Perceptions of high socio-economic Chinese-American parents about their children's academic achievement, home environment, and Chinese language proficiency

Date of Completion

January 2004


Education, Educational Psychology|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies




Chinese-American students excel in school in the United States and Chinese Americans are described as a “model minority.” Although many studies exist concerning parents' behaviors and their children's academic achievement, little research has been conducted on parental perceptions of Chinese Americans. This study was designed to explore and investigate the perceptions of high socio-economic Chinese-American parents about their children's academic achievement, home environment, and Chinese language proficiency. ^ This exploratory study employed a mixed-methods design. Survey research methods were used to gather data about parents' background and perceptions of their children, followed by in-depth interviews. The sites for this study were weekend Chinese schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. A self-administrated survey, Parental Perceptions Survey, was completed by a random sample of 209 parents (136 parents of G/T students and 73 of average students) from different backgrounds. Ten parents of gifted/talented students participated in the follow-up interviews to probe parental perceptions and activities more deeply. ^ This study opened a window that allowed researchers to better understand the perceptions of the group of Chinese-American parents identified as a “model minority,” many of whom have children who excel at school. Descriptive statistics indicated that Chinese-American parents had high expectations for their children's educational success, valued education and effort, tended to sacrifice for their children's education, followed a “training” parenting style, and tried to maintain their unique Chinese heritage and culture. When comparing parental perceptions between different groups (parents of gifted/talented vs. average students, fathers vs. mothers, parents of boys vs. those of girls, and parents of different backgrounds), using MONOVAs followed by ANOVAs procedures, significant differences were found between parents with different occupational status in parental perceptions of their children's academic achievement, and between parents with different income levels in parental perceptions of their children's Chinese language proficiency. Significant differences were also found between the groups of gifted/talented versus average students in parental activities related to academic achievement and Chinese language proficiency. No significant differences were found in other groups. Bivariate correlation analyses indicated that parental perceptions and activities were highly positively correlated. ^