More sobering data from Siegler and Mu on occidental versus oriental child development. The superior mathematical knowledge of East Asian preschoolers is not limited to skills that are taught directly by parents or in school but is more general.
Kindergartners in China showed greater numerical knowledge than their age peers in the United States, not only when tested with arithmetic problems, which Chinese parents present to their children more often than U.S. parents do, but also when tested with number-line estimation problems, which were novel to the children in both countries. The Chinese kindergartners' number-line estimates were comparable to those of U.S. children 1 to 2 years more advanced in school. Individual differences in arithmetic and number-line-estimation performance were positively correlated within each country. These results indicate that performance differences between Chinese and U.S. children on both practiced and unpracticed mathematical tasks are substantial even before the children begin elementary school.