Asian Immigrants and What No One Mentions Aloud

To continue my thoughts on college admissions and Asians:

Many people, reading of the clear discrimination against Asians, become all righteous, thinking of those poor, hardworking Asians. Come to America, work hard, and look how the system screws them.

But that reaction ignores the stereotype.

The stereotype, delicately put: first and second generation Chinese, Korean, and Indian Americans often fail to embody the sterling academic credentials they include with their applications, and do not live up to the expectations these universities have for top tier students.

Less delicately put: They cheat. And when they don’t cheat, they game tests in a way utterly incomprehensible to the Western mind, leading to test scores with absolutely zero link to underlying ability. Or both. Or maybe it’s all cheating, and we just don’t know it. Either way, the resumes are functional fraud.

Is it true for every single recent Chinese, Korean, or Indian immigrant? Of course not. I know far more recent Asian immigrants than most people, a fair number of whom effortlessly exceed their academic records, with style points to boot. That doesn’t make the stereotype any less relevant. Or less accurate, as stereotypes go.

This piece will focus on recent Asian immigrants and cheating. I hope at some point to put together a piece on Asian nationals and cheating, but the one that’s hardest of all is the second part of the stereotype, the one that says okay, so they don’t always cheat—maybe—but even if they don’t, their test scores don’t match what we consider reality.

I will include a number of reported stories that back up my own experiences, as well as excerpt from School of Dreams, by Edward Humes, the story of a few years at Whitney High, a selective California public high school that is almost entirely Asian (as early as 1987, it was 45% Asian). Note again that this behavior is of recent Asian immigrants, kids who either came here very young or were born to recent immigrants. Humes’ book specifices this, and the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article also specifies that the troubles are with recent immigrants.

And so, cheating.

Cheating is a big problem in American high schools, and doom and gloom stories like this emphasize that high-achiever cheating is on the rise. Well, Asian immigration is on the rise, too, and Asian schoolkids are a huge percentage of high achieving kids. Is there any correlation, or is it rude to ask?

Teachers will tell you that high achiever cheating has a distinctly demographic tilt, which you can find in the stories if you look for it. Scratch the surface of any cheating story and odds are well above average the school or the class in question is disproportionately Asian. Journalists carefully scrub cheating stories of any racial references—unless it’s rich whites. In fact, it’s obvious that the SAT scandal was first thought to be “white” kids, which is why the reports contained names. Then it turned out they are mostly Iranian Jews, first or second generation immigrant. Oops. Which is not to say that impersonation is the typical cheating profile for Eastern and Southern Asians. (Cheating by high ability black and Hispanic students is virtually unknown, both in my own experience and a complete dearth of reported stories. The major cheating scandals involving black and Hispanic students is done on behalf of the lowest performers, usually by teachers, usually being ordered to do so by administrators.)

Researchers categorize cheating in three ways: impersonation, collaboration, and prior knowledge.

First, and least likely for Asians in this country, is impersonation, the method used by the Great Neck SAT scandal and the Clarence Mumford case. Cheaters need lots of money, an imposter who can guarantee results, and an anonymous setting. The Mumford case was so extensive, I think, because teacher testing is anonymous and a passing score, as opposed to a high score, was the only thing needed. That, coupled with a whole bunch of existing teachers who couldn’t pass the test. While impersonation is common in China and India, the ETS/College Board spot maybe 200 cases of impersonation a year in the US—at least, they only admit to that many. According to this story, impersonation used to be an issue among college athletes, which makes sense (and would therefore involve low-ability blacks more than Asians).

Next formal cheating category is “collaboration”, which means that students engaged in the work—test usually, homework almost always—are getting answers from other students also doing the work at that time. We don’t call this “copying” anymore, because getting answers almost always involves the consent and, well, collaboration of the person who has the answers.

Collaboration stories that hit the news usually involve Advanced Placement tests. “Chaos cheating”, as I call it, is nicely illustrated by the Mills High School story, in which the entire school’s AP scores were invalidated. While the first article only mentions one student with an Asian name, the student site protesting the decision has each student signing in by name, and the names are so Asian it’s funny, making it almost unnecessary to confirm that Mills is 60% Asian. The followup story has a revealing picture , and try playing “spot the white kid” with this video on the story.

Chaos cheating starts with a school screwup. The school doesn’t enforce security, sits the kids too close together, in circles or facing each other, directly against the rules. I know: what the hell does that have to do with the kids? They aren’t arranging this. At best, some kids are taking advantage of something that they had no control over.


From 2008 to 2013, I taught an AP US History survey course at two different SAT academies, for kids from around 20 schools, most of them 50% or higher Asian. I’ve been hearing from my APUSH students about exactly this scenario. I dismissed the first tale, thinking it absurd—any teacher knows how to proctor, particularly at the school in question, which had a long history of AP testing. Then I heard the story several more times from different kids, different schools, different review classes, always involving “Asian” schools or a heavily Asian testing population. I checked it against my white tutoring students, from a wide range of high schools, and the only ones who know of it also went to “Asian” schools. My Asian middle school students don’t know of it. The few Asian students I found who’d never seen it attended majority white or majority Hispanic schools—and they knew exactly what I was talking about, but told me that “wouldn’t fly” at their school.

The kids who know of it tell me some variation of this: the testers rush into the room as chaotically as possible, pull chairs close together, sit next to a buddy, whine like crazy when the proctor tries to impose seating order. The proctor sighs, exhorts them not to cheat, and pretty much turns over control of the class to the students. At that point, the kids can quietly discuss answers, text a buddy for help, and basically “collaborate” in any way needed.

Now, any decent, experienced proctor would never allow this. And yet, the “chaos cheating” stories that make the news all involve schools with a long history of high-achieving students taking all sorts of AP tests. The lax administration simply doesn’t make sense. But several major cheating stories of this nature on the AP have made the news in the past five or six years, in addition to the recent Mills High School story above. Here it is occurring at Skyline High School in Oakland, a majority minority school whose 22% Asian population likely comprises the bulk of the AP testers. Skyline’s cheating was limited to specific students, although it’s clear that the cheating couldn’t have occurred without incompetent or compliant proctors.

Another cheating scandal that involved both chaos cheating and texting occurred in Orange County, in which students were “allowed to talk, consult study aids, send text messages to friends and leave the room in groups during the exam” and we are supposed to believe that this was due to inexperienced proctoring in a high-achieving school in a wealthy district. I originally thought it was a primarily white student body. But back in 2008, Trebuco High freshmen through juniors were about 9% Asian, and CST scores reveal them to be a high achieving bunch. So about 150 Asians were juniors and seniors, figure perhaps a third of the AP testers were Asian. That’s plenty to create a chaos cheating situation. Ten students acknowledged cheating by texting, race omitted.

(AP Stats is a common cheating test. I mentioned this to a colleague, a third generation Japanese American, and he snorted, “Of course. That’s the math test for Asians who aren’t good at math.” and I suspect that this is, in fact, a good bit of the reason.)

The Mills students tried to sue. While the effort failed, the decision includes detailed descriptions of Mills, Skyline, and Trebuco testing procedures. It’s very hard to believe that Mills and Trebuco, in particular, were so blatantly incompetent.

I found one example involving the SAT, with the same seating violations and inattentive proctoring at a private school in Brooklyn, which surely should know better. When I first found Packer Collegiate Institute, I also intended to use it as a counterexample, of a case when chaos cheating involved a primarily white population, since the school is only 7% Asian. And it may–except the population is for K-12, and there’s no way to determine what age the Asians are. Are they all kindergartners? All high schoolers? Please note this article on Packer’s growing profile and resulting identity changes, paying particular attention to the increased competition, increased emphasis on college admissions, and changed atmosphere. The article doesn’t say “Asian student population has increased”, but given the school is in Brooklyn, which has seen a tremendous increase in Asian population, I do wonder what percentage of the testers are Asian.

We move from AP tests to every day classes and those ruthlessly consistent straight As that comprise a good bit of the Asian academic dominance, and there, teachers and students both can tell you all about the cheating. Collaborative cheating also includes splitting up homework assignments and texting answers on in-school tests and quizzes. All but one of the schools mentioned in that story are heavily Asian (Piedmont is not). I wrote part of this article at a pizza parlor in the late afternoon, packed full of students from one of the local high schools (80% Asian), openly “collaborating” on homework in late August. And I don’t mean “what’s the answer to question 9” but “we’re doing the front page, can you guys take the back side?” and then everyone switches answers. When you hear of Asian kids talking about all the hours they spend on homework, take it with a lot of salt. School of Dreams backs up the collaborative cheating on tests and the wasted time on homework.

The third category of cheating is “prior knowledge”—students are aware of the specific content of the test before taking it. Again, prior knowledge cheating occurs in every day classes as a way to get As on tests, as well as national tests. Students take advantage of prior knowledge in school by breaking in or in some other way obtaining the tests ahead of time. Students caught in the widespread cheating scandal at Stuyvesant High had both provided answers for their strong tests and received them for their weak tests—and this NY Magazine article makes it clear that cheating at New York City’s top high school is endemic and common. Notice that none of the schools mention the dominant race of the students involved, but the hints are there and all but one of the example schools are over 40% Asian. The North Carolina school, Panther Creek High School, is only 16% Asian, but it’s in a highly educated area, the students involved were all top-tier, and did you notice the mention of parental pressure? Dead giveaway. Some kids use the TA gig—TA for a teacher, get copies of the tests ahead of time (or in some cases change the grades) and either trade or sell.

Then there’s the national high stakes prior knowledge cheating scandals, in which the parties get the actual test information, sometimes from the Korean hagwons who pay testers to take pictures of the test, sometimes from principal whose brother works at a SAT academy that clearly has a large Asian clientele. (Wait–Asian schools in Plano, Texas? No way. Way: 32% Asian. Yeah, surprised me, too.)

(I’ve been talking about my work for a few months, and a friend just came back from taking her acupuncture board tests, shocked. She noticed all the “Asian testers” (no idea what countries) were disappearing into a large conference room, so she meandered down that way and discovered that they were all in a room with rows of laptops, typing ferociously. They weren’t studying. They were entering the questions for later testers.)

Whitney High School’s admission test was, and probably is, highly vulnerable to prior knowledge cheating. Back in the 90s, a test prep company bought a copy of the custom test from McGraw Hill, who created the test. Then later problems occurred with the essay portion. Cheating was so rampant that Whitney now uses CST scores and an essay—and of course, a private tutoring company, one started by an Asian (Brian Tom), and been around for 30 years (you gotta wonder, at least I do, if it was involved in the earlier shenanigans) is happy to tutor kids on the essay and the CST—that is, the California state tests.

In writing this piece, I have steeped myself in cheating articles, and this discovery of CST tutoring still caught me by surprise. White kids also don’t really care about their low-stakes state test scores, whereas Asian kids can tell me exactly what their last state test results were, because their parents get quite annoyed if they aren’t Advanced in every subject. And for that reason, I can’t dismiss the possibility that Asian kids are cheating on their state tests, too. Given that many state tests are given over a six or eight week period, I very much wonder if the tutoring companies aren’t buying copies or pictures of tests off of willing administrators.

Two actual data points to consider: in my first article, I mentioned the increased number of Asians getting high verbal scores on the SAT, during a period when far more recent Asian immigrants and nationals are taking the test. I find this….unlikely, and the fact that it hasn’t been investigated is pretty stunning. I also find it odd that far fewer Asians take the ACT (69,000 in 2012) than take the SAT (192,500 in the same year), when the ACT is taken by more students. Both are suggestive of cheating patterns—although they may also simply reflect the fact that SAT “academies” are better versed in gaming the SAT.

Go to any Asian school and ask the teachers. Ask the kids. And when the kids complain that gosh, everyone thinks we all cheat, ask them why. I do, and the kids always look shamefaced.

As if this whole story weren’t troubling enough, it seems a great deal of the cheating is facilitated by the schools, which are run primarily by white people. It’s not the kids who are arranging the weak proctors, who fold when the kids protest at changing seats. It’s not the kids who are refusing to expel students who’ve cheated on tests. So why is that happening? (Interestingly, the white male Stuyvesant principal was replaced, as a result of the cheating scandal, by an Asian female principal.)

I wonder about payoffs. Given its prevalence in China, Korea, and India and given the cheating history I’ve just outlined, it’s hard not to wonder if the practice isn’t continuing. The parents certainly aren’t in any hurry to assimilate; they view American kids as negative influences. (and when the Asians in question say “American”, they mean “whites”, as in this pretty horrifying tale of the fraud in Chinese English teaching industry.)

However, there’s also something that I don’t see reported much, but is common knowledge among teachers in Asian schools: many of the parents, who are recent immigrants, are ruthlessly and endlessly demanding. (This story focuses on Japanese parents in their native country, but remember, I’m talking about recent immigrants.) I know teachers who have quit Asian schools because of the 100 or more emails they get daily, demanding that grades be changed reconsidered. I can easily envision a proctor fearing the mountain of crap poured on his head if he held the line and forced kids to change seats, so instead just shrugs and hopes for the best. I’m not excusing it. But I can see it.

So is the cheating enabled by payoffs or fear? Beats me. Is this cheating just as prevalent among high-achieving whites and long-established Asian Americans? Not in my experience, which is not to say that these kids don’t cheat at all. But really rich kids usually have parents who buy their way in, and upper income “American” (and here, I mean all races) kids do not, as a rule, feel the same type of pressure that the recent Asian immigrant kids feel from their parents. Wouldn’t it be cool if reporters actually investigated, though?

As the universities know, these same kids go off to college and cheat some more.

I am not excusing their discrimination. I am attempting to explain it. Some version of this next occurs:

The universities look at the resumes of all Asian kids—recent immigrants, long-established natives, nationals—and know that many of them are fraudulent. They know that many of the kids they accept will not be able to function on their campus, whereas others will be able to get great grades so long as they cheat. They know that many of the students don’t have the inquisitive mind, genuine interest in intellectual pursuits that universities like to see in students (or pretend they do). But the universities want the great, if often fraudulent, stats to puff up their numbers for the rankings systems, to offset the athlete, the legacies (for privates), and the Kashawn Campbells (for publics). And so they try to minimize it, while still getting what they want—an improved profile, out of state fees for four years, instead of just one, while not overloading the campus with too many Asians.

That’s disgusting. But if that’s not bad enough—and it is—here’s the thing: the cheating I describe perpetuates two frauds. The first, of course, benefits the cheaters and their schools at both high school and university level. But the second perpetuates a much larger misconception: People really believe that our top high school students are taking ten-twelve AP courses during their high school year, maintaining 4.5 GPAs, and have the underlying knowledge one would expect from such study. But this almost certainly isn’t true. And once you understand the reality, it’s hard not to wonder about all the “weeding out courses” in organic chemistry and other brutal STEM college courses, the ones that Americans are abandoning in large numbers. The willingness to accept the cheating, to slap it on the wrist if that, is leading to lies that convince a lot of American kids that they aren’t smart enough for tough courses because they don’t cheat and aren’t aware that others are.

No one is going to pay any attention to this problem. Usually, Republicans/conservatives are willing to point out that supposedly racist beliefs are founded in valid stereotypes, and I find it pretty fascinating that they are practically gleeful about the discrimination against Asians, not because they approve, but because of what they see it revealing about Asian superiority, chortling at the need for “affirmative action for whites”, practically spiking the ball in their declarations that whites just aren’t up for the task of competing in a global market. I was originally confused, but have concluded that any reason to razz white liberals for racism is too good to be missed. Plus, reformers jump on the bandwagon because they think the news will help them convince whites that American schools suck. Others, like Charles Murray, are simply bothered by the lack of consistent standards. Liberals just ignore the news.

But at base, the Asian discrimination and the Kashawn Campbell story both reveal that our college admissions system is corrupt, that they are using students to build the metrics they want, rather than finding the students they want. I don’t know what to do about it. Fortunately, though, I just set out to explain why the discrimination happens, not offer any answers.

[Note: Given the comments of pseudoerasmus below, I want to be really clear: I am asserting that the stereotype of recent Asian immigrants exists, and I am reasonably sure the stereotype is why universities are discriminating against Asians. I also think the stereotype is accurate but not absolute. People who want me to prove the stereotype are out of luck. I’m just the messenger with an opinion. I’ve said the discrimination is wrong, regardless of the stereotype. That’s not just a bunch of words.]


About educationrealist

188 responses to “Asian Immigrants and What No One Mentions Aloud

  • anon

    Well, about collaboration… say you have two (it’s an example) students who split up an assignment, each doing half and copying the other’s half. They each turn it in and get perfect scores. How does that demonstrate that they don’t have the knowledge you’d expect from someone who did the assignment? Doesn’t it demonstrate that they do?

    What’s described there sounds less like appearing to know more than you do, and more like appearing to have spent more time than you did.

    • John

      It is well known that teachers grade on effort more than ability. The student is cheating on effort.

    • surfer

      You have a point, but there is also the ability to spend more time on a part of the work.

      Where the homework is just basic daily drill, than I think they are just cheating themselves by copying (whether half or all is copied). Where the work is high stakes (e.g. weekly homework of 3 tricky problems in a quantum mechanics college course), than the collaboration has a more serious effect on the grade and allows kids to glide by without learning the topic.

      Than again, I hate how professors do these ballbuster weekly homework assignments. Greatly prefer more simple, progressive, drill or semi-drill style problems. But college professors like the ballbusters because it is less work to grade and because they don’t understand how the mind learns better by small progressive steps.

  • mindweapon

    Reblogged this on Mindweapons in Ragnarok and commented:
    Educational Realist points out that Asians often cheat to get their academic success. This is true to a degree, though I knew plenty of Asians that were very competent in math and science, and some cheaters as well. But the point he’s missing is that at least the Asians care enough to cheat. American kids are just like “whatever, I’ll major in psychology instead.” And the fact is that the Asians have “science and engineering high schoools” where the kids get the equivalent of a BS in high school.

    • Latias

      What does it mean “care enough to cheat”? Clearly many of those Asian have little regard to actually mastering the academic content, and instead only want the prestige and socioeconomic rewards for high academic tests. This the primary reason why high SAT scores and admission into Ivy League schools are highly valued.

      • Maureen Martin

        @Latias It’s sad that White children don’t care about their future and that they see Asians as uber-smart when they probably only appear that way due to all the cheating.

      • Latias

        It is likely that the apathy is caused by despair. If society has the semblance of meritocracy, then many students would rationally conclude that they do not have the abilities or accomplishments to succeed in a meritocratic society. Perhaps those white children as realistic about their dismal prospects in a globalized competitive labor market, as HBDers claim to be about the prospects of improving URM/NAM test scores, academic achievement, and socioeconomic outcomes. They realize their intellectual limits and adopted a fatalistic stance.

    • Maureen Martin

      Meritocracy? Surely you jest.

      Whites can’t compete? Again, high comedy.

      If Asians were so darned smart, they would be going to world class universities in THEIR countries. The would be seeking out career opportunities in THEIR countries. Yet, they flock to the United States to get these things from “dumb” White Americans. Ha ha!

      • Latias

        I said “perceived to be” and that means that the United States is actually organized to be a meritocracy or it merely seems to be a meritocracy. There is indeed a mythos that American is a meritocracy or at least supposed to be one.

        Actually, some say that only “dumb” Europeans go to American Universities. Also, the University of Tokyo is quite respectable.

      • Maureen Martin

        You can point out what “some say” all you want but Asians and other non-Whites FLOCK to the United States and other predominantly White countries. Why is that if we are so dumb?

        And believe me, these White kids know that we don’t live in a meritocracy, they just don’t know what can be done about it.

      • mindweapon

        Who said whites can’t compete? They just aren’t as motivated as the Asians. They drop their science or engineering major for psychology or sociology.

        THey need better preparation before they go to campus — ideally, to have the basic freshman math/science courses — calculus up to calc 2 at least, calc based physics, gen chem, before their first day of university. you can’t count on the university to teach you this stuff effectively. they are more about presenting the material they’ll be testing on, and you can sink or swim. so you need to show up ready to swim, which a huge percentage of them aren’t.

      • GordoCooper

        “It’s sad that White children don’t care about their future and that they see Asians as uber-smart when they probably only appear that way due to all the cheating.”

        Correct, White children are being deliberately demotivated and disincintivised by the mainstream media and the establishment in general. A race war is being waged against us.

      • Matt

        Darn right! If they are so smart why haven’t I heard of their universities on the caliber of Stanford, Harvard, Yale, or Princeton? They seem to flock to the White countries and take jobs in revolutionary fields that wouldn’t otherwise exist if brilliant Whites didn’t create them.
        That is the cold hard truth.

      • anonymousskimmer


        I don’t know why you haven’t heard of Tsinghua, Tokyo, the IITs, etc…. Possibly because of the tendency of U.S. media, to navel gaze the U.S.?

        The U.S. News rankings are U.S. only. And the only reason most people have heard of even Oxford and Cambridge is due to the anglophone nature of the U.S.. The Times World University Rankings rank ETH Zürich as #14 in the world, and I’ve never heard of it.

      • anonymousskimmer

        Darn it. Edited before posting and left a dangling comma.

      • Powerlurker (@Powerlurker)


        Most international university rankings like the Times World University Rankings are primarily for the use of aspiring graduate students planning to get a Ph.D abroad (note that 60-62.5% of the score in the Times rankings comes from research). The IITs aren’t terribly well regarded by the rankings you mentioned anyway.

    • PH

      I love your article and only have one suggestion. It is fairly easy to see if a class is mostly Asian. Google the graduation photo for the schools you are writing about. For instance, I used google images to look up the graduation photo for Packer Collegiate Institute for the last few years. I can make out few if any students that are Asian.

  • James Thompson

    A fascinating and disturbing account. Forgive my transatlantic ignorance, but can student cheat on NAEP tests? With a colleague we have just published a paper on the changes in results, including narrowing of gaps between Europeans on one hand and African Americans and Hispanics on the other hand. Is the superiority of American Asians over American Europeans on scholastic tests partly due to cheating? Also, do students cheat on IQ tests?

    • Latias

      People do cheat on the sacrosanct SAT.

      • Ruth

        This is a fascinating read, and based on the facts mentioned in this post it appears that an entire industry has sprung up in many Asian immigrant communities specifically geared towards preparing kids for elite college admissions. I would hypothesize that this accounts for the extreme overrepresentation of Asians among SAT high scorers, high school math/science olympiad medalists, and so forth, because in the minds of the folks involved in that industry, success in those contests is heavily correlated with admissions success. However, this proportion quickly tapers off in college and beyond, when these same kids have to be more independent in terms of their decision making and no longer have the advantage of after school academies or tutors keeping them on track. I think it is very possible that many of the Asian participants in those activities did so for the express purpose of getting into a great college, even if the activities may not have been in their area of interest at all.

        As an Asian kid whose parents (particularly mother) deviated from the typical Asian immigrant mold in many ways, I still recall the time one of my mom’s friends showed her a Chinese language newspaper that was widely circulated among the immigrant community in the greater Los Angeles area, and it contained multiple advertisements for those types of academies purporting to guarantee admission to at least one top college. Both of us were utterly floored. What stood out to us was that in all those discussions, the notion of pursuing an activity for its own sake – and not necessarily associated with potential admissions success – was viewed as quixotic at best.

        Based on my own experience and those of other Asian kids I know, I do think that many of these kids are extraordinarily bright and hard-working. And in terms of innate intelligence, I do not believe there is any issue at all. What worries me is the prevalence of the single-minded focus on a very narrowly defined view of success – such that it leads to the cheating and other unscrupulous behaviors you outlined in your post.

    • educationrealist

      To clarify, I am not suggesting that Asians don’t have a slightly higher IQ than whites. I do wonder if it means something different, just as I’ve wondered if IQ means something slightly different (in the opposite direction) for blacks. But I’m not enough of an expert to know.

      I am deeply skeptical of NAEP scores in big cities like DC, even though I am well aware of all the reasons why it shouldn’t be possible. I have no proof, just skepticism.

      • Maureen Martin

        IQ is AN indicator of intelligence but it certainly isn’t the only one. I would suggest a look at the type of societies (in spite of imperfections) that Whites have built vs. the type of societies built by other races. Currently, countries built by Europeans are STILL cited as the best places on earth to live.

        The fact that the US Gov continues to allow virtually anyone to come into this country while looking the other way while they game the system (not to mention openly giving many of them monies every month while trying to reneg on social security for our senior citizens who have paid into the system) only provided further proof of the ongoing genocide that is being perpetrated against my people-Europeans.

      • Matt

        Asians have built pretty decent societies in recent years. Japan is a pretty good place to live. One of the biggest problems is overcrowding, but that can’t be blamed on the race itself. China is a crap place to live, but so is Russia. Communism does that. This is not to support large scale Asian immigration, I think it is undesirable at current levels. But it doesn’t really say anything about innate in intelligence. It may be the result of other character traits, though, and culture. This article makes a lot of points about that:

      • elijahlarmstrong

        Maureen, having a higher quality of life doesn’t necessarily mean you are more intelligent.

      • BAF


        Grouping Europeans into one big lump isn’t fair. For example, the European League of IQ Scores compiled by Richard Lynn shows Germans and Dutch scores at 107. V. Bui did a more accurate study using only one test with German and Dutch scores at 110. Flynn adjusted those scores to 111. Clearly, Germans and Dutch have higher scores than Japanese and Chinese.

        This score is particularly evident considering German contributions.

    • Steve Sailer

      I’ve wondered the same thing about the NAEP. Or, to take the opposite perspective, how much of NAEP performance differences between states are due to different amounts of effort teachers make to get students to work hard on the NAEP? For example, Texas does well on the NAEP with each ethnicity being above the national average. Is this real, or does Texas just badger students into trying harder on a low stakes test?

      Beats me.

      • educationrealist

        Texas NAEP scores are at least in part because they kept out their sped kids for years. They’ve been told not to, but only since 2011 or so.

        Teachers aren’t involved with NAEP. I had kids selected for it before, and they go to a separate room.

        If NAEP cheating occurs, it has to be at the administrator level, or in the selection of kids.

    • Matt

      It doesn’t have to cheating, just effort. The only thing these State standardized tests are used for is class placement for the low achievers, so there isn’t much incentive to do well. Unless your parents really care, and Asian parents are much more likely to care.

  • Jim

    “genuine interest in intellectual pursuits that universities like to see in students” – Universities in the US for the most part do not give a rat’s ass about genuine interest in intellectual pursuits on the part of undergraduates.

  • FD

    As far as SAT vs ACT prevalence, consider and how Asians are distributed across the US. Can’t think of any significant Asian populations in the ACT zone aside from Chicago.

  • Sisyphean

    I’ve had the opportunity on occasion to chat at length and candidly with Indian folks in the IT realm. According to them, impersonation cheating is very common in IT interviews because ‘American’ managers are unable to tell one accented voice from another. Essentially Indian guys employed in IT shops advertise their services on Indian websites and do the phone screen interview for a fee.

    The above came up in conversation after I mentioned that I’d noticed how interviews by Indian technical folks always felt like a multiple choice test. I’d assumed it was just because they were so used to taking and passing tests that it was ingrained for them and that was just how they understood testing someone’s competence. I only learned later when I started doing those interviews that the reality was that as soon as I strayed from the test question formula to discuss generalities of architecture or design, or their feelings about the merits of one or the other in different situations (i.e. there is no right answer only a right attitude/approach), then things would generally go South for the interviewee and fast.

    It’s unfortunate that teachers have so little time to craft tests because it seems that actually assessing cheating students like you mention above might be a fun challenge. Develop several tests, change the answers around every once in a while, rotate through them randomly, don’t trust anyone to help you, etc. Of course the email load would triple the day after. You’d have to have a thick skin, or be a masochistic nut (like me).


    • educationrealist

      Wow, that’s interesting. I never had that experience, but then when I worked with Indians back in the 80s, they were generally quite competent. I think only when things exploded out of scale did the cheating start to affect us over here.

      • rec1man

        75% of Indians get affirmative action due to being lower IQ – lower caste. The recent flood has lots of affirmative action candidates. One quick way to screen is to check for English fluency even for IT or Engineering jobs and ask for a GRE score

  • oogenhand

    Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    Learn Korean, Chinese, or Japanese. It will be very useful to everybody.

  • John

    “Cheating is a big problem in American high schools, and doom and gloom stories like this emphasize that high-achiever cheating is on the rise.”

    The link at “doom and gloom” is broken

  • Jim

    The use of the broad term “Asians’ in discussing racial differences in IQ can be misleading. Populations in the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia generally have significantly lower average IQ levels than those found in Western Europe. East Asian populations generally have significantly higher average IQ’s than Europeans.

