Great news: Shanghai teens destroy U.S. in respected international standardized test

posted at 8:10 pm on December 7, 2010 by Allahpundit

Hey, who’s up for a little civilizational-decline anxiety on a slow Tuesday news night? Why, I haven’t wet myself like this over China since that Chinese professor ad during the campaign!

After reading this, I’m going to have nightmares like Cartman in that “South Park” episode about the Beijing Olympics.

“Wow, I’m kind of stunned, I’m thinking Sputnik,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., who served in President Ronald Reagan’s Department of Education, referring to the groundbreaking Soviet satellite launching. Mr. Finn, who has visited schools all across China, said, “I’ve seen how relentless the Chinese are at accomplishing goals, and if they can do this in Shanghai in 2009, they can do it in 10 cities in 2019, and in 50 cities by 2029.”…

“We have to see this as a wake-up call,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview on Monday…

“This is the first time that we have internationally comparable data on learning outcomes in China,” Mr. Schleicher said. “While that’s important, for me the real significance of these results is that they refute the commonly held hypothesis that China just produces rote learning.”

“Large fractions of these students demonstrate their ability to extrapolate from what they know and apply their knowledge very creatively in novel situations,” he said.

Follow the link for breakdowns of international scoring in science, reading, and math. I won’t spoil the surprise about where the U.S. placed, but here’s a hint: Not second. There are a few caveats about the results, though. Duncan says he’s confident that they’re accurate and reliable, but the Times notes that the Chinese could be gaming them by letting gifted migrant students reside in the city instead of going home and by motivating them to study with nationalist appeals about how important the results would be to China’s international standing. Which sets up this immortal line from a U.S. education wonk: “Can you imagine the reaction if we told the students of Chicago that the PISA was an important international test and that America’s reputation depended on them performing well?” Yeah, imagine.

Worth noting: The spread between Shanghai and the second-place country in each category is conspicuously larger than it is between second place and third place and so on, so there is reason to be at least a bit suspicious, especially since we know how desperate China can get in international competitions. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s near the top of the board in almost every category but, again, not nearly as high as Shanghai. If the Chinese were going to cheat, wouldn’t they cheat across the board?

Exit question: Assuming no cheating, what’s the real explanation for the results? Better teacher training and more hours devoted to study instead of extracurriculars? Or the ever-present possibility that if you flunk a test designed to enhance Chinese prestige, the punishment awaiting you might be a tad more draconian than detention?


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ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Exactly. I can’t remember who it was who said during the Cold War that our fear of the Soviet Union’s technological abilities was overblown since this was a country who could send monkeys into outer space, but where people didn’t even own toasters.

Buy Danish on December 7, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Quite honestly, if the future is Chinese rather than Muslim I won’t mind at all. I know you Judeo-Christians think you have some divine right to own the future, but it’s not true.

Fortunata on December 7, 2010 at 9:10 PM

What a load of drivel. If you think that China’s government is some benign entity, you are sadly mistaken. They may not be as bad as the Islamic Fundies, but if not, they’re right there beside them, batting a close second.

I for one, do NOT “welcome our new Chinese overlords.” (Sorry, Allah. I just don’t.)

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:34 PM

FACT:

1. The Chinese have more students in advanced placement classes then we have students, period!

2. Chinese students, from the time they are in first grade, are identified for their strengths and then they compete for the best schools, right through college. Failure is not an option!

3. Chinese students’ parents’ are involved up to their eyeballs.

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on December 7, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Right. And if there’s free movement of people, how many of those bright students will want to bolt to an overseas location out of the society at the first opportunity?

I don’t care how well Chinese students do on standardized tests. If the society in which they live continues to be stifling, it won’t matter how brilliant their 3rd graders are.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:34 PM

How about they have a pool of a billion people as an explanation.

rob verdi on December 7, 2010 at 9:37 PM

On the other hand, Hong Kong’s near the top of the board in almost every category but, again, not nearly as high as Shanghai. If the Chinese were going to cheat, wouldn’t they cheat across the board?

I have a lot of respect for the HK student, but they are not the same as a student in Shanghai, and I don’t think Beijing has the clout to errr… rig the results in HK (a fairly open, free society).

Heck, even within HK, many students feel as though their employers (future) always compare them to mainland students and use mainland excellence to justify lower wages for HKers.

MeatHeadinCA on December 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Everybody knows Asians are better at taking tests.

KSgop on December 7, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Just a few tidbits on China and Education. Interesting stuff.

One big thing they do have…focus.

coldwarrior on December 7, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Not to worry folks; it’s not too late to turn this thing around.

All we’ve got to do is airdrop a quarter-billion or so Wii, X-Box, and Playstation consoles over mainland China.

What? We’d have to buy them overseas, and borrow the money from WHO???

