Academic self-concept

Academic self-concept is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

Self-concept refers to the ability people have to feel good about themselves and their abilities. Academic self-concept relates to how well an individual feels they can learn. It can vary across academic disciplines and can be effected by past academic performance. Students with high levels of academic self-concept are those students that feel they can do well in their school work.

The Tell Them From Me surveys ask students about the extent to which they feel that they can learn successfully at school. The questions ask holistically about students' confidence and positivity. They are not subject specific. The results are reported as the percentage of students with high, medium or low levels of academic self-concept.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework elements What works best theme
Wellbeing Wellbeing

Why is it important?

Self-concepts impacts on a wide range of wellbeing outcomes including happiness, motivation, anxiety, depression and academic striving behaviours. Positive academic self-concept facilitates positive academic perspectives and behaviours such as persistence at academic tasks, positive academic choices, educational aspirations and academic achievement.

Evidence base

Craven, R. G., & Marsh, H. W. (2008). The centrality of the self-concept construct for psychological wellbeing and unlocking human potential: Implications for child and educational psychologists. Educational & Child Psychology, 25(2), 104-118.

Marsh, H. W. (1990). The structure of academic self-concept: The Marsh/Shavelson model. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 623-636.

Marsh, H. W., & Craven, R. G. (2006). Reciprocal effects of self-concept and performance from a multidimensional perspective: Beyond seductive pleasure and unidimensional perspectives. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1(2), 133-163.

Yoon, K. S., Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (1996). Self-concept of ability, value and academic achievement: A test of causal relations. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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