Subject Specific Components of Academic Self Concept and Self Efficacy: A Response to Skaalvik and Rankin (in press)

Year: 1990

Author: Marsh, Herbert W., Walker, Richard, Debus, Raymond

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Internal/External (I/E) frame of reference model posits academic self-concept in a particular subject is based in part on how achievement in that subject is perceived to compare with achievements in other school subjects. The model predicts that math and verbal self-concepts are substantially less correlated than the corresponding achievements, and has been supported in Australian, Canadian, and US studies. Skaalvik and Rankin (in press) reported, however, that math and verbal self-concepts were as highly correlated as verbal and math achievements for Norwegian students, suggesting to them that there may be cultural differences. Their self-concept measure, however, was actually a self-efficacy measure and their results may reflect differences between self-concept and self- efficacy. This interpretation was supported in the present investigation which found support for the I/E model for self-concept responses but not for self-efficacy responses. The results were interpreted in relation to the role of frames of reference used in forming self-concept and self- efficacy responses. The purpose of the the present investigation is to compare and contrast some key features in measures of academic self-concept and academic self-efficacy. The research was stimulated in part by Skaalvik and Rankin (in press) who were unable to replicate results from self- concept research using instruments that resemble traditional self-efficacy measures more than self-concept measures. Critical emphases are the content specificity of academic self-concept and self-efficacy, and the role of frames of reference.