ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2024, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (3): 295-310.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00295

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The transition of latent classes of children’s learning engagement in primary school against the background of the “double reduction” policy

YANG Jingyuan1,†, YU Xiao1,†(), ZHANG Jingyi2,3, LU Lifei1, YANG Zhihui1()   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Published:2024-03-25 Online:2023-12-13
  • Contact: YU Xiao, E-mail:; YANG Zhihui, E-mail:
  • About author:†Co-first authors.


Learning engagement, an important indicator of the learning process, has garnered extensive attention. Developmental contextualism and the integrative model of engagement posit that the interaction between individuals and environmental factors results in heterogeneous learning engagement development among individuals. Previous studies have demonstrated learning engagement heterogeneity among primary school students. However, in the context of the “double reduction” policy, the dynamic development of children’s learning engagement remains unclear. Moreover, positive parenting style, teacher-student relationships, and peer relationships, as important environmental factors, may predict children’s learning engagement transitions. Thus, this study adopts a people-centered research method to address these issues from a longitudinal perspective.

This study recruited participants from three ordinary public primary schools in Shandong Province, China. Participants at T1 (June 2021, before the implementation of the “double reduction” policy) were 378 children (164 boys; mean age: 9.97 ± 0.91 years old). Participants at T2 (December 2021, six months after the implementation of the policy) were 357 primary school students (155 boys; mean age: 10.50 ± 0.94 years old). Participants at T3 (June 2022, a year after the implementation of the policy) were 347 primary school students (147 boys; mean age: 10.97 ± 0.91 years old). Students completed the Children’s Learning Engagement Scale (at T1, T2, and T3), Short-form Egna Minnen av Barndoms Uppfostran (at T1 and T2), Student Teacher Relationship Scale (at T1 and T2) and Children’s Peer Relationship Scales (at T1 and T2) during the three measurements. Latent profile analysis and latent transition analysis were employed in this study to explore children’s potential learning engagement subtypes and examine transitions between different subtypes across the three waves. Multiple logistic regressions were also used to investigate the impact of various environmental factors (i.e., positive parenting style, student-teacher relationships, and peer relationships) on the latent transitions of different learning engagement subtypes.

All data were analyzed by SPSS 26.0 and Mplus 8.0 (The results of the relevant analyses are presented in Table 1). The results revealed four distinct subgroups of learning engagement among primary school students: the “Low Engaged”, “Moderately Engaged”, “High Absorption with Vigorous Disengagement”, and “Highly Engaged” groups (see Table 2, Table 3, and Figure 1). In addition, due to the “double reduction” policy, students in the “Moderately Engaged” and “Highly Engaged” groups displayed relative stability, while those in the “Highly Disengaged” group tended to transition toward the “Moderately Engaged” group. Regarding the “High Absorption with Vigorous Disengagement” group, the findings indicated a higher likelihood of transitioning to the “Moderately Engaged” group from T1 to T2; however, from T2 to T3, these students were more likely to remain in their original subgroup (see Table 4 and Figure 2). Moreover, the study identified the varying roles of different environmental factors in children’s learning engagement subgroups. Specifically, under the “double reduction” policy, positive parenting style and teacher-student relationships exhibited robust effects on children’s learning engagement transitions. The predictive effects of teacher-student relationships varied across different learning engagement subtypes among primary school students. Additionally, the study found that peer relationships had a positive influence on the transition of children within the “Moderately Engaged” group following the implementation of the “double reduction” policy (see Table 5).

This study provides the first evidence of heterogeneity and dynamic changes in learning engagement among Chinese primary school students, which indicates that following the implementation of the “double reduction” policy, family-school-collaborative education has made initial progress. These findings not only enhance our understanding of the dynamic development of learning engagement among primary school students but also provide empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of the “double reduction” policy implementation.

Key words: “double reduction” policy, latent transition analysis, learning engagement, longitudinal study, primary school students