ISSN 1443-1475 © 2007 Shannon Research Press.
A Rasch analysis of the Academic Self-Concept
Joyce Bei Yu Tan
School of Education, Flinders University
Shirley M. Yates
School of Education, Flinders University firstname.lastname@example.org This study used the Rasch model to assess the unidimensionality and item-person fit of an Academic Self-Concept Questionnaire (ASCQ) that is based on the Confucian Heritage Culture (CHC) perspective. Knowledge of the relationship between academic achievement and academic self-concept is particularly useful because academic achievement is overemphasized in the CHC. ASCQ largely satisfies the Rasch model for unidimensionality. However, four items had poor Infit statistics, suggesting that they do not contribute significantly to the scale hierarchy. Rasch model also confirmed the unidimensionality of the two subscales – Academic Confidence and Academic Effort. The academic self-concept scale, academic effort and academic confidence subscales were also been found to be valid with students with learning disabilities. Results from this study will extend the predominantly Western based literature regarding Academic Self-Concept by reaffirming the construct of a CHC measure of academic self-concept that incorporates the values of academic effort and academic confidence.
Academic self-concept, Confucian heritage culture, Rasch analysis, Singapore, learning disabilities
Singapore was the top performing country in the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), having significantly higher average achievement in mathematics and science than the rest of the participating countries (Ministry of Education, 2004). The TIMSS study conducted of Grade 4 (Singapore Primary 4) and Grade 8 (Singapore Secondary 2) students in 49 countries by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) affirmed the high quality of Mathematics and Science education in Singapore. Previously, Singapore’s Secondary 2 students consistently performed among the top in Mathematics and Science in three similar TIMSS studies. They finished first in both Mathematics and Science in TIMSS 1995 and 2003, first in Mathematics and second in Science in TIMSS 1999. Singapore’s Primary 4 students finished first in Mathematics and seventh in Science in TIMSS 1995 and first in both Mathematics and Science in TIMSS 2003 (Ministry of Education, 2004). Although Singapore was the top performing country, it scored below the international average in the Index of Students’ Self-confidence in learning Mathematics as well as Science. Supporting this, an international investigation using the TIMSS data showed that Singapore ranked sixth from the bottom of 41 countries (M = 2.68, SD = 0.73, r = 0.25) (Wilkins, 2004). When using a large nationally representative sample (N = 14, 825 students, 1, 015 high schools), it was reported that there was a negative effect relating to schools: those students who have higher self-concept tended to have lower performance in terms of achievement and vice versa. Tan and Yates 471
Self-concept is an important construct in psychology and education especially academic selfconcept which is generally defined as a person’s perception of self with respect to achievement in school (Reyes, 1984, pp. 558-560). Considering that the TIMSS study had identified an existing discrepancy between academic self-concept and high achievement schools in Singapore, it may be possible that there will be an even greater discrepancy between academic self-concept and students with learning disabilities who are studying in mainstream schools. Academic selfconcept is extensively researched in the Western cultures (Marsh, 1990a, 1990b, 1990c, 1993 & 2005) but the view on academic self-concept from a Confucian Heritage Culture perspective is not as widely known. Thus, it is often...