High school education in U S VS China rev

Althoughboth the education systems of the United States and China have somesimilarities there exists notable differences, mainly due to cultureand population differences in the two nations. Education system inAmerica is open and more inclusive while public education is free andavailable to all students. Meanwhile, public schools in China areconsidered superior to private schools while in America it is viceversa. The main difference, whatsoever, is the fact that theeducation system in China is stricter, whereas the one in America isconsidered more flexible and vary according to individual states(University of Michigan 1). This paper will assess educationcharacteristics between high school programs in America and China,and then attempt to analyze which education system between the twonations is better.


Thefirst significant difference between the two education systems is theschool curriculum. The Chinese education system has a standardizedcurriculum run by the ministry of education. Before nearly, alleducational aspects were centrally controlled, but the educationsystem is now shifting towards decentralization where educationleaders in various cities have governments’ approval to selectvaries textbook series in accordance with their needs. The highschool curriculum in China is intensive and allows specialization inspecific fields such as fine arts, science or languages.Alternatively, the educational system in the United States is rankedtop globally despite lacking a standardized national school system.In fact, it varies according to the different states in the nation.


Accordingto the University of Michigan, there exist some notable differencesin the class environment of the two nations. First, in China theclassroom environment is considered as more competitive, and teachercontrolled. The high competition in these schools is due to the largepopulation of students. A high school student’s day in China isviewed as much longer compared to a school day in the United States.By first-grade, Chinese students become bombarded with loads ofhomework and have to get to their respective schools early and leavelater in the evening. American students spend less time in schoolwhen compared to their Chinese counterparts despite the school timeallocated being similar (University of Michigan1).

Classstructure variations are also present where students in China have toremain in the same classroom while students in America have to changeroom for each period. Education system in China is very selectivewhere only those who passed get admission to high school. Themajority of Chinese students attend public school because it is freewhile high school education is reserved for the few academic elite inthe nation. The process of college admission in China is based onstandardized examinations. It is even considered much easier forAmerican students to get admission in universities of their choicethan their counterparts in China (University of Michigan1).

Themore inclusive and open system of education in the America can bejudged from the application process for a high school student inAmerica trying to get admission in a college where it is based on aholistic approach that include high school grades, extracurricularactivities, application essay, standardized test scores,recommendation from teachers and personal interview. However, thedropout rates in this nation are considered the highest compared toother developed nations globally. Nevertheless, this high rate ofdropouts is common in students of low socio-economic status.


BothAmerican public and private schools are separated into levels thatinclude elementary school middle school and high school. The types ofeducation include: private, public, and home schools. To become ahigh school teacher in the republic of China, one is required to be agraduate and have training experience of two years in a professionalinstitution. Teaching strategies used include additional help forweak students on a one on one basis. The parents of these studentsalso get involved and help them with their homework while at home andon weekends. On the other hand, to become a teacher in the U.S. oneis required to have an undergraduate education. However, mostteachers continue with their education to have a Masters degree whichcan permit them to receive a higher salary than their counterpartswithout the master degree (University of Michigan1).

Theother notable difference between the education system in China andthe US is how information is conveyed. In America, teachers valuepersonal expression and thus, most of the lessons center ondiscussions where students are expected to engage in the exchange ofideas. A majority of student in American high schools engages invarious extracurricular activities done either after or before schoolhours. On the other hand, the Chinese classrooms do not emphasizeparticipation, and thus the student is only required to remainattentive. As a result, this can be attributed to the existence ofless interaction between Chinese teachers and their students.Furthermore, a student’s grade in the United States is based onclassroom participation meaning that students who never speak upduring this discussion end up receiving a lower grade. Besides,classroom participation may lead to friendly relationships betweenthe students and their teachers.

Teachersin China become evaluated based on student test scores and alsoremunerated on merit. In china, teachers are accorded high respectcompared to those in the US. For instance, their salary is untaxedwhile they have a national holiday for all teachers. Discipline inChinese schools is highly maintained compared to American schools. Inaddition, students are considered respectful to their teachers. Forthis reason, Chinese educators produce students that are moreacademically focused and score high on international tests. Highschool students in China have been considered active, and eachstudent is assigned significant role such as classroom sweeping,meals serving and monitoring the class. On the other hand, whileteaching is group-based in China the Americans prefer anindividual-focused approach where the student self- esteem is highlymaintained. The head teacher or banzhurenis tasked with additional roles of delivering instructions,supervision of students in a specific class as well as gettingfamiliar and communicating with their families.