    • Polynices

      In the US, “Asian” means “East Asian”. It’s in the UK and elsewhere that it means other people from the continent of Asia. Don’t quibble.

    • educationrealist

      I specified recent immigrants from China, Korea, and India. Then went to Asian.

      • SP

        I don’t understand why you mix East Asians and Indians together. They have almost nothing in common.

        East Asians and Indians are of different races, with totally different cultures, different value systems, different languages, different histories, different religions and philosophies. different mindsets/mentalities, different social economic statues, drastically diffferent average PISA scores and IQ levels… strictly speaking they don’t not even belond to teh same geographic area – East Asians are on teh Eurasia continent plate, while Indians are on the Indian sub-continent plate that floated over from African plate.

        To say that the Indians are similar to the Chinese or Koreans is about same as to say that Somalis are similar to the Germans and Brits. Why not?

        Keeping lumping Indians with East Asians in whatever context is becoming ridiculously ignorant , the same as the Tom Fredman type daydreamers.

        East Asians are the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. Many “vietnamese” in the US are of ethnic Chinese background or being partially Chinese by ancestry as Vietnam, particularly Northern Vietnam was China’s vassel state for 1000s of years with considerable Han Chinese migrations there.

        Indians in the US are mostly from highly selected H1B visa stock, the best of the best within 1.2 billions Indians in India. Go visit India then you know what Indians are about.

      • educationrealist

        I’m not conflating them. they are quite different. But they are similar in that their population is exploding over here, their parents have absurd expectations, and cheating is a cultural norm.

        You’re wrong about Indians, by the way. Many of them are “family chain” immigrants.

    • Matt

      People from the middle east are rarely described as “Asian,” at least in America.

  • Mike

    Of no particular importance: Over twenty years ago, as a graduate student, I was a teacher/coach at the local Ronkin Educational Group’s SAT academy. The owner of the test prep academy in Texas linked above was my boss. Just sayin’

  • thrasymachus33308

    Reblogged this on Deconstructing Leftism and commented:
    Science, technology, art, and craft are the property of Europeans-
    The Japanese are superb engineers and craftsmen, but can’t really produce anything new. The weakness America has it is substantially British, which is to say industrially mediocre.

    • anonymousskimmer

      Don’t confuse marketing/sales (business in general) with “Science, technology, art, and craft”.

      Japan is doing pretty well in recent years in physics Nobel laureates.

      Spending on basic research is declining in the U.S. (aggregate of Business and Government financed research), IIRC. And is also doing so in at least one European country (the UK).

    • James

      It’s so pathetic to say that the Japanese can’t create anything new. Look at the list of most innovative countries. After the US, it’s basically all East Asian countries, along with Germany and Canada, which has a much greater East Asian/Indian population per capita than we do in the USA.

      White people who feel the need to trot out these pathetic generalities against Asians, which can be easily disputed, as no different from blacks throw out false assertions against whites. Deal with the reality, they’ve been living in poor countries and now are catching up. And despite any cultural differences, they are extremely peaceful and conscientious people.

    • Arachanski

      “The weakness America has it is substantially British”
      The biggest European ethnic group in US is actually German.

  • pseudoerasmus

    “test scores with absolutely zero link to underlying ability”

    You allege cheating & gaming result in Asian test scores & resumes unrelated to underlying ability. What’s the evidence ? I don’t mean evidence that gaming and cheating take place. I mean, where is the evidence of this gross mismatch between results on paper and underlying ability ? Do Asians who get into top universities end up doing badly in their courses ? Oh wait, there’s more cheating at universities. OK. But do Asians gravitate toward the easy courses, like affirmative action admissions ? Oh wait, Asians cluster in science & engineering and end up cheating in the whole curriculum. But if the results on paper show “zero link to underlying ability”, this disparity has to show up SOMEWHERE in real life outcomes. Do Asians suck at spelling bees ? Do they fail disproportionately at bar exams & admissions ? Medical and dental certifications ? Do they earn incomes lower than might be expected from educational attainments ? Are they thin on the ground in finance, engineering, IT and other sectors which demand actual “underlying ability” ? Come on, cough up. Where does the alleged mismatch between ability and paper results show up ???

    • educationrealist


      Less delicately put: They cheat. And when they don’t cheat, they game tests in a way utterly incomprehensible to the Western mind, leading to test scores with absolutely zero link to underlying ability. Or both. Or maybe it’s all cheating, and we just don’t know it. Either way, the resumes are functional fraud.

      This article was about cheating. I said I hope at some point to put together a piece on Asian nationals and cheating, but the one that’s hardest of all is the one that says okay, so they don’t always cheat—maybe—but even if they don’t, their test scores don’t match what we consider reality.

      So some of the things you ask about will come in a later post. Some won’t.

      “Do Asians who get into top universities end up doing badly in their courses ?”

      Yes, actually, at the schools that track this. But that’s for another post.

      • pseudoerasmus

        What I asked for is pretty basic. If you can’t quantity the prevalence of cheating & gaming, then you must quantify their effects, in order for your claims to have some basis in reality. If so many Asians are getting grades and scores unrelated to underlying ability, their inability must show up somewhere.

      • educationrealist

        Okay, there’s like five things going on here.

        1) You are asking for evidence that they game the tests–that is, not cheating–but have no underlying knowledge. That’s for another post.

        2) You are asking for evidence that they cheat. I said it was anecdotal.

        3) My claim is that universities are discriminating against Asians because they have stereotyped both recent Asian immigrants and Asian nationals as being prone to cheating. A lot. That’s the claim. If you want to refute it, you need to argue that universities are discriminating against Asians for other reasons.

        4) I am furthermore saying that there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the claim that recent immigrant Asians cheat. You want me to prove that this cheating shows up in other areas. I don’t have to.

        5) You are distracting on the point I made up front, which was that Asians, even if they don’t cheat, are gaming the test. That’s a different issue, I agree I need to prove it or at least suggest proof. When I do that post, you can come back and howl at me.

      • pseudoerasmus

        No. There is exactly and only one thing going on here. You claim, the metrics of Asian achievement do not reflect their “true” underlying ability. Whether this is due to gaming, cheating, warbling or Scottish caber-tossing, is neither here nor there, as far as I’m concerned. But if those Asian metrics overstate their ability, then this overstatement should be reflected in real-life outcomes. Where are they reflected ?

      • pseudoerasmus

        If gaming & cheating by Asians results in inflated achievement metrics, then the gap between their paper ability and their real ability should show up somewhere in real-life outcomes. If they don’t show up, there are two possibilities :

        (1) The anecdotal evidence of gaming & cheating greatly exaggerates the scale of the problem.


        (2) The gaming and cheating are done by obsessive-compulsives who want to make sure of good results even though they will get them anyway, without the gaming and the cheating.

      • Latias


        (1) Perhaps the labor market already adjusted for one’s college prestige or SAT scores in Asians; in other words, the market requires more accomplishments and credentials from Asian people in order to demonstrate a similar competence/ability of a white person since the market already discerns that Asian credentials are inflated relative to their innate ability and performance in an non-academic environment.

        (2) Also, the relevant measure of “performance” may not be proficiency in a “g-loaded” task outside of academia, but simply in one’s socioeconomic attainment and career prestige. One can hypothesize that they would be no significant difference in job performance for additional marginal “g” once a certain threshold of “g” has been reached. Employers typically believe the more “g” the better, and that is why they recruit from elite institutions to full prestigious positions, but additional “g” contributes little to performance once someone is in that position. Thus the economic value of “g” is derived from the value others place on it, not on any inherent advance it affords one on the job, and this allows others who have “high-g” credentials (not necessarily high-g itself) to obtain superior socioeconomic and career outcomes even if the performance gain from “g” is negligible.

      • Latias

        In other words, the labor market is not as “g-loaded” as it seems to be except perhaps in the initial stages of personnel selection. Outside of personnel selection, there is no “real-life” differences in “outcomes” driven by variance in “g” once a certain threshold has been reached.

      • pseudoerasmus


        Your speculations are….not implausible. But the problem is they merely add to the chain of speculations. ER alleges widespread cheating and/or gaming amongst Asians. Since most of the evidence is anecdotal, no one really knows what is the true scale of the problem. But she nonetheless boldly affirms that the test scores of a large subset of Asians, have “absolutely zero link to underlying ability” and their “resumes are functional fraud”. That’s an extravagant claim given the lack of documentation of the scale of the fraud. So I suggested a way to indirectly test the claim : the mismatch between achievement metrics and true ability must manifest itself somewhere. Now, you’ve given plausible hypotheses about why that mismatch doesn’t show up. Not only have you added to the list of uncorroborated claims, but you have also made ER’s claims unfalsifiable !

        By the way, you don’t need to put quotation marks around g.

      • educationrealist

        test scores of a large subset of Asians, have “absolutely zero link to underlying ability” and their “resumes are functional fraud”.

        PE, I honestly don’t know how to say this any more directly. I DO NOT BOLDLY AFFIRM this. I am describing a stereotype.

      • pseudoerasmus

        Latias, regarding your point #2. Are you saying the cheaters/gamers do, or do not, meet a “certain threshold of g” below which job performance would suffer ?

      • pseudoerasmus

        >I DO NOT BOLDLY AFFIRM this. I am describing a stereotype.

        A stereotype which you have described as “accurate” in a disclaimer you made to the blog in light of my comments !

        > Note: Given the comments of pseudoerasmus below, I want to be really clear: I am asserting that the stereotype of recent Asian immigrants exists, and I am reasonably sure the stereotype is why universities are discriminating against Asians. I also think the stereotype is accurate but not absolute.

        Apparently your escape hatch is “but not absolute”. Of course that just means it’s on average true.

      • Latias

        I understand the nature of your objection, and I was positing an alternative hypothesis that undercuts your key assumption: “real ability” g does manifest itself in “real-life outcomes”. I would believe that the cheaters/gamers cheat/game primarily to obtain signalling credentials, and while an artificial boost from cheating/gaming may give them some advantageous treatment by educational institutions and recruiters, the difference of their “real” and “artificial ability”, which was gained by cheating/gaming, is practically insignificant in real world outcomes. It is unlikely that the difference is more than 100 SAT points on a 1600 scale, and if the cheater/gamer has a real ability of 1400, then the inflation from gaming makes no practical difference although it would have an adverse impact on those who obtain their scores “legitimately” — that is without cheating or gaming — since it would exclude them from highly coveted employment and educational slots. In order for the gain to be more, then one needs more extraordinary means such as a substitute to take the SAT for them, as coaching does not offer profound gains (in this sense it can make an 1100 Ivy material),

      • pseudoerasmus

        Latias, perhaps you are too focused on the humdrum end of the labour market. Wouldn’t the geek-intensive jobs in software, finance, medicine, engineering, etc. show greater returns to the marginal unit of g than in law, or in management consultancy, or as marketing executive at Proctor & Gamble ? And why do you restrict the field of evidence to the labour market ? If cheaters & gamers are getting into top universities, some sort of underperformance should manifest itself somewhere along the way before they even get to business hiring. Do the cheaters/gamers take easier courses ? Do they take the hard courses but get poorer grades ? Remember, ER thinks the outcomes of brutal college sifting courses at like organic chemistry are also suspect, so the effects of cheating & gaming may be momentous enough to affect Americans’ willingness to enter STEM fields ! And how about seeking advanced degrees in STEM or doing research. Do the frauds do more or less of that ? Or do these characters just keep faking it all the way to their post-doc research fellowship with Big Pharma ?

      • Wise B

        The massive, order of magnitude over-representation of Asians on everything from the Putnam, to the USAMO, to the USAPho, to spelling bees, to Davidson Fellows, to Morgan Prize winners, to Intel Science Talent winners belies edurealists’s claims. Many of the aforementioned contests need a g at approx +4 sds. Pretty certain edurealist has no clue what he’s talking about if he thinks all of these tests are also being gamed. I’d not worry about his/her bitter race-mongering. Also, EdR likely can’t point to any study which shows that Asians underperform with respect to their test scores after controlling for major, though I doubt intellectual honesty is his/her goal here.

      • educationrealist

        Actually, there is quite a bit of evidence showing underperformance. I never got around to part 2 and 3 of this. It’s still on the list. However, I state in several places that Asians would STILL be overrepresented, and I’m not at all unhappy about that. Stop being such a pill.

    • Matt

      Look at the Asian advantage in SAT/ACT scores vs the Asian advantage on GPA. The advantage on GPA is much larger. Its much easier to cheat on your GPA than on the SAT. It is probably a combination of more Asian effort and cheating, which are often the same thing.

      • pseudoerasmus

        Read what EducationRealist says. Test scores are also the result of cheating and/or gaming. So if the test scores are substantially overstated, then the mismatch between scores and ability has to show up somewhere in real life. If it doesn’t, then either the gaming/cheating is exaggerated, or paradoxically the fraudulent scores reflect true ability !

        You suggested the latter possibility by observing that cheating seems to happen primarily amongst the high-ability kids. In line with that I suggest this counterintuitive possibility : cheating/gaming happens most amongst people with the least to benefit from cheating/gaming. At the top end the stakes are so high and the competition so fierce that students seek to eke out the slighest advantage. It’s like sports. Athletic competitions are often decided on the smallest margins, and cheating helps to close that gap of 1/10th of a second in the 100m race.

      • Matt

        You do have to account for the fact that these universities discriminate against Asians. If the universities graded on colorblindness, you would expect the fact that Asians are more likely to cheat to work against them. Discrimination, though, means that that the less intelligent Asian cheaters are weeded out. You can see that based on the fact that while Asian students have better GPAs and AP scores(or simply more tests) than Whites at these universities, they also have slightly higher(sometimes significantly higher) SAT scores. The SAT is a much better measure of innate ability than GPA or AP tests, which were the subject of Ed’s post. If colleges made admissions decisions on a truly race-neutral basis, you would expect the Asian dominance in GPA and AP tests to allow them to advance into universities with lower SAT scores, and thus be more likely to fail out of advanced tracks.

      • pseudoerasmus

        Matt, that’s a good argument. However, Ed.R. appears to believe SAT scores are also inflated by gaming and/or cheating, at least amongst 1st- and 2nd-generation Asians and Asian nationals. Moreover, Ed.Realist has opined previously ( ) that Asians are overrepresented at UC campuses because of their grades. Ed has never really made clear whether she believes the overrepresentation of Asians due to grades, implies that many Asians with lower SAT scores than whites have been admitted.

