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Introduction to Literature Review on the Effect of Self-Esteem on Academic Performance of University Students

Introduction to Literature Review on the Effect of Self-Esteem on Academic Performance of University Students

Various studies have been conducted in the past to investigate the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance, with the difference being their focus populations. According to most of these studies, self-esteem is a significant and influential factor in academic achievement. Self-esteem as a construct is perceived to determine one’s self-evaluation of their ability to perform certain tasks (Subon, Unin, & Sulaiman, 2020). The essay writer comparison that emerges regarding one’s ideal self and perceived self plays a vital role during developmental years; particularly, during adolescence. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the effects that self-esteem can have on the academic performance of university students, considering its important role in developmental processes during adolescence. Generally, high self-esteem plays a significant role in helping people consider themselves active and capable so that they can manage to promote changes through the setting of higher goals and putting more effort (Subon, Unin, & Sulaiman, 2020). Interestingly, numerous studies that have been conducted on the two constructs have revealed that self-esteem plays a vital role in improving student performance. Self-esteem is also linked to social and personal responsibility and academic achievement. Understanding this relationship by focusing on specific population groups is necessary, which is the reason this study was conducted.

Understanding Self-Esteem

According to Arshad, Zaidi, and Mahmood (2015), self-esteem is defined as an individual’s beliefs about their worth and value. It also encompasses the feelings that people experience regarding their sense of unworthiness or worthiness. Arshad, Zaidi, and Mahmood (2015) state that self-esteem is important considering that it plays an influential role in people’s decisions and choices. Self-esteem serves as a motivator regarding one’s decision to explore their full potential. Individuals with high self-esteem are those that are motivated to fulfill their aspirations and goals (Arshad, Zaidi, & Mahmood, 2015). These individuals also take care of themselves to ensure that they are in a better position to fulfill these aspirations and goals. On the other hand, people with lower self-esteem struggle with fulfilling their goals because they consider themselves unworthy of happy outcomes or unable to achieve the goals (Arshad, Zaidi, & Mahmood, 2015). In most cases, people with lower self-esteem let opportunities in their lives slide due to their lack of persistence and resilience. Notably, both people with high self-esteem and those with low self-esteem can have the same goals; however, the latter will be less motivated to pursue these goals because of a lack of belief in their ability.

Priyadharshini and Relton (2014) believe that self-esteem is an abstract concept because of the complexity in understanding what it is to have it for those who lack it. They suggest a way in which people with lower self-esteem can begin appreciating the importance of having higher self-esteem. It involves considering how they may feel about the things they value in their lives. According to Priyadharshini and Relton (2014), such thoughts will help a person with lower self-esteem understand the value of higher self-esteem. Individuals with higher self-esteem understand its value, which is why they make good decisions regarding their lives. Such decisions are focused on enhancing their value.

For Priyadharshini and Relton (2014), low self-esteem among individuals can negatively affect their mental wellbeing, which will then lead to low productivity. Commonly, students who have low self-esteem avoid putting more effort into their academic work because of the impact of this on their mental wellbeing. These students do not believe in their abilities to be successful in academics.

According to Rosli et al. (2012), self-esteem is one’s overall opinion of themselves, which is the way one feels about their limitations and abilities. When a person has high self-esteem, they feel good about themselves and consider themselves to deserve the respect of other people. However, when one has low self-esteem, they place little value on their capability, opinions, and ideas. Such individuals constantly worry that they are not good enough.

Hagen et al. (2020) examine the factors that shape and influence one’s self-esteem. According to them, self-esteem starts forming during early childhood, and some of the common factors that shape it includes a person’s thoughts and perceptions, reactions of others to them, a person’s experiences at home, work, and school; illnesses, injury, or disability; age; and a person’s role and status in society. Hagen et al. (2020) stress the significant role that relationships play in determining a person’s self-esteem. Relationships with people close to a person, such as siblings, parents, teachers, peers, and other relevant contacts play a significant role in a person’s self-esteem. Many beliefs that one has regarding themselves are based on others’ opinions. If an individual has strong relationships and they receive generally positive feedback, they are highly likely to consider themselves worthwhile, which translates to high self-esteem. People that receive negative feedback and face criticism on numerous occasions are likely to struggle with low self-esteem (Hagen et al., 2020). Therefore, relationships are important in determining people’s self-esteem.