Well, I’m shocked, I tell you.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:47 PM

One big thing they do have…focus.

coldwarrior on December 7, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Focus on what, though?

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:49 PM

Everybody knows Asians are better at taking tests.

KSgop on December 7, 2010 at 9:41 PM

Especially the ones who study hard and know more shit than their counterparts here.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:49 PM

What causes civilizations to decline via Victor Davis Hanson. There are real warnings here, but wringing our hands over standardized test results is not among them.

Buy Danish on December 7, 2010 at 9:50 PM

I refuse to believe the Chinese would game the system.

/s

WitchDoctor on December 7, 2010 at 9:50 PM

All we’ve got to do is airdrop a quarter-billion or so Wii, X-Box, and Playstation consoles over mainland China.

What? We’d have to buy them overseas, and borrow the money from WHO???

Well, I’m shocked, I tell you.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:47 PM

So why aren’t more Chinese buying all this stuff now? Are they abstaining from such amusements because they distract from the serious business of education, or because relatively more people here can afford them?

Once China becomes as much a “consumer society” as this is, and that time is coming, they’ll face the same problems.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:52 PM

Exit question: Assuming no cheating, what’s the real explanation for the results?

Well, we have an enormous permanent underclass that associates learning with “acting white,” a culturally eroding middle class (what’s the percentage of kids born out of wedlock these days?), and a right wing that, bizarrely, seems to have embraced anti-intellectualism as a way of sticking it to the “elites.” And don’t even get me started about the teachers’ unions.

Infidoll on December 7, 2010 at 9:53 PM

The Singapore mathematics curriculum is world famous. Many US homeschoolers use it, but the US educational oligarchy doesn’t seem interested. A boy transferred to my daughters school from Singapore and was years ahead of his fellow American students and had a much, much firmer grasp of the fundamentals of mathematics.

Viator on December 7, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Chinese Construct Hotel In 48 Hours

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX_z6Mx6cH0

Viator on December 7, 2010 at 9:59 PM

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Drivel yourself, hon. I don’t welcome them, I just don’t think complacency, as exemplified by the smug West deserves to win . Or that it will. As long as it’s not the utterly wanky Muslims, I don’t really care.

Fortunata on December 7, 2010 at 10:00 PM

$14,000 per student per year in DC…Let that roll off yer tongue…Fourteen Thouuussaannndd…

BigWyo on December 7, 2010 at 10:02 PM

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Better yet, let’s teach them that doing well in school is ‘acting white’.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 10:07 PM

And all the members of the Chinese Olympic gymnastics team are over 15. Uh huh.

Ronnie on December 7, 2010 at 10:07 PM

BigWyo on December 7, 2010 at 10:02 PM

The average annual salary for the DC and local (Northern Virginia and Maryland) school superintendents in 2008 was about $350k. Probably has gone up a bit.

That $14k per kid certainly doesn’t do a damn thing to educate the kids who are forced to endure a broken school system.

coldwarrior on December 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Once China becomes as much a “consumer society” as this is, and that time is coming, they’ll face the same problems.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:52 PM

Not necessarily. Undoubtedly, they’ll face problems; however, I do doubt that most of them will even be remotely similar to the ones we’re facing now.

Drivel yourself, hon. I don’t welcome them, I just don’t think complacency, as exemplified by the smug West deserves to win . Or that it will. As long as it’s not the utterly wanky Muslims, I don’t really care.

Fortunata on December 7, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Perhaps you should. The Chinese culture devalues females almost as blatantly as Islam, just to name one reason.

To each their own; if you see nothing wrong with a culture that turns a blind eye to infanticide concerning female offspring, then I doubt that I can say anything that would matter to you about this subject.

What is it about the West that grates your cheese so thoroughly?

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Better yet, let’s teach them that doing well in school is ‘acting white’.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Considering the state of our schools, I don’t think they’d ever believe it.

RightOFLeft on December 7, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Hurrah for Finland, the West’s highest scorer in all three categories!

Tzetzes on December 7, 2010 at 10:19 PM

For anyone looking for a sample of the PISA test these 15 yr olds take, here it is.

Also, check out the TIMSS test (international test) kids take in 4th and 8th grade.

I suspect most of you would not score as high as you think you would on a 3rd – 4th grade test. It’s a test 8 -9 year olds take…how hard could it be, right? You, however, are a product of the American education system. So give it a try and report back here how well you did.

I’ll start – I scored an 88% on the 3rd-4th grade test…and I have my MBA. 8 year olds in China are smarter than me.

ramrants on December 7, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Actually its pretty simple for those who follow this stuff: There is a persistent ethnic test-score gap between Asians, Jews, Whites, Non-white Hispanics and Blacks.

Asians and Jews on average score the highest, followed by Whites, followed by Hispanics, followed by Blacks.

