Scientific or literary? Here are the consequences of self-categorization on the school curriculum

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Scientific or literary? Here are the consequences of self-categorization on the school curriculum

Everyone is prone to making comparisons in different areas. Similarly, students often make a comparison of their aptitude in various school subjects. Precisely, this personal self-assessment impacts their results as well as their future choices (academic and professional). Researchers then conducted a study on the subject. It aimed to directly observe the evolution of students’ use of dimensional comparisons.


Students in a classroom

Scientists mean by dimensional comparison the comparison of skills in one task versus another. During their work, they focused on two areas in particular: math and languages. In addition, they studied students ranging from kindergarten to high school.

The scientists in question come from the University of California and Wisconsin-Madison as well as the Technical University of Dortmund. They published their results in Child Development.

An impact on the school career of students

In this study, the researchers used information from the Childhood and Beyond Study. They were mainly interested in effects of socialization and child development. The research concerned the consequences on their results, their motivation and their behavior from their youngest age. The data collected dates from 1987 to 1999 and concerns a total of 1069 children.

Through their research, scientists have identified a growing trend among students during their school career. Concretely, the children became more and more inclined to carry out dimensional comparisons to find out if they are better at math or literature. This phenomenon is one of the reasons why students engage more in some subjects than others during high school.

In the long term, this trend has a greater or lesser impact on the academic and professional background of somebody.

There is a flip side to this tendency towards self-categorization

Thus, students often categorize themselves either as “mathematicians” either like “literary”. To do this, they consider above all in which subjects they are the most efficient. Nevertheless, this phenomenon has its negative sidenotably when the self-assessment is wrong.

“There may be a dark side to this tendency, as students may disengage from subjects they perceive as their relative weaknesses, even though they are actually quite good in those subjects compared to other students. »

Sirui Wan, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Therefore, scientists want whether the school environment is likely to prevent this disengagement. If so, they want to determine how this would be possible in the case of an incorrect self-assessment.

SOURCE: PHYS.ORG

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