Princeton University Library Catalog

Cultural Contributions to the Seemingly Paradoxical Relationship between Self-Concept and Mathematics Achievement

Chang, Carina [Browse]
Senior thesis
Hambrick, James [Browse]
Allen, Lesley [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
59 pages
Restrictions note:
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note:
Self-concept consists of self-perceptions about one’s ability within a specific domain (Byrne & Shavelson, 1986). Studies show that students with positive perceptions tend to perform better on achievement tests (Dermitzaki, Leondari, & Goudas, 2009; Ireson & Hallam, 2009; Marsh & Hau, 2004). However, cross-cultural comparisons of mathematics self-concept and mathematics achievement have shown that East Asian students typically received the highest scores yet reported the lowest levels of self-concept (Fleischman, Hopstock, Pelczar, & Shelley, 2012; Provasnik et al., 2012). This presents a seemingly paradoxical link between mathematics self-concept and mathematics performance. Conventional studies have looked at how differences in schooling system, intelligence beliefs, parental expectations, and peer comparison groups may explain this paradox. This study examines these factors and comes to the conclusion that while multiple factors may contribute to this paradox, only peer comparison groups can account for the relationship between math self-concept and performance.