I know I know! racist, etc. They’ve been trying to make non-bogus tests that eliminate this gap, having spent billions on it, no progress has been made on it.

You can stop fretting about national decline now.

K thx

flawedskull on December 7, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Chinese women top the worldwide list of female self-made billionaires…one made her several billion dollar fortune taking used paper from the US and turning it into packaging material.

As the war lord Chung Me said in “Volunteers,” “Money is Money.”

coldwarrior on December 7, 2010 at 10:22 PM

we just need to increase the budget of the department of education!!!! yeah its done SO much for education in the last 30 years….

and yes Obama really cares about you…..

right4life on December 7, 2010 at 10:28 PM

My ex came from Shanghai, and her daughter went to Jr. and Sr High in some well-rated schools in NYC and NC.

Shanghai is a closed city. People can visit and work — on construction, for instance — but they need a residency permit to live there, which is very hard to get. Shanghai people place extraordinary value on education. They load down the students with massive amounts of homework, and the school systems are competitive. The daughter went to one of the higher-rated Shanghai schools, which are mainly private, but offer scholarships to very good students. There are Internet pages where parents who have some financial crisis ask for donations so their kids can continue to attend their school of choice. The best teachers are like minor rock stars. There really isn’t any secret to it, just hard work, respect, and high expectations.

My ex’s daughter was far advanced over her peers here in math and science, so yeah, I can believe it.

Aardvark on December 7, 2010 at 10:31 PM

That comes as no surprise…and neither do the deluded flag-waving wingnuts who think Americans will never ever be outdone by those evil godless commies.

Take off your ostrich bonnets, take an honest look at the discrepancies that already exist, and read a freaking history book. How many empires were #1 forever? That’s right, NONE OF THEM.

Dark-Star on December 7, 2010 at 10:37 PM

ramrants on December 7, 2010 at 10:20 PM

100%

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 10:38 PM

In defense of US students the test probably had questions about things you have to find out from sources other than reality TV. Some of it might even have to be found in books!

Obviously the test was biased.

Benaiah on December 7, 2010 at 10:43 PM

100%

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 10:38 PM

I stand corrected. hillbillyjim and 8 year old Chinese kids are smarter than me. =) Did you take the 8th grade test?

Actually, upon further review of the test and my answers, I noticed that two of the questions, I didn’t read it clearly (A problem I have had since I was a kid). So really, I only missed one. But still….

ramrants on December 7, 2010 at 10:45 PM

The Chinese culture devalues females almost as blatantly as Islam, just to name one reason.
hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Unlike Islam, I don’t see that it has religious sanction. So I think the Chinese will change as soon as they see it’s in their interests to do so. Unlike the Muslims, Catholics etc. I love the West in its libertarian mode, I just don’t think it argues its case strongly enough.

Fortunata on December 7, 2010 at 10:47 PM

I haven’t read any of the comments yet (I will) do the Chinese drug their kids?

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Lets just keep teaching our kids the important stuff. Like how to put a rubber on a banana, why johnny has two mommies, and how every other culture in the world is better than we are because they use less carbon per person.

Meanwhile let the Chinese and Indians teach math, chemistry and physics.

Our kids will continue to feel better and that’s what really matters isn’t it?

jpmn on December 7, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Better teacher training and more hours devoted to study instead of extracurriculars?

Thats part of it. I could explain it, but its easier to check out the documentary 2 million minutes. Search Youtube.

http://www.2mminutes.com/about.asp

The other part is ineffective educators and cultural problems. The US is ranked 3rd in spending per pupil, but our graduation rate is 21st out of 27 industrialized countries.

Logboy on December 7, 2010 at 11:01 PM

I don’t know. I saw a couple of sample questions from the test earlier today, and frankly, they were asinine. The sample math question was literally a simple division problem — something I could have done in 4th grade. They were using those questions to test 15-year-olds?

Things may be even worse than they appear. I’m not surprised the Chinese kids wiped the floor with the math test — what’s amazing is that anyone who’s 15 didn’t.

J.E. Dyer on December 7, 2010 at 11:06 PM

We were in Shanghai in September visiting a dear friend. The children in Shanghai who are in Junior High and High school go to school 6 days a week from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

The same goes for the children in Jiangxi. Our hotel in Nanchang overlooked a middle school. They started school before the sun came up and then school ended after the sun went down.

Education is the most important thing to families who we spoke with both in Shanghai and Jiangxi.

This would explain why their numbers are so much higher.

Willow on December 7, 2010 at 11:13 PM

We spend far too much time on diversity, peace love and Bobby Sherman

Kermit on December 7, 2010 at 11:22 PM

The American Education system has become increasingly dependent on the college system.

This is why you often have to have a bachelor degree to get hired for grub work.

The solution is simple. Break the teacher’s union. The NEA must die.

