Indigenous Australians have been known to be disadvantaged in many ways although higher art and physical self-concepts have been reported with Indigenous samples. Given recent research demonstrating the reciprocal effects of achievement and self-concept in academic domains, Indigenous students may experience further disadvantages in both academic performance and self-concept. A sample of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students (N = 1,342) from schools in New South Wales (NSW), Australia were asked to respond to a survey measuring: 5 domains of self-concept (i.e., school, reading, maths, art, and physical abilities), 2 learning-related factors (enjoyment and participation), and a self-assessment of their school work. Their scores in a NSW state-wide assessment of students’ literacy and numeracy were also obtained. Confirmatory factor analysis established the self-concept and learning-related factors. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) using a 2 (identity: Indigenous vs. Non-Indigenous) x 2 (region: urban vs. rural) design found significant effects of identity for all variables except for art self-concept. That is, non-Indigenous students scored higher than Indigenous students in literacy and numeracy tests, self-concepts, learning-related factors, and self-ratings of school work, irrespective of region. The results did not support previous research demonstrating a relatively higher art self-concept for Indigenous children based on stereotypical perspectives. These results imply, that educators would be well advised to not assume stereotypic differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students or assume a great difference between Indigenous students from urban and rural school settings. However, there seems to be a need for improving the school environment so as to promote Indigenous students’ performance and enjoyment of school life.
Institute for Positive Psychology and Education
Open Access Journal Article
Indigenous Australian, self-concept, rural, schools
Yeung, A. S, Craven, R. G & Ali, J. (2013). Self-concepts and educational outcomes of indigenous Australian students in urban and rural school settings. School Psychology International,34(4), 405-427. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0143034312446890