Self-Esteem and Academic Engagement

Another study by Kharsah and Latada (2016) examines the relationship between self-esteem and academic engagement; however, they focus on how self-esteem and university commitment relate to students’ performance. The study was conducted at the University Malaysia Pahang in Malaysia and it involved 194 undergraduate students. 117 of the participants were female while 77 were males. The correlation of the study’s variables involved the use of the SPPSS package version 22. Here, students’ academic engagement was derived from their academic performance; particularly, their GPA scores. The study found that there is a significant relationship between academic performance and self-esteem; however, no significant relationships existed between academic performance and university commitment. The study suggests that the manipulation of sources of esteem can be key in ascertaining students’ performance. Therefore, Kharsah and Latada (2016) assert findings from other researchers on the relationship between academic engagement and self-esteem.

The study by Priyadharshini and Relton (2014) examined the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance of freshmen at a university in Coimbatore. The authors believe that self-esteem plays a vital role in the process of education as it exists as an academic construct. The authors explain this academic construct as a feeling that people have about themselves. For college students, the feeling denotes how they like themselves academically and socially. Priyadharshini and Relton (2014) believe that student life is characterized by daunting responsibilities and many pressures, which play a vital role in their learning of the importance of high self-esteem. The study was motivated by previous research results on the close relationship between freshmen students’ self-esteem and academic achievements. Priyadharshini and Relton (2014) conducted the study with various objectives, such as exploring the teachers’ perceptions regarding students’ self-esteem and academic achievements, discovering self-esteem’s impact on students’ academic achievements, and establishing self-esteem’s benefits to students throughout the education process.

The study by Priyadharshini and Relton (2014) involved the use of a descriptive research design. The compliance with the established objectives involved the use of 50 participants who were freshmen students with an average age of 19. The descriptive research design was used to allow the researchers to predict the future by understanding what is happening. The stratification of the participants involved the use of gender, which meant that there was an equal representation of males and females. The research involved the designing and administration of a questionnaire to the participants. The questionnaire had 20 items that were based on the Five Point Likert Scale to help evaluate the level of self-esteem among students and its impact on their academic achievement. The study focused on particular areas to investigate teachers’ perceptions about the topic and these included students learning, classroom participation, and 1st Semester examination marks. According to the findings of Priyadharshini and Relton (2014), most teachers strongly agreed to statements that supported the effects of high self-esteem on the students’ academic achievement and engagement. Therefore, the study found a highly significant correlation between self-esteem and academic achievement among freshmen students.

Self-Esteem, Gender, and Academic Performance

Various authors examine the association between self-esteem and gender on academic performance. Arshad, Zaidi, and Mahmood (2015) found a significant difference in the self-esteem of male and female students. According to the results of the study, male students appeared to have higher self-esteem compared to their female counterparts. The finding supported others regarding the existence of a significant difference between male and female students’ self-esteem scores. On academic performance, the study’s results showed that female students performed slightly higher than their male counterparts. Based on these results, it was not easy to determine the relationship between the three constructs, as male students registered higher self-esteem compared to female students. However, female students had higher academic performance than their male counterparts. The study’s result section reveals that there is a positive correlation between academic performance and the self-esteem of university students. The findings have been supported by other previous studies on the topic. According to Arshad, Zaidi, and Mahmood (2015), the probable cause of the difference in scores registered on self-esteem by male and female students is due to the culture’s assigning of a more independent status to males. Due to such a status, males appear more strong and social, which increases their self-esteem. Therefore, the study’s findings are consistent with numerous other studies that have been conducted on the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance.

