The study sampled 288 Kindergarteners, 240 first graders and 240 fifth graders from each country. The samples were evenly divided between boys and girls in Minneapolis, MN, USA, Taipei, Taiwan and Sendai, Japan. The children were sampled from 10 different schools in each city.

Upper middle class neighborhoods were chosen in each city. Minnesota is widely regarded as possessing one of the best public education systems in the United States. If problems were noted in the Minneapolis students, the authors felt that the problems would extend to the rest of the United States.