Korean kids top in math and science

According to this report I saw on Yahoo, Korean kids are among the top students who do well in math and science.
Korean grade 4 students top science. They are second to Singapore 4th graders when it comes to math. The 8th graders from Korea top math and are third in science.

Image from Yahoo
Image from Yahoo

I didn’t read the whole report on TIMMS, but I can understand why Korean kids perform well in math. They start their education very early! We actually taught our son late compared to his peers. My son started his math last year, autumn 2011 when he was already 5 1/2 years old. By that age, a few of his classmates in day care have already memorized their “gugudan” or multiplication table! No kidding! I thought my son was doing well in his addition at 6 years old!
Korean students didn’t participate in the reading literacy. I wonder how they would place though. Moms in Korea literary spend millions of won in books.


  1. is 5 1/2 Korean or international age? in the Philippines, the curriculum has advanced a lot (private schools). i realized that during my time the ministry of education underestimated the intelligence of grade 1 pupils. i have 3 nephews, 15, 12 and 6. all went to school at age 4. at this age they learned the following: read time (by 5, e.g. 1.25, 3.55, 4.40); write and add simple fractions; addition and subtraction of 3 digits; write numbers in words (in thousands, e.g. 37,893 thirty seven thousand eight hundred ninety three). their science lessons were also advanced. more advanced than when i studied them in grade 1. then at 5, they learned subtraction using burrowing or carry-over and multiplication from 1 to 10. my friends kids also learned all these at ages 4-5. my nephews started their education at a nearby house-school. the owner converted the ground floor of her house into a nursery-kindergarten school. the tuition was very low at the time, not more than P15K, yet my nephews learned a lot, speak English well, and are more competitive than the kids attending big private schools. they all grew up to be very smart. in fact, my second nephew attends a science high school.
    i cannot understand why PH gov’t cannot implement the same curriculum as what private schools are using when they can just simply change the books. i don’t think training and budget should be a problem because public school teachers are licensed, therefore, they are more qualified to teach than private school teachers who are mostly non-passers. i expect more from public school teachers when it comes to quality of teaching because their salary is higher and they receive more benefits. teachers in private schools, especially in the small ones, receive less than the minimum.
    maybe there are other reasons why the lessons in public schools are late. honestly, i have no idea why.

    1. Yes, 5 1/2 international age. My son attends day care and he will go straight to elementary school next year. He skipped kindergarten/preschool. I also went to a private school from elementary (Angeles University Foundation) and I didn’t learn multiplication until when I got to the third grade, so I’m quite surprised at what these kids are learning before they even go to school. My son learns about plants, animals, astronomy, Korean history and culture from our visits to museums. The same can be said about other Korean kids.
      Anyway, it could be the size of public school classes that may be a factor why they’re late.

  2. Hi ate Betchay,
    I know that in Korea, maaga nilang ineeducate ang kanilang mga anak bago ang formal schooling. Napanood ko minsan sa tv, 3 years old pa lang yung bata e marunong na syang magbasa at magsulat. Nagulat ako kasi natuto lang akong magbasa at magsulat nung 7 years old na ako..haha
    Ngayon ay medy nag-aalala ako kung pano ko tuturuan ang anak ko. I am married to a Korean at may 2 month old na kaming anak. 1 year pa lang ako sa dito sa Korea kaya hindi pa ako magaling mag-Korean. I worry kung paano ko ituturo sa anak ko ang Science at Math sa Korean. I know na kailangan kong mag-aral ng mabuti ng Korean at magsalita nito pero ang problema ay english lang ang gamit namin mag-asawa sa conversation.
    Can you give me some ideas ate betchay kung pano niyo po tinuturuan ang anak nyo? ano po ba ang mga dilemma ng mga foreinger mothers sa pagpapalaki ng anak sa Korea? please shed some lights..hehe..
    thank you po and more power

        1. Hi! I’ll be including recipes in my other blog ;p I’ve tried recipes and collected pictures. I’ll be posting Korean parents-in-law approved recipes on my other blog soon ;p

  3. it’s true that they are intelligent…
    i think a korean placed first in the mathematics olympiad held in our country… (his name sound like korean)

  4. I guess that’s not surprising anymore. Koreans are known for their intelligence especially in Math. I’ve heard that you don’t commonly use calculators and you do mind calculations. Way to go then.

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