Subon, Unin, and Sulaiman (2020) investigated the existence of differences in academic achievement and self-esteem between genders. They noted that the relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement of university students is still understudied. The study involved 120 students, with half being male and the other half female. The students were undergraduates studying the TESL program. The study involved the use of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Questionnaire to collect data regarding the participant’s GPA and self-esteem. Data analysis involved Spearman’s rho correlation, which help in understanding the relationship between academic achievement and self-esteem. The results of the study revealed significant differences between gender and academic achievement. The use of an independent t-test result found the existence of a significant difference in self-esteem between the students based on their genders. The study’s findings reveal that gender has a significant effect on academic performance, with self-esteem playing a mediator role between the two variables. The findings of Subon, Unin, and Sulaiman (2020) reveal that gender plays a vital role in determining academic performance; however, more research needs to be conducted on the same with a larger sample size to examine the field of study more.

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Research on Self-Esteem in Its Historical Context

In Harper’s (1970) list of human requirements, he included respect as one among them. A sense of self-worth is necessary before an individual can pursue his or her own unique capacity for learning and growth, according to Harper. Self-esteem, on the other hand, connotes a sense of admiration and admiration for oneself, which is directly linked to a belief in self-confidence (Harper, 1970). There was no general idea of a self-concept based on the concept of self-esteem (Cast & Burke, 2002).

Having a healthy sense of self-worth is a “popular phenomena that has been extensively explored and disputed and occasionally associated with magical aspects,” according to psychologists (Owens & Stryker, 2001, p. 45). Having a strong sense of self-worth is an essential aspect of one’s self-image. Many distinct aspects of a person’s self-concept may be broken down into physical, academic, social and interpersonal (Huitt, 2004). A person’s social and transpersonal self-concepts are two different ways of describing how they perceive themselves (Huitt, 2004). Over the past century, several studies have examined the relationship between low self-esteem and depression (Cast & Burke, 2002). Every other psychological notion or area, including personality, is addressed by the idea of self-esteem (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991).

An individual’s feeling of self-worth or how much they respect, approve of, enjoy, treasure, or like themselves is referred to as their “self-esteem,” and it is a commonly used psychological and popular term (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). A person’s self-worth is based on his or her perception of his or her self-worth as a whole. Furthermore, the degree to which a person’s self-concept is constant and steady is reflected in their self-concept clarity (Thomas & Gadbois, 2007).

The construct of one’s own self-worth is one of the most extensively researched in all of psychology (Spurgeon & Myers, 2003). More than 4,000 publications on “self-esteem” were found in a psychiatric database search during the past two decades (Spurgeon & Myers, 2003). However, there are very few publications that deal with the low self-esteem issues that male students face (Hale, 2001; Kunjufu, 1995). The transition from adolescent to adulthood for male college students was affected in large part by their mental health (Franklin & Mizell, 1995).

The self-esteem movement has undergone a metamorphosis and deserves to be celebrated and acknowledged for its newfound maturity (Baumeister et al., 2003; Franklin & Mizell, 1995). Psychologists and the American public are working together to redefine the meaning of self-esteem in the United States. It would be counterproductive to criticize Americans for listening to psychologists’ counsel if psychologists themselves were to do so (Baumeister et al., 2003). For the sake of the American people, maybe psychologists should have less self-esteem and vow that “they will wait for a more detailed and robust scientific foundation before making policy suggestions” next time (Baumeister et. al, 2003.).

Confidence in one’s self is based on one’s self-worth (Rosenberg, 1965). Information on one’s self-esteem tends to be ignored by most others (Baumeister et al., 2003). A person’s level of self-esteem is determined by how much they respect themselves (Enger, 19930). To boost self-esteem, self-awareness has to include an evaluation component (Baumeister et al, 2003).

Self-esteem is a state of mind, not a fact (Baumeister et al, 2003). A positive self-concept and self-confidence can result from a healthy self-esteem in both social and academic contexts (King, 2002). A person’s self-esteem is based on the following primary areas of evaluation: (Holliday, 2002, p. 73)

(a) “heritage” or “gifts”

(b) “intelligence”

(c) physical features” as a third option.

(d) “Inherent qualities and capacities.”

