Stevenson, Harold W. 1924–2005
Stevenson, Harold W. 1924–2005
(Harold William Stevenson)
PERSONAL: Born November 19, 1924, in Dines, WY; died from pneumonia, July 8, 2005, in Palo Alto, CA; son of Merlin R. and Mildred M. (Stodick) Stevenson; married Nancy Guy, August 23, 1950; children; Peggy, Janet, Andrew, Patricia. Education: University of Colorado, B.A., 1947; Stanford University, M.A., 1948, Ph.D., 1951; University of Minnesota, D.S., 1996.
CAREER: Developmental psychologist, educator, and writer. Pomona College, Pomona, CA, assistant professor of psychology, 1950–53; University of Texas, Austin, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of psychology, 1953–59; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, professor of child development and psychology, director of the Institute for Child Development, 1959–71; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, professor of psychology and fellow of the Center for Human Growth and Development, 1971–2005, director of the program in child development and social policy, 1978–93.
Career-related activities include National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, committee member, 1964–67; Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences, fellow, 1967–68, 1982–83, 1989–90; National Research Council, executive committee in the division of behavioral sciences, 1969–72; national Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, chairman of the advisory committee on child development, 1971–73; National Institute of Mental Health, member of the personality and cognition study section, 1975–79; Harvard University, member of the visiting committee at the Graduate School of Education, 1979–86; Tohoku Fukushi College, Japan, adjunct professor, 1989–2005; People's Republic of China, member of childhood development programs, Peking University, 1990–2005.
MEMBER: American Academy of the Arts and Sciences (fellow), National Academy of Education, American Psychological Association (president of the division of developmental psychology, 1964–65), Society for Research in Child Development (governing council, 1961–67, president, 1969–71, chairman of long-range planning committee, 1971–74, social policy committee, 1977–85, international affairs committee, 1991–94), International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (executive committee, 1972–77, president, 1987–91), Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi.
AWARDS, HONORS: G. Stanley Hall Award, American Psychological Association, 1988; Distinguished Research Award, Society for Research in Child Development, 1993; J.M. Cattell Fellow Award in applied psychology, American Psychological Society, 1994; William James Fellow Award, 1995; Quest Award, American Federation of Teachers, 1995; Bronfenbrenner Award and Distinguished Scientist Award in Applications of Psychology, both American Psychological Association, both 1997.
(Editor, with Ira Iscoe) Personality Development in Children, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1960.
(Editor, with others) Child Psychology, National Society for the Study of Education (Chicago, IL),1963.
(Editor) Concept of Developoment: A Report, University of Chicago Press for the Society for Research in Child Development (Chicago, IL), 1966.
(Editor, with Eckhard H. Hess and Harriet L. Rheingold) Early Behavior: Comparative and Developmental Approaches, Wiley (New York, NY), 1967.
(Compiler) Studies of Children's Learning: A Bibliography, Psychonomic Journals (Goleta, CA), 1968.
Children's Learning, Appleton-Century-Crofts (New York, NY), 1972.
(Editor, with Daniel A. Wagner) Cultural Perspectives on Child Development, W.H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1982.
(Editor, with Scott G. Paris and Gary M. Olson) Learning and Motivation in the Classroom, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Hillsdale, NJ),1983.
(Editor, with Alberta E. Siegel) Child Development Research and Social Policy, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.
(Editor and contributor, with Hiroshi Azuma and Kenji Hakuta) Child Development and Education in Japan, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1986.
(Editor, with James W. Stigler and Shin-Ying Lee) Mathematical Knowledge of Japanese, Chinese, and American Elementary School Children, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (Reston, VA), 1990.
(With James W. Stigler)The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education, Summit Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Also author, with Nancy G. Stevenson, of Social Interaction in an Interracial Nursery School; contributor to numerous books, including Interrelations and Correlates in Children's Learning and Problem Solving, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1968; Schooling, Environment, and Cognitive Development: A Cross-Cultural Study, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1978; Making the Grade in Mathematics: Elementary School Mathematics in the United States, Taiwan, and Japan, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (Reston, VA), 1990; International Comparisons of Entrance and Exit Examinations: Japan, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement (Washington, DC), 1997.
