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von Keyserlingk, Luise; Becker, Michael; Jansen, Malte:

Academic self-concept during the transition to upper secondary school

In: Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56 (2019) , 152-160


3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)

Längsschnittuntersuchung, Deutschland, Übergang, Sekundarstufe I, Sekundarstufe II, Selbstkonzept, Mathematische Kompetenz, Schülerleistung, Leistungstest, Schulnoten, Leistungskurs, Grundkurs, Schuljahr 10, Schuljahr 12, Einflussfaktor, Vergleich, Faktorenanalyse

Research on the big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE) has shown that the learning environment is important for the development of academic self-concept (ASC) because students use social comparisons to evaluate their ability level. Whereas cross-sectional studies have often replicated the BFLPE, less is known about this effect from a longitudinal perspective during times when changes occur in students' learning environments. Thus, we focused on a timespan during which a student's learning environment changes - the transition from lower to upper secondary school. In upper secondary school in Germany, students leave their former classes and take either advanced or basic courses. Advanced courses are characterized by more demanding curricula and a higher achieving student body. Consequently, the compositions of the student groups change. We examined the BFLPE in the context of math self-concept (MSC) in N=1330 students during the transition from lower secondary (10th grade) to upper secondary school (12th grade) in Germany using longitudinal, large-scale data. We focused on contrast and assimilation effects as well as on the longitudinal persistence of the BFLPE from lower to upper secondary school. The BFLPE occurred at both measurement points, and there was an assimilation effect of the enrollment in advanced courses in 12th grade. The BFLPE from 10th grade did not persist into 12th grade, indicating that the BFLPE does not persist through contextual changes. Instead, information about the current frame of reference (i.e., average course achievement and course level) seems to overwrite context effects from previous learning environments, even if this change occurs within schools as constant macro-contexts. (DIPF/Orig.)

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