Culture and Asian-White Achievement Difference

Airan Liu, University of Michigan
Yu Xie, University of Michigan

We advocate an interactive approach to examining the role of culture and SES in explaining Asian Americans’ achievement. We use Education Longitudinal Study (ELS) 2002 baseline data to test our proposition that the cultural orientation of Asian American families is different from that of white American families in ways that mediate the effects of family SES on children’s academic achievement. The results support our hypothesis, indicating that: (1) SES’s positive effects on achievement are stronger among White students than they are among Asian-Americans; (2) the association between a family’s SES and behaviors and attitudes are weaker among Asian-Americans than among Whites; (3) a fraction of the Asian-white achievement gap can be accounted for by ethnic differences in behaviors and attitudes, particularly ethnic differences in family SES’s effects on behaviors and attitudes.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity