When it comes to academic achievement, Asian-Americans outclass every other ethnic group, with more than half over age 25 holding a bachelor’s degree—well above the national average of 28%. To find what gives Asian-Americans a leg up, a team of sociologists scoured two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students.
After crunching test scores, GPAs, teacher evaluations, and social factors such as immigration status, the team reports a simple explanation online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Asian-American students work harder.
The team found that students from all Asian ethnic groups put greater importance on effort than on natural ability. This outlook, the team argues, causes students to respond to challenges by trying harder and has a greater impact on Asian-Americans’ academic achievement than does cognitive ability or socioeconomic status.
However, the team says Asian-American students reported lower self-esteem, more conflict with their parents, and less time spent with friends compared with their white peers. The team suspects the high academic expectations or their “outsider” status in American society could be to blame. – ScienceShot
Asian-American schoolchildren tend to outperform their white counterparts in school because they try harder, according to a US study out Monday.
The findings were based on an analysis of records from two separate surveys tracking several thousand whites and Asians in the United States from kindergarten through high school.
Scientists at Queens College of New York, the University of Michigan and Peking University in Beijing looked at grades, test scores, teacher ratings, family income and education level, immigration status and other factors.
“Asian-Americans enter school with no discernible academic advantage over whites,” said the study, noting that “advantage grows over time”. By fifth grade, or age 10-11, Asian-Americans “significantly outperform whites,” and the peak difference is reached by grade 10, or age 15-16.
“Overall, these results suggest that the growing achievement gap can be attributed to a widening gap in academic effort rather than to differences in cognitive ability.”
Asian-Americans tend to be motivated by cultural teachings that instill the notion that effort is more important than inborn ability, researchers said.
They also endure “greater parental pressures to succeed than in the case of comparable white peers.”
The notion of a hard-working Asian student who is destined to succeed may be a stereotype, but it may actually work to the benefit of Asian-American youths, the researchers said.
“These positive stereotypes may help bolster Asian-American achievement just as negative stereotypes have been shown to hinder the achievement of African-American youth,” said the article. Asian-Americans’ higher degree of success comes at a price, however.
Whether their family lineage traces back to the Philippines, South Asia, Southeast Asia or East Asia, these children report fewer positive feelings about themselves and say they spend less time with friends than whites, the study found.
“They also have more conflict with both parents than comparable white peers,” it said.
The research was published in the May 5 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal. – Inquirer.net
Asian students are not smarter than white students, according to a new study. They just work harder. Sociologists from New York and Michigan found after reviewing standardized test scores, teacher evaluations, demographics and other factors that Asian-American students do better in school than white classmates. By the time they reach the fifth grade, or are in the 10-11 age range, Asian-Americans “significantly outperform whites,” with that difference hitting its peak by the 10th grade, or age 15-16.
The reason for this, said the researchers, is because Asian-American students tend to have a stronger work ethic. Cultural attitudes played a role as well, they found. “Asian and Asian-American youth are harder working because of cultural beliefs that emphasize the strong connection between effort and achievement,” study authors Amy Hsin of Queens College in New York and Yu Xie of the University of Michigan wrote in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
“Studies show that Asian and Asian-American students tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that can be developed through effort, whereas white Americans tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that are inborn,” they added. “Qualities such as attentiveness, self-control, motivation and persistence may be as important as cognitive abilities in positively affecting academic performance. Asian-American parents may engage in parenting practices that better cultivate these qualities that, in turn, enable their children’s academic success.”
Hsin and Xie also ruled out wealth as a factor. “The poverty rates of Chinese and Vietnamese are higher than they are for whites. However the disadvantaged children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant families routinely surpass the educational attainment of their native-born, middle-class white peers,” they wrote. But being the best in school comes at a price, according to the researchers.
Asian-American students “are less psychologically adjusted and socially engaged in school than their white peers. They may experience more conflict in relationships with parents because of the high educational expectations their parents place on them,” the authors found, based on other research studies. – AllGov