Date of Award

Summer 2006

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


This examination of Chinese middle school students notes cultural differences as a major factor in both motivation and academic success from their counterparts in America. The uniformity of national curriculum and classroom decorum, partnered with cultural expectations in China, which helps to nurture moral development, promote potential employment, and predicts the likelihood of care for family in the future, are all examined to highlight their effect on students. Confucian philosophy permeates the curriculum and societal attitude towards learning and the added Chinese belief that ability does not affect achievement – hard work does, is diametrically opposed to similar understandings about academic success in America. Surveys were conducted in two middle schools in China, one large urban school and one smaller rural school, for a total of 225 student participants. Classroom observation in two different schools concerned teacher performance and normative behavior in the classes. Sample interviews were also performed for further clarification of the student responses. Conclusions suggest that cultural expectations in the American school system would need to be more closely aligned with the Chinese model before this type of educational method could be implemented.


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