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A study of primary school pupils academic performance and self-esteem in relation to their position in the family

By Richard Gladwyn Lee


A study was undertaken to assess the academic performance and selfesteem of two samples of primary school pupils with regard to several sibling structure variables. The research was conducted in two stages(involving 10/11 year old children), with a view to considering the extent to which performance in relation to position in family could be\ud explained in terms of self-esteem.\ud \ud Stage One was based upon 182 children, who had wide-ranging home backgrounds. All subjects attended one of five contrasting schools and were tested with regard to self-esteem and spelling Which was judged to be a reasonable measure of academic performance.\ud \ud Stage Two concentrated upon 50 children in attendance at one school situated in an educational priority area. Tests concerning spelling performance, reading performance, mathematical performance and self-esteem were administered to the second sample.\ud \ud The results appertaining to each respective stage were then analysed in terms of sibling-status, birth-order, family configuration and family size. It was discovered that self-esteem correlated strongly with academic performance, and that high test scores tended to be associated with high sibling status, high ordinal position, advantageous\ud position in family and small family size.\ud \ud In particular it was noted that a pattern emerged which suggested that eldest siblings performed better than youngest and intermediate siblings and the self-esteem of eldests was also seen to be higher than that of youngests and intermediates. Additionally it seemed that early-born intermediate children were much higher in self-esteem and\ud performed much better academically than late-born intermediates. In respect of family size a trend arose that appeared to suggest that academic performance and self-esteem declined with an increase in the size of family.\ud \ud It was concluded that the home environment, differential parental treatment, sibling interaction and the influence of significant others, coupled with differences in self-esteem and academic performance.\ud \ud Thereafter consideration is given to the implications that this survey has for schools in general

Publisher: School of Education (Leeds)
Year: 1986
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