Sackett on December 7, 2010 at 11:22 PM

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article7026343.ece

Primary school maths teachers are failing to attain the standard of arithmetic expected of 11-year-olds, new research has claimed.

Only 20% of the teachers tested for a Channel 4 television documentary were able to work out that the solution to 4+2×5 is 14, not 30 — multiplication takes priority over addition.

bayview on December 7, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Did you take the 8th grade test?

I went for the 12th grade one. :>(

64%.

Wow. I didn’t even recognize a couple of those symbols.

Makes me feel OOOOOOLD.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 11:26 PM

So they are better at Maths and Sciences and all sort of other school works, but can they out-rap us?

bayview on December 7, 2010 at 11:26 PM

So, what’s the future economy going to be built on? Probably computers. Seems reasonably likely in any case.

What field best relates to ability to do computer programming? Mathematics.

Which category did we get well below the average score? Math.

Yeah… that doesn’t bode well.

** Disclaimer: I majored in Math & Computer Science, so I may be overly focused here.

gekkobear on December 7, 2010 at 11:27 PM

Unlike Islam, I don’t see that it has religious sanction. So I think the Chinese will change as soon as they see it’s in their interests to do so. Unlike the Muslims, Catholics etc. I love the West in its libertarian mode, I just don’t think it argues its case strongly enough.

Fortunata on December 7, 2010 at 10:47 PM

On the other hand, there’s that pesky 5000+ years of ingrained Chinese tradition thingy to contend with…

Capitalism is definitely altering the Chinese culture; but the end result cannot be predicted with any certainty, especially when you factor in the centuries of tradition and the inscrutable nature of the culture taken as a whole.

To lump Muslims in with Catholics is just wrong on several levels.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 11:36 PM

What it does do is give the lie to the constant whines of “we don’t have the proper funding and other resources”. Look at the equipment and setup of your typical Chinese classroom.

Once China becomes as much a “consumer society” as this is, and that time is coming, they’ll face the same problems.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:52 PM

Not necessarily. Undoubtedly, they’ll face problems; however, I do doubt that most of them will even be remotely similar to the ones we’re facing now.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Sure they will. They’re not immune. Another problem though is that I think China may reach critical mass at which its sheer size will make it ungovernable.

Unlike Islam, I don’t see that it has religious sanction.

Fortunata on December 7, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Well, sort of. It’s Confucianism, which is much older than Islam.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 11:36 PM

Perhaps you should. The Chinese culture devalues females almost as blatantly as Islam, just to name one reason.

To each their own; if you see nothing wrong with a culture that turns a blind eye to infanticide concerning female offspring, then I doubt that I can say anything that would matter to you about this subject.

What is it about the West that grates your cheese so thoroughly?

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

The Chinese have a manifest destiny thing going. They believe that Asia is theirs, or should be under their domination, and that’s what makes them dangerous.

I cut the Chinese some slack for valuing a son over a daughter. It’s cultural and goes way back. The first son is supposed to take care of his parents in their old age. Girls have no such obligation; a daughter will eventually marry and become a part of her husband’s family. So, with a limitation of one offspring (in the cities, anyway), there’s no second chance. It’s a crisis not to have a son because to many Chinese, no son = no family care in old age.

Aardvark on December 7, 2010 at 11:41 PM

It’s a crisis not to have a son because to many Chinese, no son = no family care in old age.

Aardvark on December 7, 2010 at 11:41 PM

All sons and no daughters though makes for an even bigger crisis. You have to have daughters to have sons.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 11:44 PM

Illegal immigration is a huge part of this.

The Notorious G.O.P on December 7, 2010 at 11:49 PM

All sons and no daughters though makes for an even bigger crisis. You have to have daughters to have sons.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 11:44 PM

Well, sure, on a macro scale.

Aardvark on December 7, 2010 at 11:58 PM

As Al Gore once claimed was sung to him as a kid the answer is:

“Look for the Union Label.”

The socialist NEA runs the skools like it’s the current Irish economy and as the Saturday morning clown used to (almost) say…”That’s a Bono No No.

viking01 on December 8, 2010 at 12:06 AM

So they are better at Maths and Sciences and all sort of other school works, but can they out-rap us?

bayview on December 7, 2010 at 11:26 PM

Good point. You know what else the Chinese kids lack? Self esteem. I would bet dollars to donuts our kids feel much better about themselves than Chinese kids. And that is most important.

ramrants on December 8, 2010 at 12:20 AM

So in the world’s largest country, with a fifth of the world’s population (the vast majority of whom speak the same language and are the same people), in its largest and most advanced city (which is admittedly an education magnet), in a culture known for valuing education (and having a government known for being goal-driven), a people long known for besting native Americans when on American soil got the top spot? Well knock me over with a feather!

calbear on December 8, 2010 at 12:28 AM

Take off your ostrich bonnets, take an honest look at the discrepancies that already exist, and read a freaking history book. How many empires were #1 forever? That’s right, NONE OF THEM.