      • anonymousskimmer


        Ed is a he (I don’t remember where I read this but am 95% confident it is so).

        Cheating your way to the top, if you’re even somewhat bright, generally won’t show up in terms of real-world performance.

        The undergraduate cohort at the top, say, 10 universities (barring CalTech) is less than 1% of the SAT/ACT taking population. The average SAT/ACT/IQ score at these 10 universities is lower than the 99th percentile.

        The bar in the top schools, in the most selective courses, even in the STEM disciplines, is not that high (again, barring CalTech). As long as you’re in the top, say, 10% of ability, you can graduate, and likely with a relatively decent GPA. (It probably doesn’t hurt that Harvard, e.g., sets a typical upper limit of 4 courses a term, when students at lesser-ranked schools have more typical loads of 5+ courses.)

        If you go to a slightly lower-ranked school (a Duke, U Washington, etc…) the bar is even lower.

        I’ve a friend with a recent HYPS Ph.D. whose SAT/GRE composite scores are lower than mine. My highest degree is what the British would call a 2:2 (B- average from a regional comprehensive). I scored the class average GPA (B+) in a 300-level course at this regional comprehensive after informing the professor I’d skip all the classes after the first of four exams. I still only got a couple of hours study time (mostly from the powerpoints) for each exam. The bar is that low.

        Schools don’t want people to flunk out! The higher ranked the school, the more this is true.

        Even at the best schools you don’t have to be all that in terms of underlying ability to get an A/A+ average GPA. Even at the best companies outside of academia you don’t have to be all that to be an upper-level worker. Glass ceilings and pseudo-caste exist even in the U.S. No one will realize that such-and-such high-level person is not as good as the technician working underneath him (mostly him, even today) because the technician usually isn’t allowed the job opportunities to demonstrate their true capacity. They’ll just think that that level of performance is truly high-caliber.

      • pseudoerasmus

        Anonymousskimmer, your comments would be appropriate if the subject were gaming/cheating amongst the creamiest of the creamiest at the top. Which is why I had the sports analogy earlier with world-class super-sprinters simply shaving fractions of a microsecond off their finishing speed, in order to win against their equally hyper-achieving peers. But ER says that even the SATs are being cheated/gamed, and the cohort she’s talking about literally learns nothing — does not know how to draw a graph even !

      • Latias

        I still find it hard to believe that a 1400 or even a 1200 would not even know how to draw a graph. I thought if someone gets a 1400 without using some surrogate to take the test for you, that person would certain know how to draw graph.

        I went a college with an average SAT score around 1000 and the STEM students do know how to draw graphs.

    • vlad

      I have seen East Asian and South Asian students cheat first hand. They copy all homeworks (every homework–they do not do their own work). They also devise complicated schemes to get copies of exams and distribute them (example: One student will claim that he has to leave early to go back to China/India/Korea/etc. He will then have a cell phone or ear piece and get help on the exam. He will then take a copy of the exam to his friends after he is done. They will have the test already before it is administered, thus acing the test and setting the curve). Also, they pay people to write essays and take standardized tests for them. They pay people to write research papers and thesis/dissertations for them. Nothing they do is authentic. Everything is about “face” and they are not very good workers in the lab or workplace. Unfortunately these cheaters are soaking up all of the spaces in US Universities. US will suffer great decline in innovation because of this “diversity.”

      Note: to be fair, I have also seen Black and Hispanics cheat as well, especially immigrant students.

    • DGrype

      Evidence that Asians’ passage rate of the bar exam is closer to African Americans’ than it is to whites’ and hispanics’.

      University of Michigan Bar Passage 2004-2006: A
      Failure to Replicate Professor Sander’s Results,
      With Implications for Affirmative Action

    • DGrype

      Evidence from Texas that Asians’ mean scores on the bar exam are lower than whites’.

      At least on this one they manage to beat Hispanics.

    • DGrype

      California, whites pass the bar at a higher rate than Asians.

      New York, whites pass the bar at a higher rate than Asians.

      Click to access summary2.pdf

  • Matt

    I’m a high school student myself, and I see cheating all the time. It seems to happen more among the high ability kids, if only because they care more. And my teachers do essentially nothing to prevent it. In my Spanish class last year, most of the class cheated, on every test, off of the native Spanish speakers in the class. Even I cheated, it was too hard to resist the temptation of a guaranteed A. Everyone seemed to ace the tests, the kids who failed failed because they didn’t do their homework. I’m sure my teacher knew, but she probably didn’t care. She was one of those “bad teachers” you hear so much axe-grinding about.

    There was lots of cheating in my AP US History class as well. My girlfriend cheated off of me for every test the entire second semester, so she ended up getting an A in the class. She got a 2 on the test. My teacher was a good teacher, but she did little to prevent the cheating.(She yelled at the class to “be quiet” during tests) My chemistry teacher was the only one who made a serious effort to prevent cheating. And of course, everyone cheats on the homework. Everyone.

    On the AP History test, one girl cheated by videotaping parts the test and sending it to someone on the outside, later receiving the answers. Two girls who didn’t like her seriously considered tattling on her, but they were dissuaded. That may be one reason Whites are more likely to cheat, we fear other kids tattling more than Asians do. Perhaps because Asians get along with each other better. They may be more collaborative than competitive. Asians may need to cheat more, although they have higher IQs than Whites, this advantage is offset by the fact that they are much more likely to take these tests.

    One of my friends had created a program on his graphing calculator, and used it on the ACT. He was proud of himself until I told him how he could have solved it in half the time.

    GPA really is a fraud and if I were running a college I would use it for nothing but tiebreakers. Recently, a college visited us which trumpeted the fact that GPA was the “main focus” of their admissions decision.(I don’t know if that’s true in real life, I suspect it isn’t) The student volunteers who visited were graduates of my school, they for sure knew the fraudulent nature of grades, yet went along with the visiting professors enthusiasm for GPA. What kind of citizens we are raising if in our universities we publicly proclaim ourselves to be a meritocracy; yet everyone knows that a large part of it is a fraud? With this kind of attitude, is it any wonder we can’t have a honest discussion about race? A nation of hypocrites.

    • Sisyphean

      Oh man, now I feel like a complete chump. I was one of those high ability kids who never cheated at anything (unless spending a few weeks studying for SAT/GRE with a study book and practice tests is cheating). I always thought that test scores ought to actually represent the ability of the person being tested. Not once did anyone even hint that this wasn’t the case (in my small town U.S. High-school).

      Obviously I’m here, so I’m no longer so naive but reading this stuff still digs a little. I wouldn’t do anything differently if I could go back. It’s kind of funny too in retrospect because I was accused of cheating by other classmates in high-school. I never understood why they thought I was cheating at the time as it was the tests I did the best on, not the (horribly boring) classroom work.


  • pseudoerasmus

    “Republicans/conservatives are willing to point out that supposedly racist beliefs are founded in valid stereotypes”

    If you say that a stereotype is, on average, true, then you expect to get the statistics that bear out the stereotype. On the question of Asian cheating & gaming the evidence is anecdotal. But the claim that their achievement metrics bear “absolutely zero link to underlying ability” is completely unsubstantiated by evidence.

  • Moses

    Cheating works. Cheating gets people ahead. That’s why people do it.

    I’ve seen it again and again and again in my life.

  • Seguine

    Matt, what state of the Union do you live in?

    ER, in your piece you mention students collaborating on homework: each kid takes a portion of the work, then they swap. But this is considered legit (or used to be) in law school, I believe, where vast amounts of information needs to be researched, outlined and learned for exams. Similarly, kids in high school are assigned group work all the time, for which each student takes a part and contributes to the whole.

    Collaborative “cheating” on the massive homework load students get saddled with in high level classes strikes me as pragmatic and not necessarily dishonorable, particularly in classes that involve little discourse and focus instead of putting kid through paces.

  • Anthony

    Berkeley was caught discriminating against Asians in the early 90s – they were putting a floor on verbal sat scores which didn’t apply to non-Asians. (It would have been reasonable to apply that floor to everyone, or at least all non-AA admits, but that’s not what they did.) I don’t believe this was motivated by a stereotype that Asians cheat – I don’t remember that stereotype. The problem they were “responding” to was of the Asian immigrant who couldn’t speak English, especially the TAs.

    As I recall, the floor was something like 450 on the sat verbal – so low that effectively all non-AA candidates these days meet it, but an applicant could get in back then if they had an sat math in the 700s and a 4+ GPA. If you’re smart enough to get that kind of sat math score, but don’t know English, you probably are smart enough to chest your way to a sat verbal in the mid 500s, I’d think.

  • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse

    I have the “pleasure” of working with some Indians in India and some Indians here in the US.

    The Indians here in the US are generally OK in terms of competence, although I have met one or two who simply faked it.

    Of my Indians in India, two are male and one is female. While the female is competent she is very much lacking in assertiveness.

    The males are capable of monkey see, monkey do coding, but I have caught one of them coding by coincidence (change shit until it works.) They also tend to go for the quick fix rather than the correct fix, and if it is a little out of the ordinary they don’t want to attempt to figure it out.

    • vlad

      Indian code is terrible. Every time I hire an Indian I have to have the code redone. The problem is that because there are a few good Indian programmers, people think every Indian programmer is good. Very stupid thinking.

  • Jason Liu

    Nice shout out to Karen Dillard’s Test Prep (personal shame implied); I actually went to the Plano, TX test prep mentioned back in my high school days, mainly pushed by my parents who saw other parents doing it. I definitely fell into that “cheating prone” high achievement stereotype, Chinese, “good at music,” high grades, high SAT scores blah blah blah 50k tuition college.

    As someone who survived that nonsense and from my experiences and then meeting a bunch more of similar kids from California, DC, NY, and other Asian hotbeds in college (Duke, ~35% Asian when I was there) and now medical school (still lots of California Asians here in Ohio since those California medical schools are so damn hard to get into), I will share my two cents.

    You can quickly split a lot of Asian kids based on 2 over-simplified scales: “potential” and “effort.” Among higher performing students (~top 5-10% class rank) you end up with mostly “high potential, high effort”, “low potential high effort”, and “high potential low effort”.
    Then you can combine that with the parents on an extremely simplified continuum between “tiger” (like the book, on the extreme end) to loose (not so pushy). You can easily imagine that tiger parenting combined with a “low potential high effort” kid would be the recipe for cheating all over the place. I would even surmise that this sort of combination is responsible for a high number of cheaters.

    The kickers: high school curriculum and grading form such a joke that you really cannot tell who is what kind of kid until you see them a year or two out of whatever college they decided to overpay for since the cheater sorts are scattered all over the country. Or for the professional school sorts, check MCAT scores : namely the verbal section, as coaching for that section is still wildly unreliable. (Well before whatever goofy ass change the AAMC is making)

    Combine that with the fact that which parents were the full blown “tigers” would not correlate well to child-awareness/”how likely is my child to be the Harvard bound valedictorian” for you know that “extra” push to the top. With narcissism crossing all racial and socioeconomic lines, many parents definitely wanted to project some fantastical image of their idealized selves onto their kids. I take most of us can infer the implications of this narcissism.

    And none of what I ranted on even did anything to address social adjustment. Another rant for another day.

  • Mountain

    Ed. We have a teenager who is smart but not nerd smart. He wants to study engineering. (What he really wants to do is fly helo’s for the Marines.) Our plan is to send him to a small private or non UC public university where he won’t be crushed by eggheads, cheaters and the stupidly brutal STEM curriculum. e.g. George Fox University or Chico state. After he graduates he will succeed by dint of his character, personality and native intelligence, and btw the decent education he received. “Your A students will work for your B students and the C students will own the company.”

    We are refugees from the ba. You are right about Asians. All Asians are good at is making money. That is it. But a smart white guy like me will out earn them working less hours because we have verbal skills, people skills and values. EQ if you will.

    • vlad

      Oh please. Don’t kid yourself. Asians will be the elite of this country *if* Whites like you don’t stop bowing down to them. You American Whites are so eager to short change your own kid (send him to Marines? Are you nuts?!! US is always at war with someone!). The smart plan is to do weeder classes at JC, then transfer to the most elite UC or other college he can go to. Then he can go to grad school or get a decent job with very low student debt and a good degree in what he wants.

      Also, EQ is BS. Whites need to get off of their butts, stop studying “diversity,” “sex ed,” “White guilt,” and other useless things in school and apply themselves or they will be cleaning house for the Chinese. That’s a fact.

      Also, the world will be much poorer if Whites decide to sit around and do nothing. There is no evidence that other groups have been or can be as innovative.

  • NYC CA Asian

    Dang, seriously where is the damn straight shooting. First and foremost, Sounds like a EASY solution for a system if true: hire better proctors at higher prices from outside the school system or have 2 proctors at a time. Even at universities, collaboration is encouraged. However, at the end of the day, it’s *results*that matter on final tests so if you can do well (assuming it is well proctored to eliminate cheating), then how you perform on hws and quizzes along the way really doesn’t matter. For folks who are “weaker” at test, it would help to do the HW and go to office hours to demonstrate EFFORT. SECOND, i find it both offensive and stupid to speculate almost exclusively in a negative/superior/racist manner on Asian vs. white vs. black vs. Hispanic in the article. FINALLY, Asians–if you believe they really suck at verbal–may be doing better on the verbal parts of standardized tests because the test have been DUMBED down–even in the mid 90s, I hear how the NY Times (which used to be serious reading) had to reduce the vocabulary it use for the audience. Also, I recall recent article indicating USA student verbal abilities have gone down. IMHO (In my humble opinion), it’s due to all the short hand LOL, cu2 etc used in TEXTING.

  • ckorzeniowski

    Recycling my comment from MW’s blog:

    The college aged, native Chinese I’ve encountered have been almost uniformly lazy. Don’t attend class half the time, play on their phones, and have adopted the slovenly sartorial habits of American students such as wearing sweatpants to class. I’ve heard other anecdotal accounts of how the Red Princelings behave to make me think it’s a trend. Once they have money (or their parents have it) the worker bee mentality shuts down and they become layabouts. The Koreans and Japanese I’ve encountered aren’t anywhere near as bad.