Parentalinvolvement in a child’s education is beneficial and can fosteracademic success, improved school attitude, and lessen drop out aswell. According to Chinese parents’ highly value education and forthis reason they get involved in their children’s education,playing a crucial role of helping with children’s homework andthose lagging behind. In China, parents become highly involved whenhigh school students are preparing for their college exams. As amatter of fact, make an extra mile of hiring personal tutors to helpchildren with the preparations for the exam. In addition, somefamilies also employ personal nutritionists to serve their childrenwith food supposedly to improve memory. This is in contrast toAmerican parents who generally play a passive role in theirchildren’s education. In the United States, parental involvementvaries with some studies showing parents of higher socioeconomics aremore likely to get involved with the education of their children thanthose from lower socioeconomics (Kan, Hakwan, Diana, Martin, Oliviaand Jocelyn 97).

Highstake tests and school tracking system

Highstake tests and school tracking system in China help determinewhether a student has acquired the necessary skill needed in the nextlevel. Whereas, the high tests and school tracking systemin theU.S are administered in order to separate students into belowaverage, average and above average. However, in most schools in theUS the high stakes tests and tracking system is deemed as a method tosegregate on the performance of African American students. A studyconducted by InternationalBusiness Publications demonstratesthat African Americans were unduly ranked lower in academicperformances. On the other hand, educational researchers suggest thatthe high stake test plays a role in degrading educational objectives,constrain teacher and the curriculum, stress students and also limitaccess to college and university education (InternationalBusiness Publications 100).

Schooldropout rates

Inyear 2000, United States had a school dropout rate of 12%. However,the 2014 Census Bureau data indicates that school dropout rate hasreduced significantly. The drastic decrease of the dropouts isattributed to increased retention of both African Americans andSpanish students in school. Previous studies indicated thatapproximately 18% of Hispanic students were discontinuing school.However, the trend has drastically improved as the Spanish studentsyouths aged between eighteen and twenty-four years that are quittingschool have significantly dropped while the white students’population dropout rate have remained relatively constant (Fry 1).

Onthe other hand, the Northeast Normal University’s Rural EducationResearch Institute study discovered that over 40% of students insuburban china counties are dropping out of school. Previously, thegovernment had announced that the average number of students quittingschool is 3%, but the 2014 research in Hubei, Heilongjiang, Henan,Shandong, Jilin and Liaoning proved otherwise. Poverty had also beenattributed to high school dropout in China, but the provinces studiesare relatively wealthy. According to one of the teachers teachingremote schools in China, the dropout cases could be as high as 50% insome schools. Nevertheless, she notes that 20 -30% of dropout casesis standard while 40% dropout rate is the average (Jingrong 1). Inthe USA, the main reason for students dropping out if the school arechallenges in understanding academic concepts and a small percentagemay also quit because of financial reasons (Fry 1). However, theRural Education Research Institute discovered that most Chinesestudents were leaving school because they were just fed up withlearning (Jingrong 1).


Accordingto a report in Newsweek Magazine in 2010 outlining the best countriesthat can support the most convenient lifestyles, America was missingin the list. Researchers based the study on health, quality of life,political environment, economic dynamism and education. The reportsparked an enduring debate that attempts to address issues that couldpossibly make the United States appear at position nine while itscitizens tout the nation as the best in the world (University ofMichigan 1). The study attributed weak academic foundation forstudent, especially in public schools. Since President Bushintroduced the “No student left behind” program, quality ofeducation had drastically dropped. The federal government hasallocated large amount of money in an already broken public schoolsystem, which does not motivate students. “In reality, motivationis weak because students do not like school, do not work hard and, asa result, do not do well (Smith 1).” In summary, the researchconcludes that America’s ranking in the list of the best countriesin the world has fallen into position because lack of studentmotivation has resulted in limited innovation, as well asdetermination to build the country.

