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ERIC Number: EJ986404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Apr
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0004-9441
Negative Effects of School-Average Achievement on Academic Self-Concept: A Comparison of the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect across Australian States and Territories
Marsh, Herbert W.
Australian Journal of Education, v48 n1 p5-26 Apr 2004
Attending academically selective schools is intended to have positive effects, but a growing body of theoretical and empirical research demonstrates that the effects are negative for academic self-concept. The big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE), based on social comparison theory, posits that equally able students will have lower academic self-concepts in academically selective schools than in non-selective schools. Here we test the validity of these predictions for representative samples of 15-year-olds from eight Australian states and territories by using multi-level modelling. Consistent with the BFLPE, the effects of individual student achievement were positive but the effects of school-average achievement were negative. Although there were small differences between states/territories in academic achievement, there were no significant differences between states/territories in the negative effects of school-average ability. (Contains 4 tables and 3 figures.)
Australian Council for Educational Research. 19 Prospect Hill Road, Camberwell, VIC 3124, Australia. Tel: +61-3-9277-5447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment