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Contexts of achievement: a study of American, Chinese, and Japanese children.
Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 1990; 55(1-2):1-123.MS

Abstract

The major purpose of this study was to attempt to understand some of the reasons for the high academic achievement of Chinese and Japanese children compared to American children. The study was conducted with first and fifth graders attending elementary schools in the Minneapolis metropolitan area, Taipei (Taiwan), and Sendai (Japan). 1,440 children (240 first graders and 240 fifth graders in each city) were selected as target subjects in the study. The children were selected from 20 classrooms at each grade in each city and constituted a representative sample of children from these classrooms. In a follow-up study, first graders were studied again when they were in the fifth grade. The children were tested with achievement tests in reading and mathematics constructed specifically for this study, the children and their mothers were interviewed, the children's teachers filled out a questionnaire, and interviews were held with the principals of the schools attended by the children. In the follow-up study, achievement tests were administered, and the children and their mothers were interviewed. Background information about the children's everyday lives revealed much greater attention to academic activities among Chinese and Japanese than among American children. Members of the three cultures differed significantly in terms of parents' interest in their child's academic achievement, involvement of the family in the child's education, standards and expectations of parents concerning their child's academic achievement, and parents' and children's beliefs about the relative influence of effort and ability on academic achievement. Whereas children's academic achievement did not appear to be a central concern of American mothers, Chinese and Japanese mothers viewed this as their child's most important pursuit. Once the child entered elementary school, Chinese and Japanese families mobilized themselves to assist the child and to provide an environment conducive to achievement. American mothers appeared to be less interested in their child's academic achievement than in the child's general cognitive development; they attempted to provide experiences that fostered cognitive growth rather than academic excellence. Chinese and Japanese mothers held higher standards for their children's achievement than American mothers and gave more realistic evaluations of their child's academic, cognitive, and personality characteristics. American mothers overestimated their child's abilities and expressed greater satisfaction with their child's accomplishments than the Chinese and Japanese mothers. In describing bases of children's academic achievement, Chinese and Japanese mothers stressed the importance of hard work to a greater degree than American mothers, and American mothers gave greater emphasis to innate ability than did Chinese and Japanese mothers.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

2342493

Citation

Stevenson, H W., and S Y. Lee. "Contexts of Achievement: a Study of American, Chinese, and Japanese Children." Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, vol. 55, no. 1-2, 1990, pp. 1-123.
Stevenson HW, Lee SY. Contexts of achievement: a study of American, Chinese, and Japanese children. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 1990;55(1-2):1-123.
Stevenson, H. W., & Lee, S. Y. (1990). Contexts of achievement: a study of American, Chinese, and Japanese children. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 55(1-2), 1-123.
Stevenson HW, Lee SY. Contexts of Achievement: a Study of American, Chinese, and Japanese Children. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 1990;55(1-2):1-123. PubMed PMID: 2342493.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Contexts of achievement: a study of American, Chinese, and Japanese children. AU - Stevenson,H W, AU - Lee,S Y, PY - 1990/1/1/pubmed PY - 1990/1/1/medline PY - 1990/1/1/entrez SP - 1 EP - 123 JF - Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development JO - Monogr Soc Res Child Dev VL - 55 IS - 1-2 N2 - The major purpose of this study was to attempt to understand some of the reasons for the high academic achievement of Chinese and Japanese children compared to American children. The study was conducted with first and fifth graders attending elementary schools in the Minneapolis metropolitan area, Taipei (Taiwan), and Sendai (Japan). 1,440 children (240 first graders and 240 fifth graders in each city) were selected as target subjects in the study. The children were selected from 20 classrooms at each grade in each city and constituted a representative sample of children from these classrooms. In a follow-up study, first graders were studied again when they were in the fifth grade. The children were tested with achievement tests in reading and mathematics constructed specifically for this study, the children and their mothers were interviewed, the children's teachers filled out a questionnaire, and interviews were held with the principals of the schools attended by the children. In the follow-up study, achievement tests were administered, and the children and their mothers were interviewed. Background information about the children's everyday lives revealed much greater attention to academic activities among Chinese and Japanese than among American children. Members of the three cultures differed significantly in terms of parents' interest in their child's academic achievement, involvement of the family in the child's education, standards and expectations of parents concerning their child's academic achievement, and parents' and children's beliefs about the relative influence of effort and ability on academic achievement. Whereas children's academic achievement did not appear to be a central concern of American mothers, Chinese and Japanese mothers viewed this as their child's most important pursuit. Once the child entered elementary school, Chinese and Japanese families mobilized themselves to assist the child and to provide an environment conducive to achievement. American mothers appeared to be less interested in their child's academic achievement than in the child's general cognitive development; they attempted to provide experiences that fostered cognitive growth rather than academic excellence. Chinese and Japanese mothers held higher standards for their children's achievement than American mothers and gave more realistic evaluations of their child's academic, cognitive, and personality characteristics. American mothers overestimated their child's abilities and expressed greater satisfaction with their child's accomplishments than the Chinese and Japanese mothers. In describing bases of children's academic achievement, Chinese and Japanese mothers stressed the importance of hard work to a greater degree than American mothers, and American mothers gave greater emphasis to innate ability than did Chinese and Japanese mothers. SN - 0037-976X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/2342493/Contexts_of_achievement:_a_study_of_American_Chinese_and_Japanese_children_ L2 - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/openurl?genre=article&sid=nlm:pubmed&issn=0037-976X&date=1990&volume=55&issue=1-2&spage=1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -