Academic self-concept
Academic Self-Concept:  Definition and Conceptual Background
“Self-concept as a construct has had a long history within psychology and education because it provides a gauge to determine the effects of academic and social functioning on the emotional well-being of the individual” (Vaughn et al., 2001, p. 54).   Self-concept is generally viewed as a valued educational outcome.  Self-concept is typically defined as a person’s general composite or collective view of themselves across multidimensional sets of domain specific- perceptions, based on self-knowledge and evaluation of value or worth of one’s own capabilities formed through experiences with and interpretations of the environment (Byrnes, 2003; Eccles, 2005; Snow et al., 1996). 
The construct of self-concept is grounded primarily in self-worth theory (Covington, 1992; Covington, 1998; Covington, 2000; Covington & Dray, 2002; Eccles & Wigfield, 2002).  Briefly, self-worth theory suggests that all individuals have a motivational “tendency to establish and maintain a positive self-image, or sense of self-worth”(Eccles & Wigfield, 2002, p. 122).  Since children spend a significant portion of their lives being evaluated in school classrooms, self-worth theory postulates that a key to developing and maintaining self-worth is to develop and maintain a positive academic self-concept. 
Historically, self-concept research has emphasized a general omnibus self-concept, while contemporary research focuses on a multidimensional construct with distinct facets or domains.   Although the consensus is not unanimous (Harter, 1990), in general, it is believed that domain-specific self-concept perceptions (e.g., academic, physical, social) are organized in a hierarchical structure with the general omnibus self-concept at the apex of the hierarchy (Bong & Skaalvik, 2003; Bornholt & Goodnow, 1999a; Byrne, 2002; Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton, 1976; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2002).   The Shavelson hierarchical model (Shavelson et al., 1976), a model that splits global self-concept into academic and nonacademic branches, has received the greatest empirical scrutiny (Byrne, 2002).  Eccles (2005) highlights seven primary features of self-concept--it is organized, multifaceted, hierarchical, stable, developmental, evaluative and differentiable.  In the current paper, academic self-concept is defined as an individual’s perception of self-efficacy in academic subjects (Bong & Skaalvik, 2003; DiPerna & Elliott, 1999; MacMillan, Gresham & Bocian, 1998; Snow et al., 1996). 
The terms self-concept and self-esteem are frequently (and incorrectly) used interchangeably (Ehrlich &DeBruhl, 1996).   The cognitive or descriptive component of self-concept (“I’m good at math”) differs from the affective or evaluative self- esteem component (“I feel good about how I do my math”), with the latter emphasizing self-worth and self-respect (Snow et al., 1996).  Thus, global self-worth or self-esteem is a distinct component of self-concept (Bear, Minke, Manning, & George, 2002).   The literature on self-concept is voluminous and is beyond the scope of the current paper (see Byrne, 2002; Bong & Skaalvik, 2003; and Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2002 for recent reviews).  One important finding from the research literature is the significant role that different “frames of reference” play in the development of academic self- concept (Byrne, 2002; Skaalvik &Skaalvik, 2002).   External frames of reference include comparisons with school/class averages or other learners.  An internal frames of reference includes comparisons with the self in different academic domains at a given time, comparisons with self in the same academic domain across time, and comparisons to self-generated goals and aspirations (Byrne, 2002; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2002).