Global literacy: comparing Chinese and US high school students

Rong Zhang (College of Education Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China)
Hui‐Yin Hsu (School of Education, New York Institute of Technology, Locust Valley, New York, USA)
Shiang‐Kwei Wang (School of Education, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, New York, USA)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Publication date: 15 June 2010



The purpose of this paper is to compare high school students' global literacy level in metropolitan areas of China and the USA.


The authors adopted a global literacy instrument to surveyed 2,157 New York City (NYC) high school students and 2,220 Chinese high school students. This paper adopted an independent sample t‐test and an ANOVA to identify significant differences regarding demographic features on the Likert‐scale items, and used the Pearson correlation coefficient to explore the degree of association between factors.


From this global literacy scale, compared with NYC high school students, Chinese students have greater awareness of comprehending and appreciating cross‐cultural perspectives, becoming global citizens, and exhibited greater approval of the performance of their own country's interconnectedness and interdependence with other countries. Students in the two countries exhibited similar confidence in using new literacies.

Practical implications

Students would pay close attention to global issues if they were aware of how these issues affect their daily life and future. With critical‐thinking abilities, students would be in a better position to make decisions that contribute to the common good. With awareness of diverse cultures, students could learn the values, strengths, and weaknesses of people. With fluency in new literacies, students could research and analyze information from multiple resources, and collaborate with others through the use of technology.


This paper profiles the global literacy of US and Chinese high school students, describes factors correlated with both US and Chinese students' global literacy, and suggests students' preferences regarding “global education”‐related activities.



Zhang, R., Hsu, H. and Wang, S. (2010), "Global literacy: comparing Chinese and US high school students", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 76-98.

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