SIDELIGHTS: Harold W. Stevenson was a developmental psychologist who conducted numerous cross-cultural studies focusing on education and school achievement and was most noted for his analysis of Asian schools that led to reforms in the United States. He was also the editor and author of books focusing child development and education, including Child Development and Education in Japan, which Stevenson contributed to and served as coeditor of with Hiroshi Azuma and Kenji Hakuta. The book's nineteen papers look at both the school systems and the cultural factors in Japan that have influenced child rearing and education. Stevenson's contributions focus on education and why Japanese children excel in the classroom as compared to American students, especially in the area of math. Writing in Science, Takie Sugiyama Lebra commented, "Those troubled by the problems of American education will gain new insight, if not solutions, from the cross-cultural material cogently presented."
Among the author's most notable books is The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education, which Stevenson wrote with James W. Stigler. Based on comparative research conducted in Asian countries and the United States, the authors explore differences between the educational systems of countries like China, Japan, and Taiwan with the American system. They also discuss differences in cultural influences and psychological mindsets that also influence a child's education. For example, the authors report that one of the primary differences between Asian and American schoolchildren is that Asian parents and educational systems are more likely to emphasize individual effort as opposed to innate abilities. They also point out that there is a closer integration between school and home in Asia than America, which leads to students paying more attention to things like homework and being prepared for classes. Writing in NEA Today, Mark Simon commented that the book "offers a glimpse of what we'd know if the federal government were funding real educational research." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book "timely, free of jargon and from 'culture-bashing.'"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Arithmetic Teacher, February, 1991, George Nattras, review of Making the Grade in Mathematics: Elementary School Mathematics in the United States, Taiwan, and Japan, p. 62; September, 1992, Rosamond Welchman-Tischler, review of Mathematical Knowledge of Japanese, Chinese, and American Elementary School Children, p. 57.
Bloomsbury Review, September, 1992, review of The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education, p. 9.
Booklist, April 15, 1992, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Learning Gap, p. 1490.
Choice, November, 1967, review of Early Behavior: Comparative and Developmental Approaches, p. 1054; September, 1972, review of Studies of Children's Learning, p. 886; November, 1986, review of Child Development and Education in Japan, p. 516.
Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 1992, Laurel Shaper Walters, review of The Learning Gap, p. 13.
Contemporary Sociology, January, 1988, Mary C. Brinton, review of Child Development and Education in Japan, p. 102; July, 1993, Merry I. White, review of The Learning Gap, p. 534.
Educational Leadership, November, 1973, review of Children's Learning, p. 182; November, 1986, review of Child Development and Education in Japan, p. 101.
Educational Studies, fall, 1987, review of Child Development and Education in Japan, p. 405.
Journal of Negro Education, summer, 1993, Reuben G. Pierce, review of The Learning Gap, p. 394.
Library Journal, May 1, 1992, Lois F. Roets, review of The Learning Gap, p. 96.
NEA Today, October, 1992, Mark Simon, review of The Learning Gap, p. 36.
New Republic, May 11, 1992, review of The Learning Gap, p. 47.
Public Interest, spring, 1992, Chester E. Finn, Jr., review of The Learning Gap, p. 106.
Publishers Weekly, March 9, 1992, review of The Learning Gap, p. 43.
Science Books & Films, September, 1987, review of Child Development and Education in Japan, p. 25.
Science, April 10, 1987, Takie Sugiyama Lebra, review of Child Development and Education in Japan, p. 205.
Times Educational Supplement, December 15, 1992, review of The Learning Gap, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2005, p. B12.
Mercury News (San Jose, CA), July 21, 2005.
New York Times, July 16, 2005, p. B14.
Washington Post, July 23, 2005, p. B6.