6 - EducationASA3Fall2009

6 - EducationASA3Fall2009 - Asian American Studies 3...

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Unformatted text preview: Asian American Studies 3 Psychosocial Perspectives of Asian Americans The The Numbers Game By Feifei Sun/Jenkins High School The The numbers don't lie. Studies show that Asians consistently perform better than all other ethnic/racial groups, including whites, on the math portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Since 1990, the average math score rose by 19 points for Asian Americans, while it rose by only 15 points for whites. "The greater increase in math scores on the part of Asian-American students is believed to be due to Asianthe greater increase in numbers of Asian Americans taking more challenging courses in mathematics and science in high schools throughout the nation," said Judith Wilburn, college counselor at St. Andrew's School. However, the flip side of the equation is not so positive. The national average verbal score, 505, has remained the same over the past two years. For Asian Americans, the average verbal score has consistently remained at 490. This sometimes poses a major problem because some Asian Americans are not scoring high enough on the verbal portion of the SAT to meet the requirements for college entrance. "Verbal SAT scores tend to correlate with socio-economic status and level of education of parents, suggesting that the sociostudents' verbal abilities are affected by factors such as vocabulary heard in the household and exposure to literature at home," Wilburn said. "Obviously, second -generation Asian students, whose parents do not speak English as their native language, have had a more limited exposure to breadth of English vocabulary throughout their childhood." Camille DeLucia, head guidance counselor at Jenkins High School, adds another perspective. She said sometimes Asians have the advantage because "they learned the language correctly," instead of picking up jargon and slang from conversation and media. Another factor that has been shown to correlate with verbal scores is intensive study of Latin or a romance language. The question arises whether Asian students are as likely to be enrolled in courses such as AP English Language and AP English Literature as they are to be in advanced math and science courses. Thomas Lin, a senior at Savannah Country Day School, is familiar with this problem. While he scored a 720 on the math portion of the SAT, he only managed a 520 on the verbal portion. "Yes, I am bothered by this," said Lin, who read much more and worked with an SAT tutor for English to help improve his scores. Though disappointed, Lin is satisfied enough with his overall score that he does not plan on taking the SAT again. What can students of any race/ethnicity do to improve their verbal SAT scores? "Read!" said DeLucia. "(Reading) introduces students to new vocabulary." 1 2005 SAT Reasoning Test Takers Verbal Who Described Themselves As: M American Indian or Alaskan Native Asian American/Pacific Islander African American or Black Mexican or Mexican American Puerto Rican Latin/South/Central/Other Hisp White Other 492 512 432 461 466 471 535 497 F 486 509 434 447 455 457 528 493 Total 489 511 433 453 460 463 532 495 M 510 595 442 483 476 490 554 534 F 479 566 424 447 443 453 520 497 Total 493 580 431 463 457 469 536 513 Math UC UC Davis Students 2007 Theories of AA Achievements n Genetic: Asians are genetically superior in intelligence--Lynn; intelligence--Lynn; Rushton; Jensen Cultural: Asian cultural values and socialization practices encourage educational achievements -achievements-Liu Relative Functionalism: Asian Americans find educational achievements provide mobility --Sue mobility--Sue and Okazaki n n 2 Richard Lynn Arthur Jensen J. Philippe Rushton 3 Rushton & Jensen n East Asians score higher on IQ tests than do Whites, both within the U.S. and in Asia, even though IQ tests were developed for use in the Euro-American culture. Around Eurothe world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; that for Whites, about 100; and that for Blacks, about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa. subBlack and the White three-year-old children in the three-yearstandardization sample of the Stanford -Binet IV show a one Stanfordstandard deviation mean difference after being matched on gender, birth order, and maternal education. n Rushton & Jensen Many Many critics claim that Western -developed IQ tests are not Westernvalid for groups as culturally different as sub-Saharan subAfricans. The main evidence to support a claim of external external bias would be if the test failed to predict performance for Africans. Even if tests only under-predicted performance underfor Africans relative to non -Africans, it would suggest that nontheir test scores underestimated their “true” IQ scores. However, a review by Kendall, Verster, and von Mollendorf (1988) showed that test scores for Africans have about equal predictive validity as those for non -Africans (e.g., .20 to .50 nonfor