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Bai shan xiao wei xian : filial piety, academic self-concept, and the academic achievement of students in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Educational Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Research has long argued in favour of the influence of culture on students’ learning and
achievement. New Zealand, with its recent influx of migrants and rich multicultural
background, is no exception to the way in which culture can implicate how students see
themselves as learners. For East Asian students, the Confucian virtue of filial piety (‘xiao’)
can be a significant motivator in their academic success. Currently, there is a lack of research
on the motivational qualities of filial piety in regard to the academic self-concept of students
and their subsequent achievement. This study examines the relationship between filial piety,
and students’ academic self-concept and academic achievement in a New Zealand
intermediate school. A quantitative method of self-reporting survey was used to assess filial
piety and academic self-concept from a cohort of 43 students, and was collated in conjunction
with their academic achievements in Literacy (English) and Numeracy (mathematics).
Regression analysis is used to examine the relationships across the variables. Results indicate
that filial piety does not have a significant impact on students’ academic self-concept and
their subsequent academic achievement. However, there is a consistent, positive, and
significant correlation between participants’ academic self-concept across both achievement
areas. These findings suggest that students’ academic self-concept can play a key role in their
levels of academic achievement, and that school and home effort should focus more on
encouraging the positive self-perceptions of students of all cultures within New Zealand.
While filial piety does not have a statistically significant impact on students’ academic selfconcept
and academic achievement in this study, future research is recommended with a
larger sample in order to derive results that have greater representation of the New Zealand