Perceiving Achievement in Schools: How do Self-appraisals, Peer Appraisals and Achievement Relate to Each Other?

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2017
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Erziehungswissenschaft
Advisor: Kelava, Augustin (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2017-01-13
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
370 - Education
Keywords: Psychologie , Bildungsforschung , Schulleistung , Selbsteinschätzung , Interpersonale Wahrnehmung
Other Keywords: Schulische Leistung
Peer appraisals
Academic achievement
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Self-appraisals of achievement (short: self-appraisals) are guiding students’ behavior in school and they determine academic success. In addition, peer appraisals about a student were shown to have an effect on that student’s future development, including academic achievement. In turn, academic achievement is undoubtedly a precursor of both self-appraisals and peer appraisals. However, beyond the notion that these three constructs are associated, major aspects of their interrelations are not well understood. Since self-appraisals and peer appraisals provide a potential lever to positively affect students’ academic achievement, it is vital to better understand the strength of their connection, their functional relationship, and their relatedness in terms of shared correlates. Therefore, the present thesis aims at investigating the links between self-appraisals, peer appraisals, and achievement with schools as context. Study 1 targeted the link between self-appraisals and achievement by investigating the association between postdictions of and performance in the final school exam in Germany (the Abitur). Using the domains of math and English, the average correlation between both postdictions and exam grades, their average deviation (i.e., postdiction bias), as well as individual differences in postdiction bias were explored in a sample of 2,164 high school students. On average, students’ postdictions were highly associated with achievement, indicating that students could accurately appraise their performance. Individual differences in postdiction bias were predicted by cognitive abilities, internal and contextual references, as well as evaluative tendencies. Study 2 targeted the triangular connection of self-appraisals, peer appraisals, and achievement. An interpersonal approach to academic self-concept in math was proposed that disentangled variance of self-concept ratings into several components: a “trait” of perceived achievement that was shared with peers (target effect), a “method“ of how a student rated peers’ achievement (perceiver effect), and a student’s self-appraisal that was not shared with others (self-enhancement). The interpersonal approach was investigated using a sample of 1,549 school students in 87 classes of two age cohorts, who rated their own and their peers’ competence. Results supported the validity of the target effect as representing a shared competence appraisal. In turn, this shared appraisal predicted achievement gains. Conversely, self-enhancement had a comparatively small effect on improvements in achievement. Study 3 mainly targeted the link between achievement and peer appraisals by investigating whether the internal/external frame of reference (I/E) model would be equally valid for peer ratings of competence as it is valid for academic self-concept. The I/E model posits that students’ academic self-concept in one domain (e.g., math) is positively associated with achievement in the same domain, but negatively associated with achievement in a comparison domain (e.g., English). The I/E model was compared between peer ratings of competence and academic self-concept in math and English, using a sample of 850 seventh grade students in 47 classes, who rated every classmate’s competence in both domains within a round-robin design. Results supported the I/E model for academic self-concept but not for peer ratings. In a general discussion, findings of the three studies are summarized against the background of the current state of research that is relevant for interpersonal achievement perception, including research in education, motivation, cognition, and personality. Thereby, it is emphasized how this thesis may be used to inform future research on an interpersonal conception of achievement appraisals and how the results may inform practice in schools to foster the optimal level of self-appraisals.

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