students’ school grades and for employees’ job performance). Rushton & Jensen Reaction time is one of the simplest culture-free cognitive culturemeasures. Most reaction time tasks are so easy that 9 - to 129- 12yearyear-old children can perform them in less than one second. But even on these very simple tests, children with higher IQ scores perform faster than do children with lower scores (the explanation usually adopted is that reaction times measure the neurophysiological efficiency of the brain’s capacity to process information accurately -- the same ability measured by intelligence tests). Children are not trained to perform well on reaction time tasks (as they are on certain paper-and -pencil tests), so the advantage of paper-andthose with higher IQ scores on these tasks cannot arise from practice, familiarity, education, or training. 4 Reaction Time Tasks n Simple RT. In the simplest task a single light comes on and the subject moves his hand to switch it off. This response normally takes around half a second. Choice RT. In more complex situations, one of several lights comes on and has to be switched off. This task takes longer to complete than simple RT. Odd Man Out RT. In a still more complex task, three lights come on of which two are close together and one stands apart. Here the subject has to judge which is the light that stands apart and switch it off. It is more difficult than the simpler reaction time tasks and typically takes about twice as long. n n IQ IQ and RT Hong Kong Sample size IQ scores Simple RT 118 113 361 Japan 110 110 348 Britain 239 100 371 Ireland 317 89 388 South Africa 350 67 398 64 SD .94* r Choice RT 423 433 480 485 489 67 .89* Odd-manout RT 787 818 898 902 924 187 .96* Rushton & Jensen Among Among individuals, intelligence is related to brain size. About two-dozen studies using twoMagnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to measure the volume of the human brain have found an overall correlation with IQ of greater than .40. Altogether there are now about 15 studies on over 700 subjects showing that individuals with larger brain volumes have higher IQ scores. 5 Rushton & Jensen The The most likely reason why larger brains are, on average, more intelligent than smaller brains is that they contain more neurons and synapses, which make them more efficient. Haier et al. (1995) tested the brain efficiency hypothesis by using MRI to measure brain volume and glucose metabolic rate (GMR) to measure glucose uptake (an indicator of energy use). They found a correlation of -.58 between glucose metabolic rate and IQ, showing that more intelligent individuals have more efficient brains because they use less energy in performing a given cognitive task. Rushton Rushton & Jensen Rushton Rushton (2000; Rushton & Ankney, 1996) summarized the world database using the three methods on which there are a sufficient number of studies (autopsies, endocranial volume, head measurements), as well as head measurements corrected for body size. The results in cm3 or equivalents were: East Asians = 1,351, 1,415, 1,335, 1,356 (mean = 1,364) Whites = 1,356, 1,362, 1,341, 1,329 (mean = 1,347) Blacks = 1,223, 1,268, 1,284, 1,294 (mean = 1,267) The overall mean for East Asians is 17 cm3 more than that for Whites and 97 cm3 more than that for Blacks. Rushton Rushton & Jensen Studies Studies of Korean and Vietnamese children adopted into White homes show that although as babies many had been hospitalized for malnutrition, they nonetheless grew to have IQs ten or more points higher than their adoptive national norms. By contrast, Black and mixed-race mixed(Black(Black-White) children adopted into White middlemiddleclass families typically have lower average scores than the White siblings with whom they had been reared, or than White children adopted into similar homes. 6 Rushton & Jensen; Lynn n Three studies of East Asian children adopted by White families strongly support the hereditarian hypothesis. In the first, 25 four-year-olds from Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, four-yearand Thailand, all adopted into White American homes prior to three years of age, excelled in academic ability with a mean IQ score of 120, as opposed to a U.S. national norm of 100 (Clark & Hanisee, 1982). Prior to placement half the babies had required hospitalization for malnutrition. In the second, Winick, Meyer, and Harris (1975) found 141 Korean children adopted as infants by American families exceeded the American average in both IQ and achievement scores when they reached 10 years of age . Korean children raised in Belgium families also showed above average IQs (Frydman & Lynn, 1989). n Rushton Rushton & Jensen n The currently most accepted view of human origins, the “Out-of-Africa” theory, posits “Out-ofthat Homo sapiens arose in Africa about Homo 150,000 years ago, expanded northwards beyond Africa about 100,000 years ago, with a European-East Asian split about 41,000 Europeanyears ago (Stringer & McKie, 1996; CavalliCavalliSforza et al., 1994). Rushton & Jensen n Evolutionary selection