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Behind the high achievement of East Asian students

  • Behind the high achievement of East Asian students
  • Educational Research & Evaluation, 8(1), 87-108, 2002
  • Routledge
  • 2002
    • Hong Kong
    • Singapore
    • Japan
    • Korea
    • 1997.7 onwards
    • Primary Education
    • Secondary Education
  • Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Singapore are the only East Asian countries in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), but students in these 4 countries outperformed their counterparts in the TIMSS mathematics test. An examination of the student background information showed that there was little commonality among the 4 countries which can be used to explain the superior achievement of their students. The only common background data for the 4 places were their high population density and large class size, which are, in general, not considered favorable factors for achievement. An investigation of the TIMSS attitude data also failed to locate common attitudes that were unique to the 4 countries and which can be used to explain the high achievement of their students. The questionnaire data however indicated that the superior results of the East Asian students might have been achieved at the expense of other aspects of the development of the students. The results also showed that students in the 4 countries displayed relatively negative attitudes towards mathematics, including the lack of confidence in doing mathematics. The predominant Confucian culture in the 4 countries will be discussed in an attempt to explain the negative attitudes of the East Asian students, but it is not clear how these cultural values can be used to explain their superior achievement.
    [Copyright of Educational Research & Evaluation is the property of Routledge. Full article may be available at the publisher's website: ]
  • Theme issue titled "Achievements in Mathematics and Science in an International Context."
    • English
  • Journal Articles
    • 13803611
  • 2010-09-06

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