Using longitudinal data from the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS), this paper employed a set of techniques to investigate the mechanism through which participation in structured extracurricular activities affects students’ academic performance. The main findings are as follows: (1) high SES students were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities than low SES children. (2) Students’ social relationships in school, including supportive friendships and teacher praise, are positively associated with academic performance. (3) Participation in extracurricular activities had no direct impact on eighth grade students’ academic performance or any indirect effects by structuring students’ social relationships in school. Our findings suggest that extracurricular participation does not contribute to students’ academic performance in a context characterised by a high-stakes testing system such as that of China. In such a context, engagement in extracurricular activities, as a way to accumulate cultural capital, may facilitate individuals’ future socioeconomic success on condition that their educational success is foreseeable.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences(all)
- Life-span and Life-course Studies