pressures were different in the hot savanna where Africans lived, than in the cold northern regions Europeans experienced, or the even colder Arctic regions of East Asians. These ecological differences affected not only morphology but also behavior. It has been proposed that the farther north the populations migrated out of Africa, the more they encountered the cognitivelycognitivelydemanding problems of gathering and storing food, gaining shelter, making clothes, and raising children successfully during prolonged winters (Rushton, 2000). As these populations evolved into present -day Europeans and presentEast Asians, the ecological pressures selected for larger brains, slower rates of maturation, and lower levels of sex hormone – with concomitant reductions in sexual potency, aggressiveness, and impulsivity, and increases in family stability, advanced planning, self-control, rule following, selfand longevity, and the other characteristics 7 Rushton & Jensen n In The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray (1994) offered some specific The policy recommendations based on their conclusions about genetic variation and IQ, which are generally concordant with political conservatism, such as scaling back affirmative action, reducing the intrusiveness of government, and returning to individualism. Most political conservatives, however, support these recommendations, no matter how the nature -nurture question is “resolved,” with which Murray agreed. Arthur Jensen, also writing from the hereditarian perspective, recently opined that giving primacy to individual rights maximizes fairness, which he pragmatically defined as the ability of each individual to reach his or her full potential (Miele, in press). He therefore argued for a restructuring of the educational system by tailoring methods to fit the individual, and letting the group outcomes individual group become what they may, rather than allowing claims of differential performance to justify group rights over individual rights. Seeds Seeds in Soil Seeds in Soil Good Soil Bad Soil 8 Harold Stevenson n Stevenson wanted to use a direct approach to comparing cognitive abilities. First and fifth graders in Japan, Taiwan, and United States were carefully selected matched on demographic variables. Cognitive measures --verbal and measures--verbal performance tests--were devised with considerable tests--were attention to task equivalence and appropriateness for the different cultures and languages. Achievement tests for mathematics and reading were also constructed. Reliability for the measures was found to be generally good. Results on the cognitive measures revealed a few group differences on subtests, but no overall difference in intelligence. Distribution and variability of scores were similar for each sample. On mathematics achievement tests, Chinese performed well, while Americans had relatively low scores. Cognitive performance was a fairly good predictor of mathematics achievement scores but not of verbal scores. There were no general differences in cognitive functioning between the samples, and superiority of Asians in math was not attributable to higher levels of cognitive functioning among the Asian samples. Advantages Advantages of Stevenson’s Work n Their investigations attempted to directly compare cognitive functioning rather than to compare the performance of one population to the norms derived from the performances of another population. In addition to being a direct test of cognitive functioning, Stevenson's research also tried to develop comparable and culturallyculturallyappropriate instruments for populations and to test explanatory variables (e.g., schooling). The research revealed no differences in overall cognitive function of Americans in Minnesota, Chinese in Taiwan, and Japanese in Japan, although Asians had higher mathematics achievement scores. Whatever the differences, they were most likely a product of environment. Critique Critique n Stevenson et al. (1985) have noted that Chinese and Japanese outperform Americans on mathematics. What is particularly interesting is the fact that crosscross-national studies indicate that Japanese and Chinese students are given far more instruction in mathematics than are Americans, whose teachers emphasize reading skills. Stigler and Baranes (1988) carry the point further by arguing that language and culture influence mathematics learning and thinking. They provide many other examples of the relationship between cultural practices and thinking. For example, in several Asian countries, children are introduced to the use of the abacus in making arithmetic calculations. Some children are given additional training in the use of the abacus, developing the ability to perform calculations using a mental abacus (imagining the use of an abacus). These children revealed remarkable speed in making mental calculations, and the patterns of errors resembled those that would be found in using an actual abacus. The internalization of the abacus becomes a tool for thought. Development of such tools