Liem, G. A, Marsh, H. W, Martin, A. J, McInerney, D. M & Yeung, AS. (2013). The Big-fish-little-pond effect and a national policy of within-school ability streaming: alternative frames of reference. American Educational Research Journal,50(2), 326-370. United States of America: Sage Publications, Inc.. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831212464511
The big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE) was evaluated with 4,461 seventh to ninth graders in Singapore where a national policy of ability streaming is implemented. Consistent with the BFLPE, when prior achievement was controlled, students in the high-ability stream had lower English and mathematics self-concepts (ESCs and MSCs) and those in the lower-ability stream had higher ESCs and MSCs. Consistent with the local-dominance effect, the effect of stream-average achievement on ESCs and MSCs was more negative than—and completely subsumed—the negative effect of school-average achievement. However, stream-average achievement was stronger than, or as strong as, the more local class-average achievement. Taken together, findings highlight the potential interplay of a local dominance effect with variability and/or salience of target comparisons in academic self-concept formations.
Institute for Positive Psychology and Education
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