Asian students in US do better because they try harder: study
May 7, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
WASHINGTON--Asian-American schoolchildren tend to outperform their white counterparts in school because they try harder, according to a U.S. study.
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 destined to succeed may be a stereotype, but it may work to the benefit of Asian-American youths, the researchers said.