(e) “the ability to be liked”

(f) Feeling “loveable” is

Self-esteem research may have its roots in William James’ works. James thought that self-esteem was a psychological phenomena (Snuffer, 2004). It is possible to improve one’s sense of self-worth by learning from one’s triumphs and disappointments (Mruk, 1995).

According to some early thinkers, self-esteem might have a variety of different meanings and roots.

A psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approach to self-esteem was used by Robert White (Kavussanu, Harnisch, 2000; Kohn, 1994). White came to the conclusion that a person’s sense of self-worth evolved during the course of their life. People’s attitudes and views are shaped by the decisions they make and the choices they make. From a sociocultural perspective, Rosenberg (1965) argued that self-esteem is an attitude and a consequence of societal, familial, and interpersonal effects on the individual.

When it comes to the subject of self-esteem, Nathaniel Braden was the first to describe it in terms of one’s merit and competence (Mruk, 1995). Self-esteem, according to Braden, is a basic human need that, if not provided for, has disastrous effects (Mruk, 1995). Braden came to the conclusion that enhancing one’s sense of self-worth encouraged individuals to conduct themselves in a manner that was respectful of oneself (Mruk). Seymour Epstein, on the other hand, used a cognitive-experiential approach to understanding self-esteem. He claimed that self-esteem is an essential human need that inspires us both conscious and subconsciously to achieve our goals and aspirations (Mruk, 1995).

Self-esteem can be defined in a variety of ways, and this diversity is undeniable. The terms “earned self-esteem” and “global self-esteem” are used by psychologists to describe the two unique types of self-esteem (Mruk, 1995; Owens, Goodman, Stryker, 2001). A person’s self-worth is based on their own achievements, such as a high exam score (Mruk, 1995). Success and self-worth are often fueled by a sense of accomplishment and self-worth (Mruk, 1995; Owens, Goodman, Stryker, 2001). Encouragement and resilience are generated in persons who have built up a strong sense of self-worth; this inspires them to pursue important and productive endeavors (Mruk, 1995; Owens, Goodman, Stryker, 2001).

It was also important to have a strong work ethic and stick to standards and life objectives in order to gain self-esteem (Lerner, 1985). Earning one’s self-esteem appears to be easier when one puts in the effort (Lerner, 1985). It is important for people to feel appreciated and respected for the work that they accomplish (Lerner, 1985). Global self-esteem, even if the door to earned self-esteem remains shut, provides a cozy blanket for underachieving pupils (Sirin (2004).

Students’ self-esteem is built on their achievements, virtues, and work ethics, thus they should be praised and congratulated for their hard work (Sirin & Sirin, 2004).

The term “global self-esteem” refers to one’s whole notion of one’s self, which includes one’s opinion of one’s own abilities and abilities of others (Mizzell, 1999). People with an internal locus of control have high self-esteem (Mizzell, 1999; Lerner, 1995). People with low self-esteem are more likely to have had lower levels of contentment and enjoyment in their lives (Mizzell, 1999).

Self-esteem was previously studied in terms of racial and personal components. A person’s sense of group belonging, or racial self-esteem, can be expressed in several ways (Porter, 1971). People’s sense of self-worth was defined as how they felt about themselves in the context of the world at large (Mizzell, 1999; Porter, 1971). Personal self-esteem was defined in a way that resembled the more recent concept of global self-esteem (Mizzell, 1999). According to Porter (1971), both racial self-esteem and individual self-esteem are associated but different notions. Personal self-esteem research has generated mixed findings. A lack of self-esteem in preschoolers has been shown in studies by Long and Henderson (1969), Porter (1971), Samuels (1973), and Ratusnik and Koenigsknecht (1975). In teenagers, McClain (1967), Peterson & Ramirez (1971), Hauser (1971), and Lefebre (1973) found comparable results.

Children and adolescents in other age groups, such as preschoolers (Davids, 1973), elementary school students (Carpenter & Busse 1969), teenagers (Rosenberg 1965; Hodgkins & Padilla 1974), and adults (White & Richmond 1970) have also been studied.