    • vlad

      I know many Chinese people (mostly guys). All of the Chinese men I know currently do not work out of choice because their parents have some money (not very much, but just enough). For example, one UC Berkeley graduate sits at home because his parents allow it. He literally gamed his boss so that he could accept unemployment benefits and sit around. He is 23. I know another Chinese man, who is 45, who does nothing but live in his parents house and surf literally all day. He has three kids, and is divorced because he refused to work. They are not “worker bees.”

    • Michael Gove

      China is a big country with many dozens of kinds of Chinese. To generalize the Chinese (which can be Fujianese, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Beijingers, Northeasterners, Sichuanese) to one while comparing to a small group like Koreans is stunningly ignorant.

      There are lazy Chinese and hardworking Chinese. Some groups may be a bit lazier than others. Same with white people in Massachusetts over Mississippi.

  • Jim

    NYC CA Asian – I believe that the psychometric data doesn’t suggest that East Asians suck at verbal ability. The psychometric data suggests that East Asians and Western Europeans have fairly similar average levels of verbal IQ but that East Asians have a strong advantage at visualspatial/quantitative IQ. Average brain size for East Asians is about 2% greater than Western Europeans. The difference may be largely involved in visualspatial processing.

    • vlad

      Dolphins (cranial capacity of 1400-1700cc) and Neanderthals (mean cranial capacity of 1600cc) also have/had greater brain size than modern humans. Are/were they smarter and better students?

      Did you know that Asian (and other non-Western countries) are given a ten point advantage over Western countries on IQ tests because the IQ tests have a “Western bias?”

      The discussion of academic performance is always biased in favor of anyone who is not White. I wonder why?

  • Bostonian

    Molly Patterson wrote a story “Honors Track” on cheating in high school for the Atlantic in 2012 (available online), I assume based on real-world experiences. ER and others can read the story to see if it confirms their theories.

  • Jim

    Ed – Do you notice much of any difference between Chinese/Korean testtakers and Japanese? Competitive exams go way back in both China and Korea but were not that importtant in Japanese history.

  • pseudoerasmus

    I don’t understand why people keep referencing Japan and the Japanese. There hasn’t been much emigration from Japan to speak of since the 1930s. For the most part Japanese nationals do not attend US universities and when they do it would be primarily for graduate study & postgraduate research. The Japanese you do see in the US are either immigrants of multigenerational standing, or temporary expats with corporate assignments who do not send their children to US colleges.

  • Eric

    I believe this qualifies as a case where correlation does not prove causation.

    Cheating in prestigious and, more to the point, high pressure academic settings has always struck me as a systemic cause-and-effect. As such, there have been mass cheating scandals in prestigious academic settings long before Asians became a prominent American minority group.

    The cheating scandals that have stood out the most to me – as a former soldier – are the service academy cheating scandals. Having served at West Point, I know honor and integrity are constantly, formally, and strictly emphasized and reinforced at the service academies. It’s not just lip service. Even so, the service academies have been rocked by large cheating scandals over the decades that do not feature Asian cadets or midshipmen. The extra demands placed on students at the service academies as a matter of routine and design (there’s no such thing as too much pressure for future combat officers) stretch them extraordinarily thin. In all cases, the cheating has been a rational reaction to systemic pressure and incentives.

    I believe cheating and cutting corners in the college application race have made the standards applied to high-achieving students unrealistic. This trend has driven the inflation of pressure placed on students to something approaching the level that has pushed cadets and midshipmen to cheat despite the very serious consequences for doing so in a system highly unforgiving of cheaters.

    Nowadays, more Asian students populate prestigious academic settings with the commensurate expectations (incentives). Therefore, more Asian students are being driven by the extraordinary systemic pressure and incentives. It looks to me like the ones who are cheating are reacting in the same rational way that many non-Asian academically advanced students from previous American generations reacted under similar conditions.

    That doesn’t tell me that Asian intrinsic capabilities are fraudulently represented anymore than non-Asian American cheaters from previous generations were dumber than their standardized test scores. From what I gather, these Asian students are smart and know their stuff. They don’t need to cheat … if it was only about academic learning. But they’re being driven to it by everything else in the college application race.

    The cause is an unrealistic system that needs reprogramming, not being Asian.

  • asdf

    My high school had one of the top math teams in the country, and a Korean kid there cheated on some of the exams.

    I would not be surprised if Asians cheat given the pressure. I knew a kid that got a 1580/1600 on the SATs and his parents beat him. I’d probably cheat if I was faced with that.

  • the Revision Division

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    […] their kids if they decide to move?  Of course not.  But we suspect immigrants will tend to ‘flood the zone‘ (see the bit about Whitney) and recreate micro-neighborhoods and schools they won’t […]

  • Frank

    Trying to explain the higher academic achievements of Asian students with cheating seems ludicrous. No good students in their right mind would try to cheat the tests because the consequence of being caught is so dire.

    As an Asian parent of two kids, I can tell you why – it is the effort that makes the difference, as simple as that.

    I have a son and a daughter. My son would play video games even before the day of tests whereas my daughter would go over all the homeworks, notes and text books until 1pm. That makes the difference of Grade B/B- or A/A+. So, it does not matter whether you are Asian or not, you have to work very hard to get a straight A every time.

    Pushing the kids can only do so much. my experience is that the really good kids are often self-motivated. I pushed my son with very little results.At the same time, my daughter would do everything by herself.

    Not every Asian kids are so good at school. I know quite a few are pretty bad. However, there seems to be a higher percentage of Asian kids that are very driven.

    Our high school (a public school in the Bay area) has 25% Asian and 40% White. AP classes of the most difficult types are dominated by Asian. The most competitive and demand clubs (robotic and newspaper) have majority of Asian kids in them – they worked extremely hard and won state and national awards. The majority of Ivy leagues acceptance are Asian.

    I dont have a good explanation for the higher percentage of self-driven Asian kids. It is possible that their parents are highly driven (being selected 1 out of 100) so they carry some of that in them.

    • educationrealist

      It’s worth mentioning–again–that I am not talking about all Asians, but recent Korean, Chinese, and Indian immigrants. Second, the cheating is well-established, so your assertion that “no good students in their right mind” would cheat is simply not true. Finally, I don’t think that all the higher academic achievements of Asians are due to cheating.

      Put another way, what exactly is it you think you’re telling me that I not only know, but just said?

      Going by stereotypes, it appears you are not a recent Asian immigrant. First, your English is awfully good. Second, you let your son play videogames and seem okay with him getting a B. But you might just be atypically Chinese or Korean. Hey, it happens.

    • fnlasnm

      No good students in their right mind would try to cheat the tests because the consequence of being caught is so dire.

      What is the consequence? There is no way to be caught cheating on homework. On tests, it is fairly easy to look off someone else’s paper, and its very hard for the teacher to “prove” that a student was doing that. Those are the top sources of cheating as far as GPA goes. I’m in high school, I have seen it myself. And even if someone is caught, what are the “bad consequences” that your children would face? Once on a Spanish test, a kid got caught looking at his phone. “I was texting my girlfriend,” he said. No consequences. People get yelled at for talking during the test. I have never seen someone punished for it. Maybe your children’s school is different, my school is mainly White and Hispanic, middle to upper middle class.

      • Frank

        We are talking about top 10% or 20% students in high schools who have very good GPA and end up with elite universities.

        I dont think the students that you are referring to belong to this group. In schools here, homework is about effort – they are not difficult but need a lot of time. If they have to cheat on homework, they are not likely to get very good grades consistently. Quiz and tests (every 2-3 weeks) typically account for 50% of grades.

        From my experiences with our kids, I can say that maintaining a very good grade in a competitive high school requires strong self-discipline and a lot of hard work. Kids can waste a whole evening or weekend effortlessly on Facebook or Youtube (kids here dont watch TVs anymore).

  • Kirk

    I don’t condone cheating, but it seems mostly everyone writing about cheating nowadays merely assumes it is extremely detrimental to learning and fairness. I won’t deny that it isn’t detrimental to learning to some extent and horribly unfair to the non-cheaters, but there’s no evidence whatsoever that a person who has cheated once will always cheat in every possible occasion. It is more detrimental to the cheater’s own academic success, especially if the cheater is a low-achieving student. On occasion, high-achieving students might resort to cheating if they are bored with a subject they are forced to take as part of a secondary school education and know their future career will have absolutely zero use for the subject. They might work extremely hard on the subjects that they are passionate about and see as useful for their future careers. To the observer, they lack integrity and are morally reprehensible, but to them, they are merely finding a more efficient way to use their time. Obviously, many of them probably cheat because they are pressured by their parents, or didn’t manage their time effectively enough to muster adequate study time.

    Despite finding exceptions, you asserted, “That doesn’t make the stereotype any less relevant. Or less accurate, as stereotypes go.”

    To attempt to even claim that this stereotype is less inaccurate than others using anecdotal evidence as justification is to make the fallacy of induction. Of course, it is impossible to meet every single recent Asian immigrant, but to extrapolate based on an obviously limited experience that wouldn’t even encompass a significant percentage of all recent Asian immigrants is to perpetuate a harmful, false notion. Even if your intention is merely to encapsulate a stereotype that you observed, by implying that it is, to some extent, true, you are contributing to the stereotype by making the same errors that caused the stereotype to be born in the first place–relying on personal experience as an indicator of truth, and confirmation bias in searching for examples in which the stereotype is true rather than looking both ways. At best, your argument can be seen as a debatable thesis, but it is by no means an absolute truth, as there is no quantifiable evidence. While quantifiable evidence is still subject to bias, qualitative evidence is far more prone to it.

    To clarify: I am not denying that there is a stereotype that recent Asian immigrants cheat; however, I must confess I am skeptical that this stereotype has any merit in being even partially truth. I apologize if I my composition has offended you in any way. I simply wished to attempt to offer an opposing viewpoint to balance this discussion.

    Best regards,

  • Parke Muth

    The article and the comments have raised some interesting points and issues. Unfortunately, I think the entire premise misses the point about what is going in schools when it comes to Asians.

    Let’s start with students applying from China. Schools in the US can’t seem to get enough of them. Over 1000 coming in to Michigan State this year alone, and now over 200,000 total in the US. If there is anyplace where transcripts, recommendations, essays and at times testing are suspect this is the place. And yet the numbers of students being offered admission from China continues to soar. Do the schools in the US know that many of the schools that students attend change the grades willingly of their students to help their chances of being admitted? Do many schools know all the recs are made up? Do many know the students didn’t write the essays? Of course they do. Has this stopped them from being accepted? Not at all. Why? They are all full payers. They bring in money at a time when all schools are cash-strapped. Schools in the US know there is cheating but don’t do anything, in most cases, to step forward to take action. Nor do they spend the money and manpower to check on the documents. Instead they let them in. Money has become more important than making sure the students are submitting genuine materials.
    Inside the US it is a far different story. First off, go to any award ceremony at any top or bottom boarding school in the US. Asians dominate. Go to the magnet schools around the US and Asians rule. Are they all cheating? Look at the top students coming out of many departments and majors at college and universites around the US and there again there are many Asians. Are they cheating too?

    You’ve missed the point here. There are far too many great Asians applying to highly selective schools. And here is where things get even worse. There are far too many low income Asians who would need aid if offered admission. Do you think the immigrant parents can afford the 40,000 that IvyWise charges to its clients? Schools worry about too many Asians for lots of reasons but cheating is very low on the list. Lots of students don’t want to go to a school with too many Asians as they are afraid they won’t be able to compete academically. In addition, too many Asians are poor and would require money. Instead, it’s better to take international Asians who can pay. Even though the schools know these students are using agents, it matters more that they can pay.
    Occam’s razor say the simplest solution usually explains things and in this case, as in so many others in the world, money speaks far more to the issue than cheating.

    • Frank

      The inflood of students directly from China is a recent phenomenon. The majority of them come here to study because their parents are rich or well connected. They are not well motivated to work hard and often spend most of their time on lavish lifestyle – partying or buying expensive stuff. They will waste a lot of money here and go back to China afterwards.

      There is a joke in China that future China will be ruled by Harvard/Yale Alumni since 80% children of the party elites (the red princelings) have Harvard/Yale degrees.

      The Bo GuaGua, the son of the recently disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has an undergraduate from Oxford at UK, a management degree from Harvard Kennedy School and is now enrolled in Colombia law school. He is known to take the daughter of US ambassador to a date in a Red Ferrari.

      Every time I took my kids to China to visit, I feel so fortunate that our kids are born and educated here. Compared with their counterparts in China , our kids are so much well balanced in their knowledge and have good life skills (take initiatives, polite, upright and self-confident). Our relatives all always ask how we get them to where they are. This is the American education system – it is by large still the best.

      • Parke Muth

        Frank, Thank you for your comments on your experiences in China and your example of a student whose connections have helped him get opportunities he might not have had without his powerful families connections. (If you have ot read Dan Golden’s prize-winning book “The Price of Admission”, you might think about reading it. It details how rich kids in the US get slots at the best schools through their wealth and connections.)

        Rhetoric is always a slippery thing and I thnk in this case I’d respond to your post by pointing out a couple ways what you’ve said may not answer some of the more complicated issues that are in play when it comes to Chinese students.

        I’ve been working with, advising, and talking with students from China for over 20 years. I have spent at least 1000 hours doing interviews and many more hours evaluating their applications. I’ve been interviewed by many major media on the issues (NY Times, NPR, etc.) and the work I have done has been the subject of a white paper on how to ethically recruit and enroll great students from China.

        The vast majority of Chinese students I have interacted with are, overall, the most impressive set of students I have yet met. I’ve been in charge of selecting students fro honors programs and scholarships so I’ve worked with the best in the US and from around the world. It should come as no surprise, however, that given the overall population in china and given the emphasis on the importance of education that the students who attend the key high schools (magnet high schools) in China have skill sets that often dwarf those of anyone else. What this means extends beyond scores. Yes, they have exceptional standardized testing, but the students I know have gone well beyond the traditional cliché of hard-working drones who have no soft skills.

        In an effort to teach people in the US that the stereotypes about Chinese students misrepresent the best qualities about them, I’ve been posting interviews with some of these students. I will give a link to a few of them but a search under Chinese students will allow people to see that any time a generalization about a group this big misleads people.

