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What Happens to the Fish's Achievement in a Little Pond?: A Simultaneous Analysis of Class-average Achievement Effects on Achievement and Academic Self-concept

How does the achievement level in their class influence the achievement development of learners?

Empirical studies have demonstrated that students who are taught in a group of students with higher average achievement benefit in terms of their achievement. However, there is also evidence showing that being surrounded by high-achieving students has a negative effect on students’ academic self-concept, also known as the big-fish–little-pond effect. In view of the reciprocal relationship between achievement and academic self-concept, the study aimed to scrutinise how the average achievement of a class affects students’ achievement and academic self-concept, and how that, in turn, affects subsequent achievement and academic self-concept. The results indicate that the consequences for students of belonging to a group of high-achieving students should be analysed with respect to both academic self-concept and achievement.

Buchcover Achievement Level in classStäbler, F., Dumont, H., Becker, M. & Baumert, J.(2016). Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 191-207.

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last modified Jan 31, 2018