Equal self-esteem was found in students and Whites by Stakenas, 1969; Kuhlman & Bieliauskas, 1976; and adults (Flanagan & Lewis, 1969). Baughman & Dahlstrom, 1968; Rosenberg & Simmons, 1971; Trowbridge, Trowbridge, and Trowbridge, 1972; Cicirelli, 1977) found that students had higher self-esteem than Whites in elementary school and adolescent populations (Hartnagel, 1970; Baughman, 1971; Trowbridge, Trowbridge, and Trowbridge, 1972).

Is Self-Esteem a Myth?

There is a wide range of opinions about self-esteem among those who call themselves “pro-self-esteemers.” According to Kohn, 1994. In order to address academic achievement, this group of educators challenges the value of attempting to enhance children’s self-perceptions (Kohn, 1994). In many cases, the link between self-esteem and academic success is ambiguous at best (Kohn. 1994).

An overall sense of self-worth is referred to as self-esteem. Being confident in one’s abilities entails a belief in one’s own worth in a variety of contexts (Kohn, 1994). There are a number of ways that educators may demonstrate the importance of self-esteem to students’ social and intellectual growth, such as recognizing their replies and fostering innovation (Kohn, 1994). Self-esteem and academic success have not been shown to be directly linked by certain researches (Kohn, 1994). Accomplishment and educational success may not be the result of a person’s high self-esteem alone (Kohn, 1994; Owens et al.).

The value of building positive academic milestones on the basis of self-esteem as a concept has been much debated and considered (Kohn, 1994). For example, youngsters who have a positive self-perception aren’t always good students or nice neighbors (Kohn, 1994). Research and theory have focused on self-esteem for a long time (Sirin & Sirin, 2004; Kohn, 1994). Despite its domain-specificity, self-esteem appears to impact a wide range of developmental outcomes; yet, there is controversy over the role of self-esteem in teenagers’ academic achievement (Sirin & Sirin, 2004).

The lack of scientific evidence for the importance of self-esteem in academic contexts raises doubts about its usefulness (Sirin & Sirin, 2004). Education in the United States has always emphasized problem solving and critical thinking skills. Self-worth and confidence in others may be built via personal accomplishments and self-actualization (Sirin & Sirin, 2004; Kohn, 1994). The notion that people must first love themselves in order to be able to love others is linked to a debate of generosity and care.

The Allure of Confidence in Oneself

In our self-aware and self-reflective natures, many individuals intuitively realize the value of self-esteem (Baumeister et al., 2003; Spurgeon & Myers, 2003). A lot of psychological theory has centered on the need to defend and, if possible, improve one’s self-esteem (Spurgeon & Myers, 2003). The desire to boost one’s self-esteem isn’t the only self-related incentive at play (Spurgeon & Myers, 2003). In recent decades, the importance of self-esteem has shifted from an individual to a communal issue (Baumeister et al., 2003; Spurgeon & Myers, 2003).

In North America, the belief that high self-esteem is not only desirable, but that it is also the primary psychological cause of all manner of positive outcomes that are widely accepted (Baumeister et al., 2003). Popular belief has now been influenced by this strong psychological assertion. The self-esteem movement is based on the belief that too many individuals lack self-esteem (Baumeister et al., 2003; Enger, 1993). Increasing one’s self-esteem becomes a worthwhile objective if this premise is correct. Scales that measure self-esteem are able to accurately reflect the diversity of a group. As a result, a proper measurement will produce a range of scores from low to high (Baumeister et al., 2003). The fact that the majority of people in the United States have high levels of self-esteem raises serious doubts about the general lack of self-esteem in American culture (Baumeister et al, 2003). Self-esteem is at an all-time high in the United States. The majority of people believe they are better than the typical person (Baumeister et al, 2003).

A sense of self-worth is essential for every student in the classroom, regardless of race or economic status (Harper, 1970). In order for children to thrive, they must be given a sense of accomplishment, self-confidence, and a sense of autonomy and control (Harper, 1970).