        You have cited a single example of a student and used it to support your statement that the Chinese students who come to the US are rich and not motivated. In logical and rhetorical terms this would not earn you a good grade in any class that emphasizes how ‘cherry picking’ may sound good, but does not rise to the level of proof. Do you have data to support your generalization that all the Chinese students coming to the Us’ are rich? I certainly have examples of students whose entire set of relatives have given every Yuan to make sure a students can come to the US. Do you have data that demonstrates that Chines students do not do well academically? I have lots of data that demonstrates the opposite it true. My data demonstrates that Chinese students do better academically than any international group and better than any group (by school, region, major etc.) in the US. By better I also mean what happens to them when they graduate. I observe that Chinese students are offered jobs at the best investment banks, at Google and Facebook, and at any other place that will go through the trouble of trying to get past the hurdles that are erected to keep international students from getting jobs after graduation in the US. Look at the to PhD programs in science and engineering and you’ll see that there are far more Chinese students than any other group. These programs don’t reward rich kids; instead, they reward intelligence and effort.

        On the other hand, many schools are so focused on getting full payers that they are enrolling many students from
        China whose English is not great and whose materials are sketchy if not downright falsified. These schools (not the Ivies you cite—most will never enroll more than 10 or 15 tops in a given year) have found an easy way to globalize. The more full payers that come in from outside the US the more schools can use their funds help pay the bills and in some cases use funds from international student to subsidize the education of US students who need aid.

        I have visited many of the best schools in China and have talked with administrators, teachers and students and the classes I’ve sat in are far more interactive and interesting than most I have aver attended in the US. But I also now see that schools in US are selecting students who are not the stars in China. They are the full payers and when this happens, it leads people to assume that the group of students coming in from China is not academically impressive. At the to there are none better, but the rush to enroll thousands has diluted the pool. So you are correct that there are rich slackers at some schools these days, but this does not represent in any way the talented tenth of Chinese students who come out at or near the top of any university ranked highly in the U’s News or elsewhere.

        I would like to get your permission to post your comments on my blog. I’d like readers to understand your point of view and also to be able to read my response.

        Thank you for taking the time to add your perspective and insights.

        Links to a few interviews:

        One profiles a student who went from Deerfield to Yale and now writes for NY Times in China
        One profiles a student went from US undergrad to Stanford MBA and is also enrolled in Kennedy school too. I know his family and his mother runs a restaurant and works 7 days a week to support his education.

      • Frank

        Thanks for your detailed response. I have to admit that I dont have any data and was probably over-generalizing. My view was colored by some meetings we had with very rich business people and their kids from China. But I also know that there are many middle class families who sent their kids to China to get a better education. You can certainly use my comments. This has been an interesting discussion.

      • Parke Muth

        Thanks so much for permission to include your words on what has been a useful discussion on this issue.

    • educationrealist

      I didn’t miss the point at all. Start at the bottom of this very long essay and count up five paragraphs. I say exactly what you say–that U.S. schools are deliberately accepting fraudulent records for numerous reasons. You should read all of the essay. I also mention, by the way, that I will be writing about that as well.

      • Parke Muth

        Thank you for your response. I read the paragraph you cite,but you conflate the cheating you say happens abroad with the cheating you say happens in the US. I think they fall under quite different subsets; in other words, the groups you conflate are far different than what you imply. In China, the schools themselves participate in changing grades. The agents do all the writing of essays and recs. In my experience with the magnet schools in the US, places that have very high percentages of Asians students, there is none of this going on. In addition, the performance of the Asian students who come in from magnet schools tends to be great. Are you saying that these students are cheating their way to the top at colleges and universities—in labs and on tests that are proctored etc.? If so, do you have any data on how this happens and how common it is? I have not seen data that would support what you imply. I’ve worked with hundreds of studnts, domestic and international, who are far more than scores and who are far more interested in learning than the vast majority of other students. I enourage you to read through some of my interviews.

      • educationrealist

        I’m not conflating. I say plainly in the opening that there are two different issues: the cheating by these groups in their native countries, and the cheating that occurs here in America. This piece is about here in America. Yes, they are different subsets. The cheating back home is blatant and institutional. I’m not disputing that.

        In my experience with the magnet schools in the US, places that have very high percentages of Asians students, there is none of this going on. In addition, the performance of the Asian students who come in from magnet schools tends to be great. Are you saying that these students are cheating their way to the top at colleges and universities—in labs and on tests that are proctored etc.?

        Yes. I am saying there is lots of cheating going on, that it is largely anecdotal. I am personally familiar with five schools that are over 80% Asian, predominantly Chinese, Korean, and Indian immigrants, and cheating is rampant. I used as source material another book in which cheating was rampant and the population is predominantly recent Chinese, Korean, and Indian immigrants. I am pointing out that in every single cheating story you hear about here in the US, the ones that make the news, the ones in which cheating occurred on a national standardized test, the students involved are predominantly Asian. Again, anecdotal, but the issue here is the stereotype and the degree to which experience validates it. In America, it is a valid stereotype that many people understand to be generally true.

        I don’t think you actually read the article, because I gave the data. I am not arguing that it is absolute. As the followup article says, I’m talking about pictures, not proof. It’s true enough that those who don’t cheat are going to be tainted by it. It’s true enough, in my view, that it provides a reason for the discrimination, particularly coupled with the blatant cheating overseas that you acknowledge.

  • Parke Muth

    Thanks for responding. I’ve read the article. When data is largely anecdotal there is, as Nate Silver (see his Signal and the Noise)and others say, always out of context data that is missed. Is cheating rampant in high school in general or only in the ones with lots of immigrants? Are the cheating scandals at high profile schools news because they are high profile schools or because there are higher levels of cheating? If the former, then it is no surprise there would be Asian names simply because the population at the school is composed of many Asians? Are the percentages of Asian names disproportionate to their percentage in the school?

    Do you have any data about the performance of either or both groups at highly selective universities? Do you have data or studies that support your belief that Asians cheat more than other groups outside of the schools you have been a part of? Do you have data about whether the fear of cheating is what encourages schools to discriminate against Asians? Do you subscribe to the comparison that’s been made that Asians are the New Jews at the Ivies? In the 50’s the character of Jews was used to discriminate against them. (“The Chosen” is full of great data on discrimination against Jews at the Ivies in the 50’s) Could the assertion of cheating with immigrants be in any way tied to the way Jews were thought to be less virtuous and ethical than others? Character assassination is a tried and true method for treating people different than ourselves unfairly. A just released book, “Moral Tribes”, goes into detail and data about why this is advantageous from the point of view of evolutionary biology, philosophy etc. I’ve read a summary on Brockman’s The and it looks pretty convincing to me.

    • educationrealist

      Just because things look similar doesn’t mean they are. Jewish people weren’t actually more culturally inclined to cheat, something that is not true of Chinese, Koreans, and Indians. If you read my site, you would see that I work with many students in this demographic, and that I”m very fond of them. I’ve also said many times the discrimination is wrong. But yes, the stereotype is merited.

      Also, isn’t it entirely possible that you got into this as a way to profit from the public university preference for Asians, and therefore are unhappy to see any sort of prejudice against your preferred client? You’re selling your clients to willing buyers, buyers that are eager to benefit from the fraud. Before you did this, you were dean of international admissions at UVA, right? So isn’t it possible that you are reluctant to acknowledge the validity of the stereotype because it’s bad for business?

      I am well aware that many of these students are bright, even the ones that are cheating. I suggest you read my followup post, painting pictures.

      • Parke Muth

        Thank you again for your words. I think we perhaps come at these issues from very differed perspectives and this of course shades our ability to process the information we are presenting to each other (neuroscience calls this priming). I will have to spend more time reading your various posts.

        I think if you go into the literature about how Jews were (and in some cases still are) perceived, there are issues there that are not that far from some of the things that are being said about Asians. You take it as a matter of faith or as a matter of fact that Chinese, Koreans, and Indians are more likely to cheat than Jews, Whites, Latins, and Hmong? I am not sure where you are getting your data. In China, there is no cheating that goes in for the Gao Koa. They’ve had a 2000+ year history of valuing education and rewarding the smartest with places at Beida and Tsinghua. What has happened in the US happens because the system in the US has let it. Chinese students know if they submitted actual transcripts from school there, the grades they get are so low compared to those in the US (because in the US grade inflation is endemic) that they’d likely be turned down at many places out of hand. They’ve seen this and so have I. Honesty does not pay when applying to the US. Until US schools care enough to take action and to understand the system and the students, there is no incentive for them to play by the rules. To do so would ensure many of them would never get accepted to certain schools.

        I am not sure that stereotyping is ‘merited’ if it does not apply to many of the people who are painted with a broad brush as cheaters even if they are not. What you are saying, I think is that if there are a large percentage of students who are cheating then all students should be assumed to be a part of this group. In my definition of terms this amounts to racism and should be actionable in courts of law should schools assume that any Korean American or Chinese American or Indian American is a cheater. I thought that the way things wee supposed to work in the US is that people should be evaluated as individuals. We’ve certainly moved a long way from the founding father’s vision if schools are encouraged rather than damned for assuming Asians are cheaters. I don’t get a sense you are morally outraged that individuals can be held up to a stereotype and judged negatively without any proof about the specific case. Maybe I am misreading you here.

        I am not sure what you mean by public universities profiting from Asians. If you look at what U Cal does and some other schools I don’t think they are profiting from Asians. They are taking students who have performed at the highest level academically. This means they have taken the best programs, earned the best grades, earned the highest scores of any group in the country. It is not at all about profit. It would seem that merit might be a better word.

        Why you would assume Asians are a preferred client (while I worked in admission I never had a client—they were are still are students–). Is unclear to me. I have always advocated for students who love learning, who have done exceptionally well in and out of class, and who have the potential to be people in school and in the future. M prejudice is for smart people who love to learn. The scientist have already demonstrated all of us have strains of all kinds of races running through our genetic make up so race is largely an outdated paradigm.

        I do not have a clue what you are referring to when you say I am selling clients to buyers. I help all the students I interview and have worked with over the years for free. If you go to my blog you’ll see there are no ads, no promos, nothing but words. I try to present information that will educate people about issues in education but I do not profit from it in any way. It’s one of the reasons I am looked to as an expert on these issues. I’m not trying to make a buck or sell anything off these kids. I am trying to help them because people make hasty judgments and discriminate against them and I see this as morally and ethically wrong.

        I would very much like to post this exchange on my blog. Is this ok with you?

    • vlad

      Parke, as a laboratory leader and TA I have seen first hand the cheating of East Asian and South Asian students. They take it to an industrial level in classes, in the lab environment and even in publishing papers (such as using fake data). Please stop with your silly propaganda.

  • Parke Muth

    I posted this today wth you in mind. Is this a student who you’d judge as someone who should be looked at supiciously because she’s Asian?

  • Parke Muth

    Thank you for your reply on my blog. Today I am leading a workshop on recommendations for teachers and counselors for a school district. I’ve done 2 sessions on recs at NACAC, but I think this rec and your comments will provoke comments and discussion that would not have happened. From reading your blog, I see you like to provoke students in your Saturday sessions and on-line too. I think your words will have that effect today. Thanks again. I do hope you will give me permission to quote your comments from our discussion here for my blog. They too will provoke discussion to a wider audience.

    • educationrealist

      Sure, you can use it. However, I would very much appreciate it if you include, or at least consider, the following:

      1) My comment at your blog was just as I saw it. It is in no way my area of expertise.

      2) I write extensively about Asian Americans, with “Asian” being recent Chinese, Korean, and Indian immigrants. The piece that caught your attention is part two in a series that will probably have four posts. Here is the first, and I think you should read it if you haven’t already. I think it sets up the case for why the most recent discrimination began (an emphasis on grades that had an unintended consequence). There are two more pieces coming, but I’m a slow writer. The first of those is about the issue you raised: first, that cheating in these countries back home is rampant and second, that public univrsities here are openly pulling in these kids for the money. Yes, I also think that there’s a zero sum game going on.

      3) I also write extensively about my experiences teaching high achieving Asians in a pseudo-hagwon, and it is clear, I think, that I love the kids and I think they are bright and able.

      4) I say this often, but want to repeat it: I am describing a stereotype for recent Asian immigrants from China, Korea, and India. It is an accurate stereotype–that is, it does not describe everyone, but it is a reliable pattern that anyone who works with this population uses as a guideline. Their parents will put them under pressure. Their abilities will not match their grades. And so on. This does not mean that all Asian kids, even those who are recent immigrants, exemplify the stereotype.

      5) I do not approve of the discrimination. I think the discrimination is a result of corrupt college admissions practices that seek to improve the admissions chances of blacks and Hispanics by one sort of lie, and then decrease the number of Asians that qualify through another. I do think that the problem is real, that many Asians (of the countries mentioned) do often exemplify a cultural and intellectual tradition that America doesn’t value. The key is to change admissions. However, I would still expect Asians to be overrepresented in any admissions plan, and I don’t think that’s inherently bad.

      • Parke Muth

        You and I share many things, one of which is too much to do and not enough time. I have a series on low income students at selective schools that I keep trying to find time to write on but as it intersects with some of the issues here this has been held up. Lots have viewed the 2 I’ve put up on U CAL.
        From your blog I can see how you have helped some students, of whatever race, learn about learning, and that’s great. But there are places on your blog when you do not seem to be outraged against the discrimination and even if there are kids who fit the stereotype that does not mean discrimination is ok. At least that’s what I think.
        I also think you are working with a subset of a group and this may make you unaware of some of the changes going on at least internationally and in some of the top boarding schools and magnet schools on this side of the US. In your previous blog you give great data on SAT scores increases by Asians. I don’t think this is cheating. I know how New Oriental in China preps kids and part of the success comes from a summer camp when 10 hour days for many weeks leads to huge increases in scores. No surprise there. More important to note: if there are things that students are told to do to improve chances of getting in to a highly selective school in the US, then they will do them. The chances of getting in to Beida or Tsinghua are about 1/7000 so the odds of Ivies don’t look that bad. The students are willing to do what it takes—most of brightest kids will do it right in my experience. They just need to told what ‘right’ means and given a template of sorts.

        Every week new businesses are opening that offer training to students on how not to be just a testing star. The schools and the businesses really are training students to get involved in activities, to pursue passions and learn to love learning. I have seen this with my own eyes and have noticed how much more open-minded (some) parents and many students are when it comes to majors and ways to get the most out of education.