may well influence not only computational skills but also a wide variety of mathematical and related skills. The point is that the mathematics learning seems (a) to be cultural in nature, involving language, developing mental tools, schooling, and cultural practices and (b) to involve many thought processes which may facilitate performance on visuospatial tasks. In the case of Asian Americans, low English verbal and high quantitative performances on achievements tests are understandable, especially for immigrants. n 9 Adoption Studies n Frydman and Lynn's study was based on a sample of 19 Korean children adopted by Belgian families who were broadly middle class, employed in white collar positions. The investigators concluded that on the WISC, which was administered in French, the KoreanKorean- Belgium children had high IQ scores and demonstrated the low verbal-high verbalvisuospatial pattern found in other Asians. However, in drawing their conclusions, a number of assumptions had to be made. First, the French WISC was standardized in 1954 in France. To compare the performance of the Korean children who took the WISC in 1983 with the standardization in 1954, the investigators had to adjust the 1954 norms by calculating the yearly increases that occur on IQ tests. To do this, they used an estimate of 3 IQ points per decade which they estimated from the American population. In using the French norms in 1954, calculating yearly IQ gains based on Americans, and then applying the results to Koreans raised in Belgium, many assumptions have to be valid in order to draw conclusions. Another problem was that the norms were constructed in France, not Belgium. Second, to test for possible social class influences, Frydman and Lynn compared the IQ scores of eight Koreans from the professional class parents with 11 children from the middle class parents and found no differences. Given the fact that the comparisons were based on rather small numbers and that both groups were actually considered as "middle class" by the investigators (a restricted range), quite a weak test of social class influences is made. The investigators also acknowledged that "A more conservative reading of the data is that there is no appreciable difference between the intelligence of Korean adoptees reared by middle class Belgian parents and that of Caucasian children reared in similar circumstances" (Frydman & Lynn, 1989, p. 1324). n n Richard Richard Nisbett n Subtle environmental influences can confound the picture of heritability painted by twin studies, making small genetic variations look much more significant than they really are. "Suppose you have two identical twins, John and Joe. They're both a little bit taller than average and a little bit quicker than average. They're raised in different environments, but those environments are going to be made similar by virtue of the fact that this relatively small advantage is going to lead them to play basketball more frequently, to be chosen on teams more, for it to be more rewarding, for them to come to the attention of coaches, so they're going to be similar with respect to basketball ability. And other identical twins who may be a little shorter and stodgier than average are going to have very similar experiences to each other, and end up not having much basketball ability. But this pattern of data will tell you that basketball ability is largely heritable.“ The same is true of intelligence: "Relatively small genetic differences in intelligence can be parleyed through environmental effects which are a consequence of those very small differences Most identical twins raised apart are still raised in the same town, go to the same school, or are raised by relatives. "Adoptive families are like Tolstoy's happy families, — they're all alike. They tend to be upper middle class or middle class. There's not that much difference between Doctor Jones' family and Lawyer Smith's family." Such families provide extremely promotive conditions for IQ." What's more, even when adoptive extremely families are working class, those families tend to have home environments more like their upperupper- class counterparts in that they promote intellectual attainment. The similarity among adoptive parents is so great that it puts a strict limit on how high the correlations between IQ and environment can be, and thus makes IQ look like it's all a matter of genetics when it's really not. "The similarities in identical twins are a function of their shared experiences." n n 10 n Those who persist in arguing that there is any kind of genetic component in the Black-“White IQ gap are easily refuted by a wide Blackrange of data. For one thing, Blacks in this country range from mostly African in ancestry to partly o...
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  • Fall '08
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  • Asian American Physical sciences* Asian American Life sciences Asian American White Humanities* Asian American Engineering Asian American

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