Children, like their parents, seek out status, prestige, attention, and acknowledgment for their own personal accomplishments (Harper, 1970). Many youngsters are unable to satisfy their demand for self-worth because of the additional burden of being both a student and poor (Lee, 2003; Lay and Wakestein, 1985). A good self-concept for these children necessitates that the school environment give curricular experiences that build self-esteem or, in other words, assist him or her in meeting the demand for esteem.

Compassion for Oneself and the Pursuit of Academic Excellence

Compassion has several connotations, one of which is self-compassion (Neff, 2008). When people feel empathy for others, they are able to experience their own pain (Neff, 2008). Compassionate people’s feelings and experiences must be understood in order to properly define self-compassion (Neff, Hsieh, & Dejitterat, 2005). Individuals who are self-compassionate accept that suffering and flaws are an unavoidable aspect of human existence (Neff, 2008). These feelings of kindness and concern for another’s well-being triggered feelings of compassion (Neff et al., 2005).

Compassion for one’s self may have an impact on the learning process, according to a number of studies (Neff et al., 2005). Apart from demonstrating the connection between mental health and a person’s capacity for self-compassion, researchers have begun investigating how compassion might help people cope with stressful life circumstances (Neff et al., 2005). Self-compassion and academic failure were studied by Neff et al. (2005). Because self-compassion reduces events that undermine self-esteem, they concluded that self-compassion moderates reactions to real and potential failure (Neff et al., 2005).

When someone else makes a mistake or commits a wrongdoing, we feel empathy for them. In order to be compassionate, one must have an open mind that does not judge others (Neff et al., 2005). The self-compassionate person does not have to safeguard or boost their self-concept in order to feel happy emotions (Neff et al., 2005). Because self-compassion is aligned with the judgments of oneself and others, it has a distinct benefit over self-esteem (Neff et al., 2005).

Self-compassion and self-esteem were explored by Neff and Vonk (2008) in relation to several dimensions of psychological functioning. People who studied the concept of self-compassion discovered that it was associated with a lower level of social comparison anxiety and public self-consciousness (Neff and Vonk 2008). Self-compassion was shown to be a viable alternative to global self-esteem in their research (Neff and Vonk) (2008).

Conclusion of Literature Review

The vast majority of studies found a positive relationship between self-esteem and academic performance, with some of them portraying self-esteem to play a mediator or predictor role. These studies emphasize the importance of this topic on the success of students in school settings. A consideration of the results of this literature review motivated the need to investigate the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance, with a focus on university students. Notably, a search on the topic revealed that most of the studies that have been conducted focused on adolescents, with only a few being done among older populations. Importantly, more research needs to be conducted on university students to establish a clear association between self-esteem and academic performance. Some studies attempted to examine the relationship between self-esteem, gender, and academic performance. There was no clear relationship between the constructs, as findings on self-esteem suggested that males had higher compared to females. On academic performance, females were found to perform better than males. Therefore, no conclusive finding exists to explain the association between self-esteem, gender, and academic performance.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether or not students’ self-esteem and academic identity had an impact on their academic performance. The relationship between self-esteem and happiness has been studied extensively in the past.

There has been little research on the relationship between academic success and factors like self-esteem and sense of belonging (Osborne, 1997). Academic identity was also linked to higher grades by Osborne and Walker (2006).

(a.) Students who have been exposed to the Start Something curriculum have shown academic gains above those who have not.

(b.) For students who were exposed to Start Something, their self-esteem rose.

(c.) As a result of the Start Something curriculum, students will have a greater affinity for education.

Studying 1,428 students, Karsenti and Thibert (1995) found that academic desire was a strong predictor of GPA. Studies reveal that pupils who feel self-determined in the school environment are more likely to consistently perform well academically (Fortier, Vallerand, & Guay, 1995).

First and foremost, we wanted to see if students’ grades improved after completing the Start Something program. Based on the past findings, the researcher came up with the first hypothesis:

(a.) Students who have been exposed to the Start Something curriculum will perform better academically than those who have not been exposed to it.

