Not to be racist, but I tend to notice(at least in my area) that asian students tend to do better overall in Schools. However, few people know about the education system of countries in Asia. Here I will try to explain the key differences between education systems of Asia and West by comparing two major countries in each area, China and USA. The key differences, in my view, are: a) emphasis b) structure c) tests and competition d) extracurriculars Emphasis- In China, the education is the most important goal of the parent and the child. Parents actively intervene in an attempt to improve the grades of the child. In fact, there is a general consensus(which most children here would find disagreeable) that if the child is not studying, he/she is "wasting" his/her time. Parents will spend whatever it takes to get their kids to University; even borrowing money. Rarely are any student loans made in China. The teacher and school system shares this emphasis. Teachers regularly contact parents to report the situation of their child. The typical Chinese school day begins at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. There is no recess or lunch break. Homework is assigned liberally by teachers(usually 3 pages per subject; there is regularly 8-12 subjects). Bullying, as well as any time spent "not studying" is dealt with harshly. Also, most students, due to the workload, do not have time to engage in other activities. Structure- The Chinese education system is structured much more differently than here. Competition for entry into schools does not begin in HS; it begins in Kindergarden. There is heavy competition. One saying goes "In order to get into the good university, you must get into the good high school. In order to get into the good high school, you must get into the good junior high school. In order to get into the good junior high school, you must get into the good elementary school. In order to get into the good elementary school, you must get into the good kindergarden. Entry into "good" schools are based on test marks conducted at every one of these stages. At the end of primary, junior, and high schools, exams for every subject is issued. Entry criteria is based entirely on these marks, as well as extracurriculars. Marks are also weighed based on the quality of the feeder school. E.g., a good high school would weigh a good junior high school more than a weaker one. There is no course choosing until High school. Students must study in eight areas- Biology, Chinese, English, Physics, History, Chemistry, Mathematics, Civics. Entry into University is based on the "Gao Kai" or high school exams, a gruelling set of three-hour exams for each subject area, carried out over four days. The score of the student in these exams determine which university will accept him. Each university sets an acceptance level on the "average" of the student. If you are higher than the acceptance level, you are admitted. Tests and competition- As I have already mentioned, tests are the criteria for EVERY subject. The final mark on the report card is completely dependant on the test score for the exam; the concept of "assignments" is virtually unknown in China. As you have probably already figured out, competition in these schools are high. Test scores will determine your future(a bad or a good school; a blue collar or a white collar). However, the school likes to promote this competition. After each test is marked(usually two days after the test itself) the test scores of all the students are POSTED on the hall for everyone to see. Then the teacher will do a little "post-test" analysis; good students are rewarded and praised by the teacher, who tells everyone else to follow him/her; students whose test scores have degraded are criticized by the teacher, who offers suggestions for improvement; students whose scores are lowest are criticized, and frequently gets calls home. Not only that, but the highest scoring students are rewarded with certificates, and more importantly, money. The money rewarded goes from 100-1000 yuan; from the school.(average wage in cHina is 24,000 yuan). This money is rewarded to students who have done extremely well on such tests. In addition, other prizes of money and certificates are rewarded for the "Shan Bai" students, or any students who have scored 100% on three or more of his/her exams. The emphasis (and wage) of the teacher is mostly dependant on the number of students under his/her wing that have gone to a "good" school. E.g., a teacher in a junior high school would be considered good if most of his/her students went to a good high school. Consequently, the teacher's emphasis is to promote his/her good students into getting good marks. Extracurriculars- Alas, if you thought a chinese student would be free after class, it is not so. Frequently, admission into high schools and junior high schools(though not universities) are based on "Extracurriculars". THe student must demonstrate "talent". Therefore, every parent who can afford it signs their kid up for MANY extracurricular classes, ranging from piano to olympic math. These classes often occupy the weekends of a chinese student. On my last visit, my cousin was unable to be with me most of the time(it was in july, the summer break) because he had to get up at 7:00 a.m. to go to his extracurricular classes, and they did not end until 3 P.M. ON school days, many students are shuffled to these classes once they get out of school; After returning to their house, often at 8 or 9 p.m., they have an hour or so to finish their gigantic load of homework, in order to be prepared for the next day of school.