        The world has never seen anything like the changes China has made in 2 decades. They have a long way to go, but again and again I see that many educators and parents are now trying to teach students to be creative thinkers. The best over there already are—read the profiles on my blog. They are trying to get things right but as long as schools in the US keep doing what they are doing there will still be tons of fraud. If it works and there is a market for it why would things change? (They will change but not for the reasons most think but this issue is a whole new set of blog entries).

      • educationrealist

        even if there are kids who fit the stereotype that does not mean discrimination is ok.

        I have said this approximately nine billion times, including in the comment and the post itself. Not sure what else you need. I find it tedious to be outraged about discrimination against anyone. There’s far more discrimination against poor whites, for example–don’t see you too fussed about that, and forgive me if I wonder if it’s because their parents aren’t paying you.

        I’m not sure I disagree with anything else. It’s just not what we want in America. Which is why colleges are discriminating. I want those behaviors out of America, and immigrants to not be rewarded for those behaviors. I just think it’s wrong to do this by discrimination.

      • vlad

        By the way, it is the White middle class that supports these schools via taxes (even the private schools get a lot of government money). When Whites are totally squeezed out of schools by Asians, Blacks and Hispanics, how much do you think middle class Whites should contribute to these schools?

  • Parke Muth

    Thanks again for responding. I still get outraged when people discriminate against individuals who belong to a group that is assumed to be dishonest. I hope I never get to the point that I find overt discrimination ‘tedious’.

    As for your comments about poor whites, I think this is another group in the US that has been left out of the conversation in educationand in many places. I would recommend you read George Packer’s “The Unwinding” :great narratives about those who have tried to survive in America while being poor. Asians don’t get a mention, but lots of moving words about and by poor whites.

    I’ve written a review of it here:

    Perhaps I was not clear in my previous remarks, so let me say it again: I don’t have a single Asian student or parent paying me any money. I try to help smart students. I talk with students from all over the world — of all races and backgrounds, some rich and some poor and some in-between. Some students are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to admission –it could be due to income or race or personal issues or something else.

    I try to raise issues that I think are important for the future of the country. Immigrants have long been the infusion of change that has brought about growth and opportunities for all. At least it used to be that way and I think it still could be and should be. Discriminating against Asians for outperforming others in measurable metrics both in secondary schools and colleges and universities does not seem useful or right. The students I know, as I have said again and again, are among the most impressive people (not just students) I have met in many decades of meeting untold thousands of people over the years. I don’t assume they are cheaters with huge character flaws– I see they embrace a love of learning and a willingness to work hard that is sadly missing in many today.

    • educationrealist

      I’ve met probably as many high achieving Asians as you have. I am probably one of the few people in the country who can say that. In my experience, the population of Asians with high test scores contains far more ringers than the corresponding population of whites, blacks, and Hispanics. I routinely meet kids with high test scores with merely adequate reading and writing skills, and often times they don’t remember math that they supposedly aced in their course. These kids are always Asian.

      Of course, many of them aren’t ringers. But if you want to fix the discrimination, you start by openly acknowledging the problem, rather than wail about warranted skepticism. Instead, you continue to sell to their parents.

      • Parke Muth

        Thanks again for your comments. I don’t think we will ever agree on some of these issues as your experience tells you one thing and my experience tells me another. But anecdotal evidence does not incorporate enough of a scientific approach and there are precious few studies on most of the topics we are discussing.

        I think investigating the issues scientifically would probably lead us to see that both of us have some valid points and both of us probably could refine our approach here and there. I will be writing about one way to conduct useful studies on these toics on my blog.

        However, given that I have seen the data of what happens to students when they arrive on a highly selective campus I can say that throughout the schools and majors, Asians tend to do exceptionally well. I’m not sure how students can game Art or Media Studies or classes in which participation is a third of the grade or in many of the other areas in which these students take prizes each year. In the hard sciences I think looking at the population of Asians in top PhD programs demonstrates this group far outperforms others. What I hear from faculty and students in such programs convinces me the ones who are enrolled are exceptional in every way. The faculty say again and again they love their Asian students because they are smart and work hard. The data on PhDs and job placement and other measures of high achievement is out there. Is there a level of achievement past high school that would help to demonstrate that a significant portion of Asian students really are as good as they seemed on paper in high school?

        We agree on some of the issues when it comes to students applying from China, but I blame the schools more than the students. As I’ve said, the students in China prepare for the Gao Koa and they can’t, in any significant way, game the system. Most think that the exam rewards memorization only. The essay questions they give are far more challenging than any I have seen in the US. The rote approach to learning still exists n many places in China, but the effort to instill critical thinking continues to grow daily. In the US, over a third of students graduating from college have not improved this skill set one bit (this data is from a study that had a very large sample) and educators and businesses here see this as a huge problem. All the billions poured into educational reform over the last generation has yielded little positive results overall. I’m not optimistic about the new template being rolled out now as it encourages schools to game the system in terms of graduation rates etc. What I say to people now: given the trillion in education being invested in China, given the labs and research they are sponsoring and continuing to build, and given the emphasis on valuing high educational achievement, the children of people going off to university now may want to send their children to China for the best education in the world. I won’t be around to see it, but maybe you will, and if this does happen I hope you will go back to our exchange.
        I still don’t understand your comments about pay. I am studying educational tends around the world and trying to come up with a pragmatic and successful approach to find its way to leaders in education in the US.

  • Parke Muth

    And here is a response to the rec I posted and that you commented on on my blog:

    Amy Garrou has left a new comment on your post “Recommendation Test 3: You Be The Judge”:

    I feel sorry for Lilly, her sister . . . But regarding the rec letter: I am a college counselor in an international high school. I write recommendations for students applying to all kinds of colleges, including highly selective ones. I like to think I spend a good deal of time gathering details about students, especially ones who have done a lot and who have loads of potential.

    I think this is an amazing letter, overall. Yes, there are some sentences that roll headlong and yes, the writer is a bit full of himself/herself, but it seems genuinely in the service of the student. Nobody spends this much time writing a rec who really, really doesn’t like the student. Either the writer is at a tiny school and knows the student very well, or he/she as a very small caseload and had a month to put together all those details. You cannot write that letter quickly, even if you’re making it up. It does sound unbelievable that one student could do all those things, but the fact that she made a C+ in AP Calc humanizes her (the student), to me.

    As for being Asian: what matters to me in this recommendation is what the student has done. That’s the case the writer is making. I suppose the writer is emphasizing Grace’s well-roundedness to go against the stereotype, but I see no problem with that, as long as the writer is telling the truth (which will be confirmed or not by the teachers’ letters, and probably by the student’s essays in to a degree). The writer knows her audience: the admission officers.

    I am surprised that this student didn’t get into highly selective colleges. If one C+ matters that much for a student like this, we are in a sad state.

    • vlad

      What about all of the highly qualified poos Whites who are totally being crowded out of education? Do you care about them too, or is it just about Asians with you?

  • Jesse Pinkman

    1. Do you think college admission offices would stop discriminating against Asians i.e. they would admit Asians of equal SAT/ACT scores as the whites they admit if Asians were to magically lower their cheating to the rates of whites?

    2. If not, what % of the discrimination do you attribute to a meritocratic correction for Asian over-cheating and what % do you attribute the discrimination to other factors? What factors might these be?

    3. Have you considered the possibility that college discrimination against Asians is widespread, perhaps universal, knowledge among Asian students and that a large percentage of cheating is not motivated by culture/genetics but by that knowledge?

    4. Have you considered that otherwise non-cheating inclined Asians are forced to cheat because their Asian peers cheat and there is no way for the non-cheating Asians to differentiate themselves to the admissions office, and that a large proportion of the Asian cheaters cheat for tragedy-of-the-commons reasons? All Asians must suffer the negative externalities of Asian cheaters, while whites don’t feel pressured in the same way because they’re only discriminated against to leave slots for hispanics and blacks.

    • vlad

      Interesting points, Jesse. I think there is a concerted effort to reduce the number of Whites in schools by both Asians (who want the spaces) and advocates for Latinos and Blacks who feel that Whites are evil and deserve nothing. These two forces are pushing White enrollment at tops schools to a small minority of the population.

      Point 1: Schools probably already do not compensate enough for the Asian cheating gap. In my experience, to compensate for the Asian cheating gap would require a huge decrease in the number of Asian students at top colleges.

      Point 2: There is probably not that much of a meritocratic correction compared to the actual amount of cheating.

      Point 3: Interesting but doubtful Asians are given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be smart, hardworking students by all but a few professors “in the know.” The cheating is also seen at less competitive environments in Asia, so it is more likely cultural.

      Point 4: This could be the case, but all applicants students suffer the negative externality of cheaters, because they set a fake standard. Honest Asians might suffer more socially. But don’t kid yourself–Whites are assumed to be stupid *and* evil oppressors of the Blacks and Hispanics. Thus, Whites are assumed to be intellectually inferior to Asians, and morally/ethically inferior to Blacks and Hispanics. Thus, many colleges feel ethically inclined to exclude Whites as much as possible.

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  • Aaron

    There doesn’t seem to be any data out there on cheating by race. What data there is on cheating seems to suggest that cheating rates are high enough that even if we assumed all Asian students were cheating, significant numbers of non-Asian students apparently are as well:

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  • Reeves

    Even a left-liberal site like HuffPost can’t help but note the Asian cheating pattern:

    “As evidence, the Times quotes a report concluding that “90 percent of Chinese applicants submit false recommendations, 70 percent have other people write their personal essays, 50 percent have forged high school transcripts and 10 percent list academic awards and other achievements they did not receive.” The report predicts this will only get worse going forward. The Times calls this a “conundrum.”

    One thing it is not is a revelation; in fact, any American with experience in China’s school system will read this article and shrug. For years, American college admissions officers have seemed to be saying: “Chinese cheat. It’s just the way they are, and accepting this is part of the cost of doing business in China.”

    In other words, gaining a student who can pay full admission is the goal; gaining someone honest is not.

    I wouldn’t call this a “conundrum.” I’d call it a a disgrace, and one that I viewed first hand. From 2005-2007, I was an English teacher at Guizhou University, the flagship school of China’s poorest province. When I assigned papers, they would often be cribbed from the internet (and when I say often, I mean 75 percent of the work submitted contained some form of plagiarism, and about 10 percent was entirely cut-and-pasted from the web). In the most depressing incident I witnessed, a fellow teacher refused to turn one of her students in for using a cheat-sheet during an important test. “It’s none of my business if someone cheats,” my colleague told me. “And this student has influential parents. It would be foolish to report this.”

  • Reeves

    By the way, a steep decline in performance among 3rd gen Asian Americans has also been noted:

    “The findings suggest a “third-generation decline or flattening” for Asian American and white men as well as Asian American and white women. For each of these groups, the mean of years of schooling among the 2.5 and third generations is lower than among the first and second generations. This pattern is most pronounced among Asian Americans. ”

    “In 2007, Asians earned 33% of PhD’s but only 2% of those were American born Asians.”

  • Alfred W Clark

    A friend who’s a professor at an engineering program at major state university told me once in confidence that the Indian students there are notorious for cheating. He estimated that the vast majority of Indian students in his classes cheat. Everyone in his department knows it, he said, but they can’t talk about it for fear of being called the r-word.

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  • Gromit

    Ed Realist,

    What do you think of the data about Asian underperformance in college and beyond in this thread?

    There’s a lot of good data and studies posted throughout, so it’s worth reading in its entirety. It’s only 3 pages.

  • Floccina

    When i was in college it seemed foreigners from all countries cheated more than us born in the USA, and the worst were those from Europe. We always theorized that schooling was more important to the foreign students than to us born in USA where you could make it without a degree and so we could not be bothered to cheat all that much even when it was easy to cheat. (I must admit that I help a friend cheat a few times and then got caught. That ended that for me. I think it was a way for me to show off. I also rationalized it that his math weakness should not keep him from graduating as he was good enough in all the classes that did not require much math.)

  • justanotheropinion

    As an Asian American student, I would like to point out how based your stereotype off of elite public and private universities. In other schools (such as mine, a small town high school with a 3% Asian population), there are Asians who get 4.9 GPAs and take 15 AP classes. There are also Asians who get 3.0 GPAs, and don’t take an AP class in their entire high school career. I can’t speak for all of them, but my Asian friends and I have never cheated by any of the methods you mentioned. Our teachers make their own tests and don’t reuse them. Collaborating on homework? Doing homework is how you do well in school, and doing less of it is only going to hurt yourself. And like you said, impersonation basically doesn’t exist in the US. While your points may be true in cases of elite schools (this only includes a small minority of Asians in the United States, since elite schools by nature are few), most Asians will have the the 4.5 GPA and ten-twelve AP classes not by cheating, but by hard work. Your stereotype may be accurate with regard to those in the schools you cited so much, but in general they are false.

    • educationrealist

      You apparently aren’t up on “not all Asians” and what that means. That said, you’ve certainly got the tedious part of the stereotype down cold.

      • justanotheropinion

        Allow me to quote the article: “I am asserting that the stereotype of recent Asian immigrants exists, and I am reasonably sure the stereotype is why universities are discriminating against Asians. I also think the stereotype is accurate but not absolute.”

        Of course no stereotype is absolute and I understand that. What I’m pointing out is that for it to be accurate (applicable to most Asians) it can’t be based off of a minority of Asians (those in elite schools).

      • educationrealist

        I wasn’t basing it off of that. And you’ve moved from “recent Asian immigrants” to “most Asians.”

  • justanotheropinion

    If you take a look at your proof, you were (see the schools you are citing). The referral to “most Asians” was my mistake, I meant “most recent Asian immigrants”.

    • educationrealist

      No, I’m saying it’s a problem anywhere there are large clusters of recent Asian immigrants. I included recent scandals from Plano, Raleigh, the Bay Area, and others. And the even more recently uncovered SAT cheating that’s rampant in Korea and China is certainly not just elite schools.

