- Vol. 17 | (1)
- Small frog in a big pond vs. big frog in a small pond: Actual vs. perceived achievement gaps among Korean, Korean-American and American students
- math achievement, achievement gap, self-concept, model minority, Korean-American immigrant
This study examines actual vs. perceived math achievement gaps (test scores vs. self-ratings) among Koreans, Korean-American immigrants and Korean-American natives. The study links TIMSS 2007 and ECLS-K 2007 8th grade math data together for matched comparisons. For actual achievement level, Korean students perform significantly better than Korean-American students who in turn perform better than other American students. For perceived achievement level, Korean students have significantly lower self-concept than both Korean-American and other American students. The findings imply that Korean students are akin to a ‘small frog in a big pond’, whereas Korean-American students are ‘a big frog in a small pond’. This study gives new insights into multi-faceted, transnational achievement gaps and challenges Korean ‘model nationality’ or ‘model minority’ myths.