Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vietnamese in Germany Ahead in Math, Beat Poverty / IQ indicators

From http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289613000731

Cognitive ability, parenting and instruction in Vietnam and Germany
  • Department of Psychology, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany


The IQ of fifth graders in Vietnam and Germany was measured using CogAT.
Questionnaires covering aspects of family, parenting and instruction were used.
Vietnamese and German students had similar cognitive ability levels (IQ 99 to 100).
Vietnamese showed an advantage in mathematics.
Vietnamese showed high IQs in spite of conditions considered to be detrimental.


In a sample of N = 105 fifth graders from Vietnam and Germany, cognitive abilities (CogAT-Nonverbal, i.e. fluid figural, CogAT-Quantitative, i.e. crystallized mathematics), family attributes, parenting styles, leisure time activities, and attributes of school and instruction were compared. In spite of large cultural and economic differences, the general cognitive ability levels were similar (MVnm = 99.43 vs. MDeu = 99.13 IQ points in current UK norms). This result is in contradiction to usual outcomes in developing countries. However, regarding family, parenting, school and instruction, differences were observed: German families had more books. German parents were less frequently married and German families less frequently consisted of both mother and father. Vietnamese parents had more children. Vietnamese parents showed higher levels of authoritarian and neglecting parenting. German children read more books. The Vietnamese did not attend kindergarten, had larger classes, more homework, and more private tuition. In a path analysis, parental educational level, number of books, burgher family, low birth order rank, amount of teaching, parental income, Confucian educational orientation and Vietnamese background all revealed a positive impact on children's intelligence.


  • Cognitive competences
  • Intelligence
  • Parenting style
  • School and instruction
  • Intercultural comparison


 The detailed results found by Rindermann et al actually
indicate a very slight advantage for the Vietnamese, who come out at
IQ=99.43 vs. IQ=99.13 for the Germans.  

The authors introduce their analysis by noting that during the 1980s East
Germany had received a fairly large influx of impoverished Vietnamese
guestworkers, mostly serving as manual laborers or factory workers (partly
necessitated by the low E. German birthrate), and their children did
remarkably well in school, noticeably better than their German classmates, a
result which psychometricians and educators considered "rather
astonishing."  This seems to have partly prompted the research study in