Dark-Star on December 7, 2010 at 10:37 PM

It’s amazing how different people look at history books. A multicultural, PC-infested person sees only what fits his world view. He chortles in glee when his culture is dragged down because that “proves” that his vision is correct, that his culture is no more exceptional than any other, regardless of how odious the others may be. He looks at himself as belonging to a higher plane, where he might properly sneer down at those who don’t understand the universe as he does. Consciously or unconsciously, such an individual can’t help but contribute to the downfall of his own civilization.

A conservative, on the other hand, is far more inclined to learn the lessons of history. He understands that when a civilization loses its values, it disintegrates.

Aardvark on December 8, 2010 at 12:29 AM

Not to be controversial or anything, but aren’t there different results in the U.S. for different demographic groups? Asians first, whites, then blacks last? And I mention blacks last not to insinuate they’re inferior, or even that it’s due to poverty, poor schools, a racist society, or even parents who don’t care. If you look in the mirror and think, I’m not even going to try to do well at school, because that would be acting white, then, how much of a chance do you have in school? And shouldn’t the phrase to changed to, “acting Asian”?

Paul-Cincy on December 8, 2010 at 12:54 AM

Did anyone notice that the students are wearing winter jackets inside the classroom? Hard work, discipline, and studying has it’s rewards. Kids that don’t show up for class, didn’t read the book,and try to cram half a year of school in one hour of study before the exam shouldn’t be surprised at the results. Responsibility lies with the parents (both of them), students, and the teachers. Why is home schooling so successful? A motivated parent is superior to an educated and unionized teacher more often than not.

Zorgon on December 8, 2010 at 1:08 AM

Here’s another thing that concerns me about China…their 1 kid policy has the potential to be disastrous to them and the rest of the world. Males outnumber females by 35 million. That’s 35 million males that will likely not get married and have a family. And as we know, women and children center men. It starts with their mom telling them to get off the roof because it is dangerous and they are not Superman and cannot fly. It then moves to their wife who won’t let them get a motorcycle because it is dangerous and they need to spend the money on the babies room baby proofing everything.

So that will be 35 million men, who are drawn to danger, with nothing to center them. Why they might decide to start a war or something…because blowing up stuff is cool.

Dangerous.

ramrants on December 8, 2010 at 1:09 AM

Something which could improve matters is having teachers major in the subject they teach instead of a nebulous “education” degree. Of course, that is much like how law requires law school degrees where once upon a time people could study, clerk then pass the bar exam. Both fields have become infected by degree requirements set in place mostly to perpetuate those schools and politically and economically filter those entering the professions rather than encouraging the pursuit of excellence. Though, as others have already said good parenting goes a long way toward gainful education and excellence in everything else.

viking01 on December 8, 2010 at 1:21 AM

ramrants on December 8, 2010 at 12:20 AM

Well, I bet our kids know more about how cool it is to have gay parents, fisting, and posting naked pictures of themselves than those nerdy foreign kids.
Go America!

austinnelly on December 8, 2010 at 2:08 AM

No cell phones. No interruptions. I guess.

Electrongod on December 7, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Mobile phones are as common in Shanghai as they are in the US.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Right now they come to the US and do their work here. But more and more of them are returning or staying. So the switch over will be very fast when it happens. Good luck to our kids who will face that and all the debt we are leaving them.

pedestrian on December 7, 2010 at 8:28 PM

That’s exactly right. I know many Chinese that have worked in the US, had resident visas and decided to return to China permanently.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:13 AM

I contend that the lack of inventiveness/creativity/initiative is cultural and spiritual. You’re taking the Judeo-Christian work ethic and creative spark for granted. The Chinese students may bring home a product which can be efficiently mass-produced or a process which can be repeated by rote, but that’s all.
Could China every catch up to the U.S.? Maybe. If China experienced a mass conversion to Christianity and then a hundred years went by for the old ways to die off, anything would be possible.

Splashman on December 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM

How do you explain the basket case that is Mexico then? Don’t they have a higher percentage of Christians in the population than the US?

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:15 AM

No. They get the same skills out of a quality education that any race does. You’re talking about a people that have a tremendous legacy of discovery in every academic discipline. It may be comforting to imagine some deficiency in their abilities, but there’s just no basis for it.

RightOFLeft on December 7, 2010 at 8:56 PM

+1000

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:15 AM

Right. And if there’s free movement of people, how many of those bright students will want to bolt to an overseas location out of the society at the first opportunity?

I don’t care how well Chinese students do on standardized tests. If the society in which they live continues to be stifling, it won’t matter how brilliant their 3rd graders are.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:34 PM

See my response to pedestrian at 3:13 AM. Many Chinese are now returning to China from overseas and the pace is increasing.

