CHICAGO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- When children believe they can succeed in math and reading, it increases their chances later to achieve high test scores in those subjects, a study jointly conducted by the University of Michigan (UM), Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and Independent Scholar shows.
Researchers used two U.S. data sets, one being a nationally represented study and one U.K. data set to measure self-concept and standardized assessments of early and later academic achievement. The data involved 13,901 British children and 1,591 American children aged five to 18.
Allowing for children's earlier achievement and their characteristics and backgrounds, including birth weight, ethnicity, gender, age and their mother's education, the researchers found that children's self-concept of their ability in math predicted later math achievement, while their self-concept of their ability in reading predicted later reading achievement.
The finding suggests that the links between self-concept of ability and later achievement are specific to domains; that is, there is a link from students' self-concept about reading to reading achievement, and from students' self-concept about math to math achievement.
Self-concept is how students perceive their capabilities to succeed on academic tasks.
The study also showed that success was not limited to students who perform at the top levels.
"It extends to students with different levels of achievement in math and reading," said Maria Ines Susperreguy, assistant professor at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, who led the study.
"Even the lowest-performing students who had a more positive view of their math and reading abilities had higher levels of achievement in math and reading."
Researchers will further investigate into what parents or students did to have created these beliefs.
The study has been published in the latest issue of Child Development.