Streaming of Classes, Social Comparison, and Students� Self-Concept
Whilst there is an abundance of varied research on the benefits and drawbacks of course-by-course streaming, there is agreement in the literature on the value of a student�s positive self-concept. This analysis consolidates the findings of a number of primary research papers on the effects of independent course streaming in secondary school mathematics on students� self-concept. Although conclusions vary, the role of social comparison is widely accepted and the subsequent Big Fish Little Pond Effect (BFLPE) and associated contrast and assimilation effects prove to be dominant concepts. To what degree these dictate a student�s self-concept is debated but the majority of literature is in support of some degree of contrast effect: that is, a student�s academic self-concept is negatively related to the average achievement of their peers. In a streamed context, that puts those most at risk the lower achieving students in all streams.
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