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  • Jane Smith

    Who do you think you are? Have you ever been a student at an ‘elite’ school? Have you ever experienced the type of pressure students like me are under? Have you ever pulled an all nighter just to finish studying for the three tests you have all in one day? Have you ever taken an SAT cram class and memorized two hundred SAT words in a period of one week? How on earth do you have the nerve to accuse us of cheating, you have no idea how hard we work to maintain our 4.0s and our perfect SAT scores. I know a student who had to be hospitalized from exhaustion during AP season because he would rather not sleep than cheat. I guess by your logic non Asian’s don’t understand hard work because that is the only ‘gaming’ the majority of us have ever done.
    Also how do you explain how many Intel winners are Asian, or how only 1 single USA IBO team member was white? The list goes on. I’m pretty sure there’s no way to cheat your way out of presenting projects and answering questions IN FRONT OF THE JUDGES.
    If you want to talk statistics Asian Americans earn on average 16k more than the average US population. I don’t know if you’ve tried but it’s hard to cheat at your job, especially since the majority of us Bay Area Asians are computer programmers.
    My parents worked hard to move to this country. They worked hard to get jobs here without even speaking English in the first few years. They worked hard just like the millions of other parents out there who just want their kids to have a good education. My parents aren’t ‘tiger parents’, all they want is for me to be happy, just like the millions of other parents out there. Did you know that at the very Asian Gunn High School there were 5 suicides in 2011 alone because of the pressure the students put themselves under? Do you think if cheating were that easy and common they would have made that choice?
    Did you know that even though my parents, and the millions of other parents worked their asses off for their kids educations Asian Americans are heavily discriminated against in college admissions at elite universities?
    Sure some of us cheat, but have you checked that stats on white/black/hispanic people and steroids? Have you checked the stats on lipsyching? All races cheat. Asians just care more about success in their future careers. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, in fact it’s a really bad thing. But it’s true that it’s part of our culture to always do well in school and some people unfortunately resort to desperate measures to achieve that means.
    I’m sorry that you don’t understand how hard the majority of us Asians can work, but there are many white students and teachers at my school who do. I thank god that I’m not as racist as you because I’d probably hate your entire race if I was. I myself have never cheated and I know that the majority of my peers have not either.
    I know this post was from a long time ago but if you still check this I’d love to hear your response.

    • educationrealist

      Um, the whole point of this post is that Asian immigrants are discriminated against. So yeah. I know it.

      Knew everything else, too. Lots of posts on this blog about all the pressure. Yeah, yeah, Intel. I got it. I wrote a story about an Indian kid who won a science contest, but he was only interested in putting it on his resume. He didn’t even really like science. He just wanted to make his dad happy. Know about the suicides, the pressure, all the reasons to cheat.

      You know what you are doing right now, with your writing? You are proving the stereotype, completely. You didn’t post an original thought, you didn’t read the essay very closely, didn’t understand it, and expect an A anyway.

      Try and be a little different. It’s not impressive when you do everything to make your parents happy. And it’s definitely whining when you put yourself under that pressure and then brag about the suicides you know of.

  • Jane Smith

    Um no, the point of this post is that Asian’s cheat. You said it, loud and clear. ‘Less delicately put: They cheat. And when they don’t cheat, they game tests in a way utterly incomprehensible to the Western mind, leading to test scores with absolutely zero link to underlying ability. Or both. Or maybe it’s all cheating, and we just don’t know it. Either way, the resumes are functional fraud.’
    First of all I wasn’t trying to be original. I was just stating what all of us Asian Americans students are thinking. And I am not trying to be impressive, the way that you are, I am simply stating the facts.
    I am also totally proving the stereotype, I admit that. I am an Asian overachiever who wants to make my parents happy. Great, thanks for the update. And you know what? I’m proud of it. As far as stereotypes go, it could be worse. So what if I whine? I think we’re all justified in whining a little, life is hard, no one gets through it without a little complaining.
    I did read the article actually. And according to you, Asians are not only overachievers who want to make their parents happy, they also CHEAT. THAT IS YOUR POINT. You can’t justify your bias just by adding a note at the end explaining how you agree discrimination is bad. Everyone says discrimination is bad! But you just did it.
    My point is that we don’t cheat, not all of us anyways. And it’s unfair for you, or college admissions officers, or anyone, to generalize that from just a few examples. Please address that point rather than attacking me personally.
    About your Intel student: so what if he only did it to make his dad happy? We all want to make our parents happy. Don’t you want to make your parents happy? His dad may have different expectations than yours, but that’s not his fault. At least he accomplished something. And he did better than all those kids who were doing it because they were ‘passionate’ about it.
    Oh and by the way knowing about suicides is nothing to brag about. I’m sorry that you think that was my intention.

    • educationrealist

      “Um no, the point of this post is that Asian’s cheat.”

      Wrong. Misquote. Go back and read again. No A for effort. And it’s not “Asian’s” but “Asians”. Again, live the stereotype. Quick, what’s the basis for the quadratic formula?

      “So what if I whine? I think we’re all justified in whining a little, life is hard, no one gets through it without a little complaining.”

      No, you’re not. You’re deliberately bragging about how hard you work, acknowledging that you don’t do it out of desire for knowledge or intellectual curiosity, but merely to keep your parents happy.

      You’re not justified. You’re more than a little bit pathetic. More impressive are the kids who succeed because they want to, at what they want to, rather than turn themselves into tedious grinds.

      “Oh and by the way knowing about suicides is nothing to brag about. I’m sorry that you think that was my intention.”

      It was your intention.

  • Jane Smith

    Oh I’m sorry. Have I upset you with a grammar mistake? Who’s living the stereotype now? I am not bragging about how hard I work. In fact I’m not bragging at all. I think the system sucks. And it sucks that so many of my peers work so hard with no pay off.
    And if you’re going to keep attacking my character and my race rather than actually addressing your point then you are really quite petty and are embarrassing yourself. By avoiding the truth and nitpicking you are the one embodying the stereotype and being ‘tedious’ as you call it.
    And by spending so much of your time focused on high school students and college admissions that you have no respect for, you are the pathetic one.
    I was mistaken, this is really not worth my time. I could have an argument like this with any fourth grader on the street.

  • kev

    I live in California and attended Asian dominant schools. Systematic cheating by Asians is out of control and the schools won’t do anything. Many including myself have brought proof and evidence of massive cheating by Asian students. The teachers won’t do anything anymore due to the pressure from administrators. When I’ve brought this issue to administrators they didn’t care at all and wanted it all kept under wraps. In fact by me bringing it up with proof made administrators nervous and defensive wanting me out of the way since no one else calls them on it. The higher I went the more corruption I found with their feckless attitude being ‘you want us to kill our cash cow which supports our high salaries?’
    You won’t find evidence but every class i attended with predominant Asian students there were AT LEAST 1/3rd that would outright cheat, often more than 50% of the Asians were cheating. I fell for the whole “Asians are smart” stereotype but after witnessing the reality realized that is was mostly a orchestrated con job with H.S. and colleges all in on it!

  • levys19

    This article is so blantanly racist it isn’t even funny. The fact that you say Asians can only obtain high test scores to be admitted into top universities is extremely racist. Asian American parents break their backs so that their kids can go to a good college while the whites don’t have the same motivation as Asian Americans. Once a different race does better than whites, we’re no longer minorities and we are blamed for our success in a system the white man created. Asians only make up 5% of America and are still discriminated because an Asian American still has to score 140 points higher than a white applicant to be admitted because their school is too “Asian”. If we have a better resume, we deserve the spot regardless of race

  • Fred Smith

    I’ve been in academia for about a decade and every incident of cheating or bizarre behavior has involved an asian of some sort.

    I would guess that Indian males are 10-20X more likely to cheat at American univerisities than any other demographic group.

    I am referring to Indian born students, as I haven’t had any problems with Indian-Americans other than the occasional caste-influenced elitist tude…

  • Leah

    Worst is when these cheating patterns continue into work place. As to Indians, they are master cheaters. Examples from my real work place: 2 managers at IT government unit in New York, both Indians, stole 6 million US dollars from Red Cross, from money that people were donating to 9/11 fund! They sent stolen money to India. When they got arrested, US only was able to recover half of it. This pair (a man and a woman) were put in jail, but in their place, government put another pair man woman Indian managers.

    In my friends college, Indians shared with my friend how they pass tests. They have one group of Indians who pass tests well helping all other Indian students to pass their tests, too, using Skype and emails and texting. This way, few knowlegable students help the rest of their race to pull thru.

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  • AI Academic Interview Series 2: The State of Math and Science - Atavistic Intelligentsia

    […] Links to general articles on the topics mentioned: Navier-Stokes equations, Terence Tao, Millennium Prize problems,  Asian scores often inflated, […]

  • The SAT is Corrupt: Reuters Version | educationrealist

    […] written on this before as well; Asian test prep companies have certainly used corrupt school administrators to gain early […]

  • tntneal4

    Very interesting topic,I really wonder what percentage of the “Asian” population is involved in this sort of advanced cheating culture? I know it is rampant in China (having taught there) but am not sure about Southeast Asia,I wrote about this topic from a different perspective here but I plan on following this ongoing discussion with great interest.

  • dave

    I am a second generation Korean American from an area where asians made up 50% of the public school population (switched from public to private for high school) before attending UCLA for computer engineering and I totally agree that there is rampant cheating among asian students. While I cannot attest to whether asian nationalists cheat more or less than their peers, I can say that cheating was a constant presence to the point where it might even be seen as the norm. Essays were sourced out so commonly that standard rates of $50 per essay $150 per research paper and anywhere in between for college admission essays became widely known and accepted. Richer asians would even go so far as to hire someone to take standardized tests for them (SAT, SATII, ACT, AP) for $200-300 not including the cost to make a fake identity for the would be test taker. I was able to ignore these happenings for the most part in high school but it wasn’t until I attended college where the consequences became readily apparent. My racial distribution of students in my courses was pretty regular and consisted of the following. The top 10% of the class learned all the material very naturally and effortlessly and was made of equal numbers of white, asian, hispanic, black, and indian/middle eastern. The rest of the students (90%) had significant difficulty understanding the material and were mostly asian. These students would almost always seek to curry favor with individuals in the top 10% for help or answers. Within the top 10% existed two types of students: those that relished the attention and sense of superiority and those that kept to themselves and did their work quietly to avoid being drawn into what they see as unethical behavior. As for me, I think my performance lie somewhere in the middle of the 90%. I attended classes, did my own work, sought help after hours, took excellent notes, and was asked for help by others as well but I barely managed to graduate due to the impact cheaters had on the bell curve. A typical course would have weekly homework assignments (which were more like mini projects), weekly lab assignment, 2 midterms, and 1 final over a 10 week period. In order to graduate in 4 years without enrolling in additional summer units students need to take 4 courses each quarter. As a result once week 3 hits engineering students could expect to be cramming for at least 2 major exams every week nonstop up to the final in addition to completing the at least 2 time consuming programming projects. This basically meant that if you were in the bottom 90% and were unable to effortlessly learn the material then you were screwed and would have to balance sacrificing the needs of one course over the other in a see saw like motion. Whether this exacerbated the cheating or was the result of it, I’m not sure but what ended up happening is that homework assignments and projects were almost always completely collaborated on so that prior to exams all but the non cheating students would be going into the exam with perfect scores. Additionally, professors would often resort to petty tricks and educational nonsense in order to get the distribution they wanted to fit their bell curve grading system. As a result it was not uncommon to have exams written in such a way that the class average would be 20% and have the professor boasting about his consistently difficult exams with their subsequent low scores. Students would memorize equations, jot them all down, and get enough partial credit to hit the class average. In my opinion that would suggest a failure on the part of the educator and is the consequence of cheaters creating fake students that would need these kinds of nonsense educational practices. Meanwhile those non cheaters would have the pleasure of being the same boat minus the cushion of going in with a perfect homework and project score and thus arbitrarily pushed down to the bottom of the damn bell curve. This is why you have college graduates from prestigious schools unable to code or possess rudimentary skills expected of an individual with their credentials.

  • dolph

    I’m an Indian American and I can absolutely confirm that cheating, and more generally fraud, is rampant amongst us. It’s rampant amongst white people as well.

    Gaming the system is considered a point of pride in American business and academic life now.

  • A Clarifying Moment | educationrealist

    […] tell this story for two reasons. First: I write quite a bit about Asian immigrants , the corruption that China is introducing into US college admissions, the continual […]

  • Kon Kim

    This is pretty much bang on. I might add that undergraduate programs will ritualistically “catch” a cheater pretty much every year to make it appear like they are vigilant to the problem. Cheating is the new norm. Universities have become corporatized. The end is nigh.

  • disenchantedscholar

    Reblogged this on Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar and commented:
    “often fail to embody the sterling academic credentials they include with their applications, and do not live up to the expectations these universities have for top tier students.
    Less delicately put: They cheat.”

  • GPA and the Ironies of Integration | educationrealist

    […] Placement class preferences, as well as the fact that their grades and test scores often seem acquired with no retention (and perhaps not acquired). Most of the students take 11 or 12 AP courses in a […]

  • Jen

    The Stuyvesant cheating scandal really cheeses me off, but it is not 100% representative. What a foul specimen of kid, who couldn’t be bothered to learn his country’s history or study the damn Spanish.

    I know many people who went there and there were some spectacular kids: hyper organized and intelligent; they definitely handled the 12 APs and then some, plus played varsity sports. Kids who got into the school with no test prep, or minimal — one $50 book’s worth. Kids who taught themselves calculus.
    Kids who applied to college and got in just on their science scores, without being “well rounded” or without padding their resumes; others who really padded them and got in above their deserved level. (Also there were dynasties of sorts: I know of three families where all 3-4 kids went there.)
    But by and large, the kids who made it to Harvard/Princeton/MIT really, really deserved it and we’re extraordinary. The kids who complained were in general not; for them it was a lottery that they lost.

  • Jen

    The Stuyvesant cheating scandal really cheeses me off, but it is not 100% representative. What a foul specimen of kid, who couldn’t be bothered to learn his country’s history or study the damn Spanish.

    I know many people who went there and there were some spectacular kids, particularly those who went to Harvard and MIT and such. Those kids taking 12 AP courses know the stuff and do the work. Some are really smart; some work really hard and are hyper-organized on top of it.

    As an aside, I also know of at least three families that were sort of “dynasties” at Stuyvesant — with 3+ children attending!

  • Ten Most Read, Ten You Should Read | educationrealist

    […] Asian Immigrants and What No One Mentions Aloud–October 8, 2013 I’ve kind of cornered the market in Asian immigrant criticism–not of the people, but of the culture, which I think is very damaging to American education. I wouldn’t make such a big deal out of it if everyone else weren’t determined not to notice. This was the first time I wrote about it. ignore me, lazy way to space […]

  • César

    Colleges could avoid the risk of admitting cheaters if they had their own admission tests instead of relying on school grades, SAT, essays, etc. The admission to the “grandes écoles” in France are an example.

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