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ERIC Number: ED530080
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 44
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-8532-8190-0
ISSN: ISSN-2045-6557
Students' Academic Self-Perception. CEE DP 90
Chevalier, Arnaud; Gibbons, Stephen; Hoskins, Sherria; Snell, Martin; Thorpe, Andy
Centre for the Economics of Education (NJ1)
There is a large gap in higher education attainment between different groups of society, especially along gender, class and ethnic dimensions. Reducing these gaps in attainment has been at the forefront of policy makers, not only in this country but also in most advanced economy with policies ranging from financial support to positive discrimination. However, policies can only be effective if the reasons behind these gaps are understood. This research explores another reason why individuals from specific group do not invest in higher education. The authors postulate that they may have misbelieves in their own ability and under estimate their chance of success. To test this hypothesis the authors rely on two datasets. The first is the 2003 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) which surveyed 15 year old, and administered a comprehensive test in mathematics. The second dataset is based on an online survey of first year students in two British universities. The authors find that males overestimate their own performance in math and English, as well as their position in the score distribution. Relative to students with the most favourable background, working class students under-estimate their performance in math and white students under-estimate their relative position in both math and English. The gender and class gaps are especially large in numeracy, at around 20% of the average score. Self-perception also correlates with educational confidence in general but the effect is small. The effect of self-perception on the decision to participate in higher education does not seem to work through its effect on risk aversion and the returns to higher education, because self-perception is only weakly correlated with these factors. Policies that raise academic self-confidence in schools are, unsurprisingly, likely to raise participation rates but are unlikely to close participation gaps unless targeted only at underrepresented groups. This is not to suggest that students should be praised whatever their results but on the contrary, trained to develop objective views about their own ability. (Contains 7 tables, 3 figures and 23 footnotes.)
Centre for the Economics of Education. London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, UK. Tel: +44-20-7955-7673; Fax: +44-20-7955-7595; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department for Children, Schools and Families
Authoring Institution: London School of Economics & Political Science, Centre for the Economics of Education
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment