When it comes to mathematics, Asians are deemed to be the best. Although this statement might appear stereotypical, Chinese students in particular tend to perform extremely well on their math tests. Here is an interesting article
that supports this statement. According to the article, students in Shanghai perform better than British doctors and lawyers in math. This is very interesting even though number crunching is not one of the skills required of doctors or lawyers. It almost seems like the Chinese education system focuses more on math, and perhaps put less emphasis on the other important subjects or various areas of teaching. This might explain why Chinese students tend to struggle in other academic areas when they come to university in the US.
Xiaodong Lin, a professor of Cognitive Studies at Columbia University's Teachers College states that Chinese students struggle more with analytical writing, critical thinking, and communication with peers. Chinese students are better at mathematics and science, which requires deeper thinking. However, they struggle to foster independent thinking, a skill they need before they can enter the real world. Based on her relationship and understanding of both the Chinese and American culture, Lin compiled a list of strengths and weaknesses of both American and Chinese students.
Chinese students think deeply, where as American students are independent thinkers. Another strength is that Chinese students avoid arguments but American students ask questions and challenge peers and professors. Few of the weaknesses Lin found about Chinese students include poor communication skills and struggling to generate their own ideas. On the other hand, American students can’t handle negative feedback and don’t think deeply enough.
I believe these findings are down to cultural differences. As more Chinese students are coming to US to attend university, they would eventually assimilate and learn the US culture, which will better help prepare them for the real world.