Onthe contrary, Chinese attribute academic excellence of their studentsin academics to high motivation in academic excellence. Teachers andparents work together to ascertain that students receive convenientstudying environment. This contrasts with the United States whereparents place the entire burden of motivating students with parents.China education system emphasizes on relevant education to thestudents. This implies that the curriculum incorporates relevantacademic programs that students can relate to their daily life(Leung, Cynthia and Jiening 144).

Mathematicsand reading scores

Inacademic achievement, Chinese students usually outshine theirAmerican counterparts. This is because American mothers prepare theirchildren more for reading and not in math, whereas the Chinesemothers prepared their children well in both math and reading.Cultural differences also play a significant role mathematicachievement where Chinese parents become more aware of challengestheir children have in mathematics and have high expectationscompared to US mothers (Leung, Cynthia and Jiening 140). Thesedifferences in parental knowledge and expectations regarding theirchildren’s academic performance lie in between school and homecommunication. In recent study, evidence shows that although mostmothers had knowledge of the skills and abilities a first grade childis required to have, however the source of this knowledge differed. In their book, Leung, Cynthia and Jiening noted that researcherssuggest that the nature of ranking and sampling biases used in theU.S is blamed for the poor performance in mathematics and readingscores in the nation (Leung, Cynthia and Jiening 141).

Overall,Chinese school terms are slightly longer than the periods US studentsin school. In the recent past, educationists have complained thatChinese students are disadvantaged because they are competing inchildren in china who attend school for up to 25% more time than theydo (Zhao 7). According to Center for Public Education, many states inthe USA require students to attend school for a term varying between175 to 180 days with instruction hours ranging between 900 and 1000hours – depending on the grade of the students. On the contrary,Chinese attend schools for 220 days in a year with a minimum of athousand instructional hour for grade six to eight.

However,educationists in the USA claim that Chinese students often attendschool for more hours, but the instruction hours are similar to theones offered in the United States. This implies that the Americancurriculum does crush lessons to students within a short time(University of Michigan 1).

Theanalysis of both high school education systems in U.S and China showstrengths and weaknesses. However, despite the challenges of theeducation system in America, it considered as more lenient incontrast to the Chinese education system. Is the U.S high schooleducation system better than that in China? The quality of educationsystem in any nation can be measured using factors such as thepercentage of students accessing education, completion rates,teachers and teaching quality and performance of students usingstandardized test scores (University of Michigan 1). Therefore, usingthis measures, Chinese education seems to be making greater stridesand worth emulating while the one of the United States seems to bedeclining and in a crisis. The second measure of an education systemin the nation is the product quality. Generally, this measure cannotbe easily quantifiable but it is concerned with what an individualcan do skills, moral values as well as ethical standards. Using thismeasure, to judge the education system in China, reports show thatthe indigenous pool of talent and innovation seems to add little tothe economy. In contrast, despite the large number of graduates fromthe universities and colleges, multinational companies in the nationfind it hard seeking for a qualified candidate to fill positions.

Accordingto Zhao, a recent survey shows that the biggest challenge faced byChinese companies is to find talent from the nation. In Chinaeducation is compulsory for all children who have already attainedthe school-going age. Children have a right to free education up tosecondary school, and companies are required to only employ thosecitizens who have attained the nine years public education. The otherchallenge of the Chinese education system involves high stakesrequired for a student to proceed to the next grade, thus resultingin high dropout rate. Students in the republic of China have nochoice but to work extremely hard to get admitted in college, whereasin America it is easier to get to college using more existingpathways. Thus, students in China highly achieves due to the hardwork ethic (Leung, Cynthia and Jiening 149). As a matter of fact, lowachieving students are never segregated from others due to theirbelief that with more effort all students can attain success.

Therefore,in my opinion the Chinese system seems better because it has astandardized curriculum. This is for the main reason education isgiven a higher priority in the republic of China. Besides, theChinese education system encourages moral values education such asrespect which plays a very significant role in China. On the otherhand, the teaching strategies used in the Chinese education systemprovide high education retention. Skills training as well as laboreducation are part of high school education where students acquirethe basic skills of productive labor (Zhao 45).

