University Of Tasmania

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A challenge to the anecdotal stereotype of the Asian student

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 23:15 authored by David KemberDavid Kember, Gow, L
This paper challenges the anecdotal stereotype that Asian students have a marked predilection towards reproductive study strategies and suggests that, as elsewhere, approaches to learning tasks are more a function of the curriculum and teaching environment. Evidence is presented from a survey of approaches to the study of Hong Kong students using the Biggs' Study Process Questionnaire. Mean scores on the scales of the questionnaire were compared with Australian results. The scores of the Hong Kong students were similar to those of comparable Australian students, but if anything the achieving and deep approach scores were higher for the Hong Kong students. The results are analysed to see if they can be explained as an experimental artefact or whether they are real, in which case they seriously question the anecdotal evidence which paints a stereotyped picture of the Asian student relying heavily on rote learning. Factor analysis results cast some doubt on the surface construct for Hong Kong students. However, the deep and achieving scales produced factor structures similar to those obtained previously and the results from these scales alone are quite sufficient to question the anecdotal evidence. Scores for both deep and achieving approaches were lower for second- and third-year students compared to first-year students, which suggests that any tendency towards reproductive approaches may be more a function of teaching practices than an innate tendency.


Publication title

Studies in Higher Education








Faculty of Education


Carfax Publishing

Place of publication

Rankine Rd, Basingstoke, England, Hants, Rg24 8Pr

Rights statement

Copyright 1991 Taylor & Francis

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other education and training not elsewhere classified

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