An Exploratory Study of the Relationship between Self-Esteem and Academic Performance of the Students

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This study explores the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance of 4th grade students by employing quantitative approach of research. Fourth grade students (N=305) in public schools (N=42) of Rawalpindi city were taken as the sample. For the purpose of data collection, a two-phase panel study was designed. The self-esteem of the students was measured through a standardized scale (BSCI-Y) after translating it into simple Urdu. Locally developed tests of the five subjects taught in grade four of the public schools of the Punjab were used to assess academic performance of the students. The multiple regression analysis revealed that the academic performance of 4th grade students had no significant impact on their self-esteem in the first phase of the study (before annual school examination), whereas, in the second phase, the academic performance was discovered as a significant predictor for the self-esteem of the students. It was concluded that the presence of a large number of repeaters in the second phase caused the discrepancy in the outcome of the same group in two phases.

Key words: Self-Esteem, Academic Performance, Grade Retention, Public Schools

The self-esteem of a person describes his/her feelings about him/herself. Me Martin (1995) stated that "self-esteem is an important determinant of our behavior" (p.98). It is the "combination of both the consequence of the earlier experiences and the determinant of much of what is experienced later in the course of life" (Mischel, Shoda, & Smith, 2004, p.127).

Presently, the concept of self-esteem has gained significant position in educational theories. While narrating the social history of truth-making, Ward, (1996) described self-esteem as having "its origins in the fragile remarks of William James" (p.14). Similarly, Griffiths, (1993) endorsed in his study while discussing the origin of self-esteem as The idea of self-esteem has come into education through psychological theory, where there are two main influences: William James and Carl Rogers. William James' original proposal that self-esteem is the ratio of one's success to one's pretensions (1892, p. 187) Carl Rogers was one of those who developed James's work, but he also developed an alternative strand of self-esteem theory. He places emphasis both on the giving of 'unconditional regard' to individuals so that they may set their own goals in life, and on the role that individual empathy plays in the process, (p.301). The part of Rogers' views that has proved widely acceptable is that "a child's self-esteem is raised if he or she is loved and accepted by the teacher" (Griffiths, 1993, p.302).

Furthermore, research studies found that human behavior can be determined by the levels of self-esteem. Mosley, (2005) endorsed that "individuals with low selfesteem are likely to view themselves as useless, unlikeable and incompetent" (p.50). Consistent with this view, Me Martin, (1995) pointed out that "children who become pregnant, dropout of school, or use drugs are commonly thought to do so, at least in large part, because they have low self-esteem" (p.98).

On the other hand, research studies revealed that high self-esteem enhances human abilities and he/she performs better in different situations. Gipps and Tunstall, (1998) were of the view that "individuals who have high self-esteem usually try harder and persist longer when faced with difficult or challenging tasks" (p.135). Similarly, Mosley, (2005) argued that "success is dependent upon a positive mental attitude because people who have high self-esteem are more likely to work hard and have confidence in their skills and competence" (p.50). Research evidence has also demonstrated that "students high in self-esteem interpreted the teacher's feedback more favorably than did students low in self-esteem" (Jussim, Coleman & Nassau, 1987, p.98).

Psychologists believe that self-esteem of a person fluctuates according to the situation he/she is facing. …


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