Exploring the mysteries of school success in Shanghai

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose-The purpose of the paper is to discuss some of the mysteries around the much-touted recent success of school education in China and to explore some of the key conditions that may underpin the success.
Design/methodology/approach-It is a conceptual paper. A wide range of available data and literature has been consulted and analyzed to carefully marshal arguments about how to understand the mysteries and the conditions underpinning the success.
Findings-The paper discusses four mysteries around education success in China. It argues for the development of a fuller and more contextualized perspective to view the success. The paper further suggests that neither of the four general conditions for success—values, reform, leadership or teaching approaches—taken alone, can explain pathways to success.
Originality/Value-The paper provides an original explanatory description of the mysteries of education success and underlying conditions. This paper helps fill a gap in Western understanding of the “why” and “how” of school success in China. Copyright © 2018 East China Normal University & East China Normal University Press, Shanghai, China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-134
JournalECNU Review of Education
Issue number1
Early online dateApr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Walker, A., & Qian, H. (2018). Exploring the mysteries of school success in Shanghai. ECNU Review of Education, 1(1), 119-134.


  • Shanghai education
  • Culture and values
  • Education policy
  • Leadership
  • Learning


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