My son goes to an international high school here in Shanghai. The majority of the students are children of Chinese returnees. I also work with a large number of them.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:19 AM

So why aren’t more Chinese buying all this stuff now? Are they abstaining from such amusements because they distract from the serious business of education, or because relatively more people here can afford them?

Once China becomes as much a “consumer society” as this is, and that time is coming, they’ll face the same problems.

ddrintn on December 7, 2010 at 9:52 PM

A combination of factors. First game consoles, though easy to find for sale, are technically illegal here (apparently because the government thinks they’re a distraction of school work). This means they’re not localized into Simplified Chinese.

Secondly, they are a bit expensive for the average Chinese family, and third most Chinese parents wouldn’t want to buy them because they distract from studies.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:30 AM

We were in Shanghai in September visiting a dear friend. The children in Shanghai who are in Junior High and High school go to school 6 days a week from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Willow on December 7, 2010 at 11:13 PM

Not normally for most students. The streets of Shanghai full of students by 4:30 ~ 5:00 PM.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 3:34 AM

Do they have the massive emphasis on sports that we do in school? We often didn’t have enough textbooks to go around at my highschool, but we sure as heck had the nicest football field around and shiny new equipment every other year.
And don’t get me started on the idiocy of sports scholarships…

Grayson on December 8, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Maybe we should send the U.S. Dept. of Education and the NEA to China… even the great Chinese cannot withstand the stupidity of these 2 organizations.

I’d bet Shanghai would mirror some US cities < 5 years…

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,344190,00.html

Looking at the link above… I'm surprised that we did that well..

Danny on December 8, 2010 at 5:46 AM

Before lapsing into total panic-panic-run-about-scream-and-shout mode, let’s make sure it wasn’t a selected elite of Chinese students vs. a true cross-section of Western students. I remember a similar story a few years back involving Korea. The story related how the Korean students who were to take the test were applauded by their classmates as they left. In other words, only a select few participated. I wouldn’t put it past China to stack the deck a bit for prestige purposes. Remember the scandal involving those underage female Olympic gymnasts a few years back.

kd6rxl on December 8, 2010 at 5:52 AM

Before lapsing into total panic-panic-run-about-scream-and-shout mode, let’s make sure it wasn’t a selected elite of Chinese students vs. a true cross-section of Western students.

kd6rxl on December 8, 2010 at 5:52 AM

If you find the results at all suspicious I guess you haven’t been much exposed to both groups.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 6:06 AM

In all fairness, when our kids underachieve, they aren’t taken out behind the PE shed and shot or sent to China’s Mines Of Death, so, those Chinese kids had a lot more incentive to do well…

SuperCool on December 8, 2010 at 6:39 AM

In all fairness, when our kids underachieve, they aren’t taken out behind the PE shed and shot or sent to China’s Mines Of Death, so, those Chinese kids had a lot more incentive to do well…

SuperCool on December 8, 2010 at 6:39 AM

I bet you a lot more kids get shot in the US than in China.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 6:42 AM

This is not at all surprising given the Left’s tireless and dedicated efforts over the past six or seven decades to ensure that the US public school system should be as backward and mediocre as possible.

This is not a racial matter at all, and is only partially a cultural one. Those are both red herrings. It is due primarily to the literal sabotage of our educational institutions over decades by hardcore leftists who want to see this country torn down and rebuilt in their own deranged image.

Cylor on December 8, 2010 at 6:52 AM

“We have to see this as a wake-up call,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview on Monday…

There should be no surprise, since our drop out rate has escalated, and it is obvious our education system has been falling behind each year for the past 40 years.
However, you can never trust a communists test results, never trust what a communist tries to promote. China has a billion people, out of the billion they test the best of the kids, and they come up with what they want.
If you did an average height, they would find the tallest, if you studied the fastest runners, they would have the fastest in the world.
Nothing out of a state controlled system can you trust…

right2bright on December 8, 2010 at 7:20 AM

This idea that OMIGOD China is going to overtake us already is ridiculous. Chinese students are good on standardized tests because that is how they learn in school… just memorizing and spitting information back to the teacher. However, that is basically all they know how to do.. spit information back to the teacher. They cannot critically analyze problems, use the information in a real world context, and write an effective memo or give an effective presenation.

I’m in an MBA program and there are many students from China and Taiwan in the program (about a third?). Plus there is a one-year MSF program that is almost all Chinese and Taiwanese students. And none of them are anything to write home about. They absolutely never participate in class. Not to mention the fact that they cannot give an effective formal presentation.. (Some of this is language barrier; however, the rest is that it just wasn’t emphasized in school in China). They’re basically there because they did well on one standardized test (the godawful GMATs… it makes the SATs look like a picnic in the park); however, that test overstated their abilities. I know that admissions is actually trying to expand its selection criteria and emphasize things in addition to the GMATs (like effective communication) for future classes.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 7:24 AM

Don’t know if it’s been said, but keep in mind that many countries only tend to give their standardized testing to students in an academic “tier” oriented towards higher education, while Americans give them to students across the board, from valedictorians to imminent dropouts.

