Relationships between self-concept and directly observed behaviors in kindergarten children

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Twenty kindergarten children who were nominated by teachers as not being socially and academically competent (low-rated) and 36 kindergarten children who were nominated by teachers as competent (high-rated) participated in this study. Self-concept and academic achievement data were gathered on each subject. In addition, all children were observed in class, with particular attention to compliance/non-compliance with adult requests, on-task/off-task behavior, and positive/negative social behaviors with peers. The results indicate that: (a) The factor structure of the self-concept instrument (Primary Self-concept Inventory) was replicated in both groups of children. (b) There were no significant differences in self-concept scores among high- vs. low-rated children. (c) There were profound differences in academic and social behaviors that were found to covary with positive self-evaluations within the two study groups. In general, high-rated children who felt best about themselves were higher achievers and more compliant than were their study group cohorts. Low-rated children who felt best about themselves were, on the contrary, more off-task, more negative in their peer contacts, and inferior academically to their study group cohorts.

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