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Why attend school? Chinese immigrant and European American preschoolers' views and outcomes.

Authors
  • Li, Jin
  • Yamamoto, Yoko
  • Luo, Lily
  • Batchelor, Andrea K
  • Bresnahan, Richard M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental psychology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2010
Volume
46
Issue
6
Pages
1637–1650
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/a0019926
PMID: 20677861
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The developing views of the purposes of school learning (PSLs) and related achievement among immigrant Chinese preschoolers and their European American (EA) age-mates were examined. Both culture and socioeconomic status (SES) were considered simultaneously, an often neglected research approach to studying Asian children. One hundred and fifty 4-year-olds-50 each of middle-class Chinese (CHM), low-income Chinese (CHL), and EA children-completed 2 story beginnings about school and were also tested for their language and math achievement. Results showed that 4-year-olds held sophisticated PSLs, ranging from intellectual to social and affect benefits. Large cultural and SES differences also emerged. CHM children mentioned more adult expectation and seriousness of learning than EA children who expressed more positive affect for self and compliance with adults. CHL children mentioned fewest PSLs. Achievement scores for oral expression of both immigrant groups were significantly lower than those of EA children despite similar reading and math achievement. Controlling for culture and SES, the authors found that children's articulated intellectual, but not other purposes, uniquely predicted their achievement in all tested domains. Cultural and SES influences on immigrant children are discussed.

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