Shanghai, China, trounced the OECD average in an international test of 15-year-olds' skills in math, science, and reading. Why? Experts ascribe Shanghai’s success to China's assessment that academic achievement is foremost the result of hard work rather than a good teacher or innate talent. “Students not only work harder, but they attribute their academic success to their own work,” says James Stigler, a professor of psychology at UCLA who has conducted research on the Chinese educational system. “Chinese students say the most important factor is studying hard. They really believe that’s the root of success in learning.”