I agree American students tend to be far less academically engaged than students in other countries. I believe American students prefer to be corresponding socially than engaged in academics. American students say they find education boring and don't seem to be able to motivate themselves. Perhaps it is time to change the way we educate our young.
I believe it is likely that students in America are less academically engaged than students in other countries. My son has hated school since the day he stepped into Pre-K and there has been little we could do to change his mind. He is now in the 2nd grade and hates it just as much, if not more. I think the teachers here, the majority anyway, lack the ability to make the studies engaging and interesting. I think they also lack responsibility when it comes to challenges, like my son, where tried and true doesn't always work. I think they are too quick to give up or too head strong to try new approaches.
I believe students in developing countries have a large motivation to work as hard as possible so they can rise out of poverty and obtain good employment, in America many students are not suffering from poverty conditions and so they lack that motivation, many are just coasting through until they graduate.
It is true that students in high school and college in the United States tend not to be as focused on their studies as those students in many other countries. However, that may be because they are seeking a more well rounded experience that includes socializing and working and that can be healthier in the long run.