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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mathematics Achievement of Children in China and the United States

  • Author(s): Stevenson, HW
  • Lee, S
  • Chen, C
  • Lummis, M
  • Stigler, J
  • Fan, L
  • Ge, F
  • et al.

First and fifth graders in Beijing and Chicago were given a battery of mathematics tests. Whether tested with problems requiring solely computation or with ones requiring application of knowledge about mathematics, American children's performance was consistently inferior to that of Chinese children. Interviews with American children suggested that they like mathematics, believe they are doing well in mathematics, and do not perceive mathematics as a difficult subject. American children's poor performance appears to be attributable, in part, to low motivation for devoting more attention to mathematics. Low standards held by American parents for academic achievement and lower interest in teaching mathematics by American teachers appear to contribute to American children's poor performance. Copyright © 1990, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

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