Understanding the attitudes and effectiveness of shadow education on English language achievement: A study on Hong Kong tertiary students


Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


The influence of shadow education continues to grow around the world and in Hong Kong. Students are flocking to tutorial centres and parents are hiring the best private tutors they can find. In light of this growing phenomenon, researchers have carried out quantitative studies to understand the effects of shadow education on various stakeholders. However, there is a paucity of data on the experiences of learners’, especially post-implementation of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examinations, and if private tutoring had served them well. This study aims to address this gap by offering insight into learners’ motives and attitudes towards shadow education, whether students feel private tutoring meets their English language learning needs, and how we can improve shadow education in Hong Kong. A qualitative study was carried out with data collected from background questionnaires and one-to-one semi-structured interviews with fifteen Undergraduate students as they were most able to tell whether their private tuition had an impact on their language achievement. The background questionnaire was adapted from the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery and interview probes were based on the objectives and research questions of this study. Respondents had taken part in one-to-one, small-group, and large-group/lecture tutoring in their schooling in Hong Kong. The data showed that shadow education has a significant impact on the effectiveness of language achievement, but only in terms of English results in the public examinations. It should be mentioned that shadow education can have a negative impact on students’ integrative motivation. This raises questions for teachers, parents, and policy makers about the consequences of allowing shadow education to exert its influence on the Hong Kong education system.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationBachelor of Education (Honours)
  • YU, Baohua 喻寶華, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Shadow education
  • Motivation
  • Parents’ role
  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) - Secondary (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B059
  • Course code: ENG4903


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