“I’m the best! Or am I?”: Academic self-concepts and self-regulation in kindergarten

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Miriam Compagnoni
Kelsey Marie Losenno


In this paper, we examined how kindergarteners’ self-evaluation biases are related to behavioural self-regulation (SR) and learning goal orientation (GO). According to educational research and practice, fostering high and optimistic academic self-concepts promotes the setting of challenging goals and initiates effective behavioural SR processes. However, research on metacognition states that it is a match between academic self-concept and abilities that provides the optimal conditions for behavioural SR and a learning GO. There is theoretical and empirical evidence in favour of both positions, yet the correlates of self-evaluative tendencies may differ with children’s different levels of achievement, which are rarely considered. This cross-sectional study used response surface analysis, an innovative research methodology capable of assessing the complex interaction of academic self-concept and academic abilities on the behavioural SR and GO of 147 kindergarten children (M = 6.47 years, SD = 0.39 years). Polynomial regression models were used to test the presence of a fit pattern in empirical data and offer a new perspective on the interaction of academic self-concept and academic abilities. Results showed that a fit is generally associated with better behavioural SR and a learning GO but that correlates of academic self-concept differ with different achievement levels and outcome measures. This study extends current knowledge, as it offers important insights on how to conceptualise and pursue questions regarding self-concepts and behavioural SR. At an applied level, the findings indicate that interventions with kindergarteners that target SR should take the interactions between self-evaluation biases and ability level into account.

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How to Cite
Compagnoni, M., & Losenno, K. M. (2020). “I’m the best! Or am I?”: Academic self-concepts and self-regulation in kindergarten. Frontline Learning Research, 8(2), 131–152. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v8i2.605


Funding body:

Financial support for the conduct of this research was provided by the University of Zurich, in the form of employment income as a teaching assistant and doctoral student at the Institute of Education. This funding source had no substantial impact on the preparation of this article, beyond enabling the attending of workshops and colloquia that are embedded in this work place.


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