The role of self-concept in academic performance among Grade Eleven pupils

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Suliman, Safiye
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The purpose of this study was to explore the role of self-concept in academic performance among Zambian grade eleven pupils. The primary objective was to examine self-concept and academic performance in order to show how they contribute to the academic success and healthy personality development of students in Zambia. By means of purposive sampling, four schools were selected from Lusaka city. From each school, grade eleven pupils constituted the sample for the study. The sample consisted of 147 males and 106 females, yielding a total of 253 participants in the study. Data collection primarily involved the use of questionnaires and school records. The instrument used to measure self-concept was a modified version of the Canadian Self- Esteem Inventory. The inventory was answered using the 1-to 6 Likert-type scale, which also formed the basis for scoring. Pupils' academic performance was gauged from their performance in the grade ten final examinations. The school subjects of interest in this study were English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. In addition, a test of Raven's non-verbal cognitive ability was administered to two classes. Through statistical analyses, the following findings were revealed: (1) Boys were found to have a higher self-concept than girls, (2) Self-concept seems to be stronger related to academic performance more among girls than among boys, and (3) Raven's non-verbal cognitive ability revealed no statistically significant correlations with either self-concept or academic ability. In view of the above findings, the following recommendations were made: a. Teachers should emphasize fostering a positive self-concept in students from the onset of their academic years. The curriculum for teacher training in Zambia could include courses whereby teachers are taught how to instill positive attitudes in their students. It might be advisable that the curriculum for students includes "lifestyle education" whereby students are emotionally prepared for the Vlll challenges that they will encounter in the course of their development, with particular emphasis on adolescence. b. Educators should move away from promoting traditional stereotypes wherein males are encouraged to pursue academic goals and females are encouraged to pursue domestic goals. Teachers should engage in equal student interaction between boys and girls. c. Parents should complement teachers' efforts in eradicating the negative attitudes that girls have towards themselves. Since the self-concept of an individual begins to develop as soon as the individual interacts in society, parents should treat boys and girls equally. Girls should be encouraged as much as boys to excel academically, in an effort to produce positive role models for female students
Academic achievement -- Lusaka , Education, Secondary , Performance