Van Zanden, B., Marsh, H. W, Seaton, M., Parker, P. D, Guo, J. & Duineveld, J. (2017). How well do parents know their adolescent children? Parent inferences of student self-concepts reflect dimensional comparison processes [accepted manuscript]. Learning and Instruction,47 25-32. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.09.002
The internal/external frame of reference (I/E) model posits paradoxical relations between achievement and self-concept in mathematics and verbal domains. There is strong support for the I/E model based on student self-ratings, however, reviews of self-concept research claim that the I/E model does not apply to ratings by parents and significant others. We aimed to test these claims using parent inferred self-concepts. In contrast to widely cited claims, we found support for I/E model for both students (N = 486; aged 11–17; 57.2% female) and their parents (80.5% female). Math and verbal achievement had positive effects on self-concepts in the matching domain (e.g., math achievement predicting math self-concept) but negative effects for self-concepts in the non-matching domain (e.g., math achievement predicting verbal self-concept). Integrating conflicting claims, we found support for dimensional comparison processes for inferred self-concept ratings by parents, but not for parent perceptions of student abilities similar to the measures used that were the basis of previous claims.
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