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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mathematics achievement of Chinese, Japanese, and American children: Ten years later

  • Author(s): Stevenson, HW
  • Chen, C
  • Lee, SY
  • et al.

A decade of heightened emphasis in the United States on mathematics and science education has had little influence on academic achievement or parental attitudes. American elementary school children in 1990 lagged behind their Chinese and Japanese peers to as great a degree as they did in 1980. Comparison of the performance of elementary and secondary school students between 1980 and 1990 reveals a decline from first to eleventh grade in the relative position of American students in mathematics. Parental satisfaction with American students' achievement and education remains high and standards remain low. Innate ability continues to be emphasized by Americans as a basis for achievement. American eleventh graders report more indications of stress than do their Chinese and Japanese counterparts.

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