"They say, ‘Oh, good job; that’s still a pretty high score.’ But you can tell they’re disappointed, so you just study harder to make them happier,” he said.
Sometimes the pressure can be tough, but Macvictor, who is Vietnamese and also a first-generation American, is thankful for his parents’ prodding.
"In our families, it’s just, we have different standards,” he said. "Officially, a C is average, and in my family, a C is unacceptable.”
The high proportion of Asians in the district’s gifted program echoes national figures. The overrepresentation of such students has been studied, said Joseph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
"I think that they have this unbelievably high work ethic when it comes to schoolwork; therefore, they spend more time studying, and they do better on tests,” he said.
Renzulli said a problem in Oklahoma City schools and the nation is that some students may not be recognized as gifted because they don’t understand the English-language exams.