Title: Endorsing achievement goals exacerbates the big-fish-Little-pond effect on academic self-concept
Authors: Wouters, Sofie ×
Colpin, Hilde
Van Damme, Jan
Verschueren, Karine #
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Routledge
Series Title: Educational Psychology vol:35 issue:2 pages:252-270
Abstract: The big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE) model predicts students’ academic self-concept to be negatively predicted by the achievement level of their reference group, controlling for individual achievement. Despite an abundance of empirical evidence supporting the BFLPE, there have been relatively few studies searching for possible moderators. Integrating the BFLPE model with Achievement Goal Theory, the present study aims to determine whether the negative effect of class-average achievement on academic self-concept is moderated by individual and class-average achievement goals. Our sample comprised of 2987 students (50% boys) from Grade 6 in 112 elementary schools in the Flemish region of Belgium (174 classes). Applying multilevel modelling, we found a stronger BFLPE when students’ individual achievement goals were higher, regardless of the specific nature of these goals. The BFLPE was not moderated by class-average levels of achievement goals. Overall, our findings demonstrate that the BFLPE is moderated by individual goal-related factors.
ISSN: 0144-3410
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:School Psychology and Development in Context
Educational Effectiveness and Evaluation
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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