Sekhmet on December 8, 2010 at 7:39 AM

This idea that OMIGOD China is going to overtake us already is ridiculous. Chinese students are good on standardized tests because that is how they learn in school… just memorizing and spitting information back to the teacher.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 7:24 AM

Apparently American students aren’t even capable of that anymore.

It may be comforting to believe that Chinese are incapable of innovation and effective team work, but having worked in China managing engineering teams for the last 5 years I can tell you that’s just not the case.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 7:40 AM

Apparently American students aren’t even capable of that anymore.

It may be comforting to believe that Chinese are incapable of innovation and effective team work, but having worked in China managing engineering teams for the last 5 years I can tell you that’s just not the case.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 7:40 AM

Umm.. because creativity and effective teamwork is more emphasized in the U.S. than in China. Who exactly cares that Chinese students are better at filling in scantron sheets? These sorts of skills don’t help people out in the workplace.

Also, I know for a fact that Chinese and Taiwanese students don’t understand critical thinking, effective communication, or effective team work. I go to school with a whole bunch of Chinese students who cannot do these things. The domestic students actually avoid working with the Chinese students in groups because of the above factors.

But of course they’re “smarter” than me because they scored over 700 on the GMATs and I only scored 680. (That’s amusing because I outperform them on a regular basis in real classes… but whatever).

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Also, I know for a fact that Chinese and Taiwanese students don’t understand critical thinking, effective communication, or effective team work. I go to school with a whole bunch of Chinese students who cannot do these things. The domestic students actually avoid working with the Chinese students in groups because of the above factors.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Your facts are wrong. As I said above, I’ve been managing teams of engineers here in China for the last 5 years. They have no problem with critical thinking or effective team work. These are absolute requirements in the work we do.

Their English communication skills are not always great, true, but in Chinese they do just fine.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 7:59 AM

List of Chinese inventions

While it is Wikipedia, sources for each are provided.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Your facts are wrong. As I said above, I’ve been managing teams of engineers here in China for the last 5 years. They have no problem with critical thinking or effective team work. These are absolute requirements in the work we do.

Their English communication skills are not always great, true, but in Chinese they do just fine.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 7:59 AM

And I could say the same for your facts as well. I’ve attended school with Chinese and Taiwanese students for 18 months and have encountered this numerous times in the program. None of the domestic students want to work with them on group projects, because they generally bring nothing to the table. The other group members generally end up redoing their portions of projects for them. They’re great at memorizing and spitting back whatever “Professor said..”, but other aspects of learning that require other skills.. not so much.

(And yes, whenever talking about school, they start sentences with Professor said…. One of my friends works in Career Services as a grad assistant and when he does mock interviews, they will start out sentences with Professor said even in interviews. This is something that is unique to China and Taiwan. Most of the students from other Asian countries don’t do this).

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 8:37 AM

I wonder what effect the one-child policy has on scores.

Count to 10 on December 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM

I wonder what effect the one-child policy has on scores.

Count to 10 on December 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Chinese parents are able to apply all of their resources to the one child, which should help. Though, homes that have multiple siblings enable the younger ones get a head start by learning from the older kids. I’d guess one child is a small net plus, though 2-3 might be optimal.

Without government restrictions, it is interesting that child-bearing decreases in cultures as education and wealth increases.

dedalus on December 8, 2010 at 8:54 AM

And I could say the same for your facts as well. I’ve attended school with Chinese and Taiwanese students for 18 months and have encountered this numerous times in the program. None of the domestic students want to work with them on group projects, because they generally bring nothing to the table.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Your 18 months in an American school with a few Chinese doesn’t quite stack up against my 5 years experience managing hundreds of Chinese engineers in China, doing real-world work to deliver products.

I also conduct real interviews with new Chinese grads frequently (almost daily). I’ve never heard the ‘Professor said…’ thing once.

I imagine a lot of what you observe is due to linguistic issues as well as cross-cultural communications issues limiting effective teamwork.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 8:56 AM

I wonder what effect the one-child policy has on scores.

Count to 10 on December 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM

This probably helps some.

My sense is that the gap is simply the predictable result of a culture that overall places more value on education that Americans do on average.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 9:01 AM

I also conduct real interviews with new Chinese grads frequently (almost daily). I’ve never heard the ‘Professor said…’ thing once.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Your experience is consistent with what I’ve seen. I’d only add that, for those who contend there is a gap in creative thinking, the Chinese have been coming on strong for the past 20 years.

