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Curriculum Concurrence for High Advanced Heritage students: A Cross-Ethnicity Case Study

Hsu-Te Cheng
Emory University, Atlanta, USA


Synopsis In this paper, we investigated whether the curriculum design of a newly published Chinese textbook with authentic materials attracts support and endorsements from American college students. Furthermore, we showed that ethnic background plays a statistically-significant role in whether students agree with the conclusions reached in these readings or not.

Proposal We examined 3 groups of undergraduate students in Emory University: international Chinese students, Chinese heritage students born in North America, and students of other ethnicities (Caucasians Latinos, Korean, etc). We surveyed a total of 80 students on their opinions in four different categories: (1) environmental problems, (2) reforms and developments in Chinese society, (3) Chinese culture and identity, and (4) democracy issues. These are the four major units in the textbook “China’s developments and dilemmas” published by Cheng&Tsui in 2019, which contains 14 lessons across 4 categories, selected from authentic reading materials written by essential Chinese intellectuals. For each category, we give one concluding statement from every lesson and students are asked to give a number from 1 to 5 to express whether they agree with the conclusions reached in each lesson, where 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree.

Findings Two major findings were reported from results of the survey. First, among the four categories, the conclusions drawn from readings in environmental problems (category 1) get the highest ratio of support from all students (mean 4.73), followed by democracy issues (category 4) with a mean of 4.47. The category with the lowest support is culture and identity (category 3), with a mean of 3.66. A further cross-analysis of the ethnic background shows that Chinese international students have the highest ratio of support on the conclusions from the readings (mean 4.67), while students of other ethnicities have the lowest ratio of support (mean 3.23).


Curriculum, case study, ethnicity, heritage students, survey

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023