Stones from Another Mountain: A Critical-Cultural Comparison of Chinese and U.S. High-Impact Learning Practices


Jingyi Xu, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Mitchell Strzepek, Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development


The Association of American Colleges and Universities promotes 11 high-impact practices for undergraduate learning that have been widely adopted in the U.S. This study investigates the cross-cultural relevance of these practices in 18 Chinese universities, based on reports from 20 mid- and high-level higher education administrators employed in a varied set of universities throughout China. Findings indicate that the U.S. practices are either absent in Chinese higher education or are present in significantly different forms. Results also include distinctly Chinese high-impact practices. A critical-cultural “transpositional” analysis focuses on how Chinese and U.S. colleges and universities might translate potentially useful practices across cultures according to each country’s distinct sociocultural context and postsecondary goals.

Keywords: high-impact practices, Chinese higher education, critical-cultural analysis, transpositional