If the US can’t advance technically, then the creativity will eventually cease to be economically significant.

dedalus on December 8, 2010 at 9:06 AM

I imagine a lot of what you observe is due to linguistic issues as well as cross-cultural communications issues limiting effective teamwork.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 8:56 AM

I agree. My college had many foreign students from Asia and the ME and I found no lacking in creative skills, just the linguisitc issues. The language barrier was what hurt effective teamwork, not their (non)ability to think critically.

ladyingray on December 8, 2010 at 9:18 AM

We can fix our education system.

Translation:

We can de-certify teachers’ unions.

Akzed on December 8, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Yeah, but how many Chinese schools have gotten on board with Rachel’s Challenge? I mean, what’s more important than ending bullying, and making cool paper chains?

/

Ward Cleaver on December 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM

One of the big problems I see in American Public Ed is that parents are too often an impediment to learning as well. How many parents send their kids to school with an Iphone? Its just like Rocky III we have become complacent, fat and lazy they are hungry, hardworking and determined just like Mr T!

snoopicus on December 8, 2010 at 9:32 AM

These standards are bogus. Everyone knows is you use the correct standards to compare countries the US runs away with teh smart title!

Science Reading and Math…pffftttt. Political Science and African American Lesbian Latino Womyns Studies is where the future is! And where America pwns the world!

MNHawk on December 8, 2010 at 9:34 AM

We can fix our education system.

Translation:

We can de-certify teachers’ unions.

Akzed on December 8, 2010 at 9:21 AM

A kid that won’t do homework and a parent that refuses to discipline their child is not a proble rooted in teachers unions. They unnecessarily drive up costs, but they only marginally effect learning. The rules that drive most people crazy are systemic at the board level, not union calls.

snoopicus on December 8, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Science Reading and Math…pffftttt. Political Science and African American Lesbian Latino Womyns Studies is where the future is! And where America pwns the world!

MNHawk on December 8, 2010 at 9:34 AM

+100000000 points

snoopicus on December 8, 2010 at 9:35 AM

My ex is from Shanghai.

The competition is so fierce in education, that if you’re not at the top of your class in elementary school, there’s not going to be a future for you. Colleges have limited number of spots. My ex was one of those ADD kids who couldn’t even pay attention in school, and he was doing poorly enough that his parents brought him to the U.S. because they knew he had no future there.

CambellBrown on December 8, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Gee….not the Jewz??

I guess they wouldnt seem a threat, …naw
that can’t be it

Observation on December 8, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Heard one Alaskan native put it this way:

“Take two teams of dogs – one is all huskies, one is a bunch of mutts. See what happens when you race them. The mongrel team might have some very strong and tough dogs, might be in front for awhile. But in the long run, the strength of one kind will always win. So until we quit trying to race everything with four legs…we are doomed to lose.”

Dark-Star on December 8, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Your 18 months in an American school with a few Chinese doesn’t quite stack up against my 5 years experience managing hundreds of Chinese engineers in China, doing real-world work to deliver products.

And the American expatriate is the manager… Shouldn’t that tell you something about what is going on here?? If China was the be all and end all, then the Chinese engineers should be working for a firm run by Chinese executives.. now shouldn’t they? The Chinese are great on technical skills, but I don’t think that they’re going to be creating the next Internet anytime soon.

I also conduct real interviews with new Chinese grads frequently (almost daily). I’ve never heard the ‘Professor said…’ thing once.

Well my daily interaction tends to disprove this. Although I’m glad you don’t because it is obnoxious as hell.

I imagine a lot of what you observe is due to linguistic issues as well as cross-cultural communications issues limiting effective teamwork.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 8:56 AM

I don’t think that linguistic and cultural differences preclude people from getting work done by the deadline. Or making meaningful comments during a class/ group meetings. Or knowing that you shouldn’t just copy out of Wikipedia. Frankly, I’m thinking that it has nothing to do with “cross cultural issues” and everything to do with the Chinese education system. I don’t think it prepares students for graduate school, which focuses more on soft skills than on the ability to recite memorized formulas. If it did, then the oh so awesome Chinese students who did so much better on the English standardized GMAT test than I did would be eating me for lunch.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2010 at 9:57 AM

But in the long run, the strength of one kind will always win. So until we quit trying to race everything with four legs…we are doomed to lose.”

Dark-Star on December 8, 2010 at 9:49 AM

You’re not under the impression that China is an ethnically homogeneous nation are you?

Even the ‘Han’ majority are really a collection of different cultural groups.

DarkCurrent on December 8, 2010 at 10:01 AM

That’s because US kids are to busy being indoctrinated instead of educated. Global warming, self esteem, anti-Americanism, anti-Christianity, the whole magilla.

abcurtis on December 8, 2010 at 10:02 AM

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