How well do profiles of achievements in different school subjects agree with corresponding profiles of academic self-concept? To what extent can self-concept/achievement relations be explained in terms of higher-order constructs (e.g., general achievement and general self-concept)? Marsh (1992) explored these issues in a study of relations between academic self-concept and achievement in 8 school subjects. He adapted the traditional MTMM methodology so that the multiple traits were the eight different school subjects and the multiple methods referred to the two different constructs (academic achievement and self-concept). Whereas the study obviously had a two-facet design (8 school subjects X 2 constructs), neither of the facets was really a "method" facet. Nevertheless, the logic underlying MTMM provided useful insights. Correlations between matching areas of achievement and self-concept (convergent validities) were substantial for all 8 school subjects (.45 to .70; mean r = .57), whereas correlations between achievement and self-concept in nonmatching subjects were systematically lower (.17 to .54; mean r = .33). These results support convergent and discriminant validity of the self-concept responses and the content specificity of relations between academic self-concept and achievements.
Marsh (1992) then tested alternative CFA models of the 64 correlations between the 8 achievement and 8 self-concept scores. In Model 1 only relations between the 8 matching achievement and self-concept scores were freely estimated; the remaining 56 relations were fixed to be zero. The paths leading from each achievement score to the matching self-concept scale were all substantial (.45 to .70; mean = .57), and the model provided a very good fit to the data (TLI = .96). In Model 2, one higher-order achievement factor and one higher-order self-concept factor was posited, and the relations between the 8 achievement scores and the 8 self-concept scores were represented in terms of the correlation between the pair of higher-order factors. Although the correlation between the higher-order factors was very high (r = .83), the goodness of fit of the model was poor (TLI = .719). In summary, the results provided strong support for the construct (convergent) validity of multiple dimensions of academic self-concept in relation to academic achievement and the content specificity (discriminant validity) of the relations. The findings also demonstrated that the relations between specific (lower-order) self-concept and achievement factors were not represented adequately by higher-order factors.
In an interesting follow-up of this research, Marsh and Yeung (1997) showed that academic self-concepts in each school subject were more predictive of subsequent coursework selection in different school subjects than the corresponding school grades. Both self-concept and achievement were substantially related to each other and to coursework selection. However, when both self-concept and grades were used to predict course-work selection, self-concept contributed substantially beyond the effect of grades, whereas grades made no significant contribution beyond the contribution of self-concept.
Was this article helpful?