assessment). Instrumental variables are applied in a multilevel model framework in an attempt at addressing the endogeneity of the effects of private tutoring on academic performance. Our results indicate that the impact of time dedicated to private tutoring on academic performance depends on the particular competence: positive for mathematics, positive but decreasing for reading, and non-significant for science.