What's the Asian Secret?
all racial groups, it seems as though Asians are making the most impressive
gains in academic achievement. What's their secret?
You may be right. According to the
College Board, over the last 10 years Asian students have made the most
improvement on the SAT college admissions tests, compared to other races. While
all groups gained at least a few points from 1995 to 2005, the gap between
Asians and all other groups grew: Asians improved 44 points over the decade,
whites 22, African-Americans 10, and Mexican-Americans 5.
This trend has been ongoing for
decades. Observers point to the success of immigrants from southeast Asia who
came here after the Vietnam War. Although they were mostly impoverished and the
parents were non-English speaking, the students excelled in the urban schools,
and strikingly so.
What's the secret? According to
observations, and bona fide research, these factors are more common among Asian
families than among others, especially African-American and Latino families:
1. High expectations by parents of
good grades earned by their children.
2. The students associate with peers
who value high grades in school.
3. The student attributes high
grades to hard work rather than to aptitude.
4. The family is convinced that
doing poorly in school will harm the student's chances in life.
5. Family dinners are held almost
every evening at which daily events are discussed, and family cohesiveness is
6. Siblings helping siblings with school
7. It's an intact family with an
employed father who is involved with the children's lives, respects their
mother, and participates regularly in doing domestic chores.
What's truly exciting about these
factors is that any family can adopt them, regardless of race or income level.
No child ever should be "left behind" - as long as the family runs itself
right. Public policy ought to be pointed toward helping families do just that.
More than just "the Asian way," you
could call these factors "the all-American way."