Question2 about research paper

Thecentral question in this research paper was whether the U.S. highschool education system is better than that of China. This paper hasdone an analysis of both systems in addition to their strengths andweaknesses. Using literature review, the Chinese education system hasbeen found to have several advantages over the American systems inaspects such as more respect for teachers in the republic of Chinacompared than those in the US. The other strength of the Chinesesystem is the hard work ethic in school that leads in success (Zhao7). Thirdly, the other core strength of Chinese education system overthe American system is that in China students are not segregated intohigh achieving and low achieving using tracking level similar tothose used in the United States.

Conversely,this research paper also came up the American education system corestrength that includes high quality of education. As a result,students from all over the world go to American school to receive ahigh-quality education. However, both educational systems have onething in common which is existence of inequalities and prevalentsegregation. Additionally, this research paper involved determiningthe education system which is better. Therefore, based on severalmeasures the education system that was found worth emulating is thatof China. However, this is debatable since the education system hasits own weaknesses such as the rigidity which seem to negativelyaffect students where more emphasis is laid on tests at the expenseon creativity, leadership, hands-on experiences and teamwork. This isbecause students in The Republic of China concentrate more on theorythan on hands-on jobs. However, the educational system in China isundergoing reforms where all students will be required to learnEnglish throughout their school years. From this analysis, it isclear that culture, practices and belief are some of the intertwinedfactors playing a critical role in the two education differences.

Overall,Chinese school terms are slightly longer than the periods US studentsin school. In the recent past, educationists have complained thatChinese students are disadvantaged because they are competing inchildren in china who attend school for up to 25% more time than theydo (Zhao 7). According to Center for Public Education, many states inthe USA require students to attend school for a term varying between175 to 180 days with instruction hours ranging between 900 and 1000hours – depending on the grade of the students. On the contrary,Chinese attend schools for 220 days in a year with a minimum of athousand instructional hour for grade six to eight.

However,educationists in the USA claim that Chinese students often attendschool for more hours, but the instruction hours are similar to theones offered in the United States. This implies that the Americancurriculum does crush lessons to students within a short time(University of Michigan 1).


Fromthe comparison done in this research paper, several notabledifferences between the Chinese education system and the UnitedStates education system were found. Some of the differences have beenobserved in the curriculum, class structure, teaching strategies,parental involvement and high stake tests and school tracking system.Research shows that individualism in western cultures is highlyvalued, and thus people’s behavior is guided by personal traits andattitudes. High school education in U.S is a basic right of allstudents, and admission is an automatic process without therequirement of entrance examinations. Education is funded by thestate governments, private organizations and local governments. Thecurriculum result in well- rounded students since it centers onliberal arts, English science, mathematics, music social studies andarts. With this structure, specialization in areas of interests isencouraged early since student start to specialize in a preferredfield of study after making to second year.

Onthe other hand, this research is significant and educators from bothnations may learn from each other’s nation educational system’sstrengths and weaknesses, in order to make reforms. Although, theeducation system in America is not perfect however it requires to bestrengthened and be more American. The broad decentralized curriculumshould not be abandoned since it enhances diversity. Furthermore,this system fosters individual talents and differences. Thus, majorreforms are required for a better tomorrow where succeed is defined,education will be personalized and school will be viewed as globalenterprises.


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Kan,Jocelyn, Hakwan Lau, Diana J. L. Martin, Olivia Robinson, and JocelynKan. Live&amp Work in China &amp Hong Kong.Richmond: Crimson, 2008. Print.

Leung,Cynthia B, and Jiening Ruan. Perspectiveson Teaching and Learning Chinese Literacy in China.Dordrecht: Springer, 2012. Print.

Universityof Michigan. Comparing U.S. and Chinese Public School Systems.Retrievd from:http://sitemaker.umich.edu/vanschaack.356/strenghts_and_weaknesses_of_both_systems

Zhao,Yong. CatchingUp or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age ofGlobalization.Alexandria, Va: ASCD, 2009. Print.

Jingrong,Li. “High Dropout Rates in Rural Schools.” Chinathrough a Lens.25 June 2004. China Organization. Web. December 6, 2009.

Fry,Richard. “U.S. high school dropout rate reaches record low, drivenby improvements among Hispanics, blacks.” PewResearch Center,2014. Web.

Smith,Adams. “Lack of student motivation part of America`s nationaldecline.” Collegiate Times, 2010. Print.