(b.) Secondly, the researchers wanted to see if participants’ self-esteem would be affected by the Start Something program. According to Ross and Broh (2000), academic success increases one’s sense of self-worth.

Self-esteem and academic success have been found to have just a weak link by Baumeister et al. (2003). This means a positive school experience does not always translate into better marks. Forsyth et al. (2007) also found that exercises designed to boost one’s own self-esteem had no effect on academic performance. Research evidence suggests that academic self-efficacy is more important than self-esteem for school performance (Forsyth et al. 2007). Very few studies have looked at university students’ beliefs about their own abilities and self-worth (Reid, Davis, Saunders, Williams, & Williams, 2005). After completing the Start Something program, students’ self-esteem would rise, according to the second premise of the aforementioned investigations.

The third objective of this study was to investigate the link between academic identity and university student success. In their study, Osborne and Walker (2006) found that pupils that were recognized obtained higher grades. Furthermore, Voelkel (1997) proposed that high academic achievement was associated with a strong sense of academic identity. Students who do not participate in the academic learning process have lost their sense of belonging to that subject area (Steele, 1997; Osborne, 1997). When students were exposed to Start Something’s curriculum, a third hypothesis emerged: They would become more interested in academics.


Data was collected using the School Perceptions Questionnaire (SPQ) (Osborne, 1997) and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory (Rosenberg, 1965). Data about students’ academic progress was supplied through their report cards.

The School Perceptions Questionnaire which measures academic identification was used alongside the Identification with School Questionnaire (ISQ) integrated by Osborne (1997). For example, “I feel good about myself when I earn excellent marks,” “I want my friends to think of me as a good student,” and “I want my teachers to think of me as a good student” are all SPQ statements. Specifically, in secondary and higher education, the SPQ is a 32-item survey used to assess students’ level of identification with academics. The SPQ’s internal consistency (Cronbach’s =.82) has been found to be satisfactory. Additionally, there are strong signs that this scale is reliable. Over a two-year period, SPQ scores predicted a number of academic outcomes, including GPA, withdrawal from school due to academic reasons, academic probation, and academic awards (Osborne, 2007).

ISQ (Voelkl, 1997) claims to evaluate the many aspects of identification, including belonging (e.g., “I feel comfortable when I am in school, like I belong there”; “Teachers don’t care about me”) and valuing school (e.g., “School is essential in life; the things we do in class are pointless”). (Osborne & Walker, 2006). Everything was rated on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) (strongly agree). The reliability of the ISQ has been shown with an alpha of.78 (Osborne and Walker, 2006). The School Perceptions Questionnaire was created by combining Osborne’s SPQ scale with Voelkl’s measure.

Rosenberg’s Scale of Personal Confidence (RSE). Self-esteem may be measured using Rosenberg’s RSE, a 10-item scale that uses statements of acceptance to gauge total self-esteem.

Like-type items with which individuals score their disapproval (1 indicates strongly disagree) or acceptance are included in the scale’s effort to assess self-esteem in a single dimension (4 indicating strongly agree). An item on the RSE represents an entire range of assertions about one’s self-worth, from those approved by people with low self-esteem all the way to those endorsed solely by those with high self-esteem (Goldman 1986). Higher scores on the self-esteem scale indicate more favorable feelings about one’s self-worth.

The scale has been found to be a trustworthy and valid measure of self-esteem in several research. The scale’s unidimensionality was confirmed in studies involving high school or college students (Silbert & Tippett, 1965; Crandal, 1973; McCarthy & Hoge, 1982). RSE factor structure may be influenced by age and other sample factors, according to Goldman (1986). There was a wide range of variability in the reliability and validity coefficients. This sample has a Cronbach alpha of 0.84.

The questions took about 15 minutes to complete. The researcher conducted each questionnaire in a different location so that replies to one questionnaire would not conflict with responses to another. Students have to pay close attention to the instructions for each instrument and then reply properly.

An experimental group and a control group were employed in this study. There were 45 university students in the experiment. There were 48 students in the control group.

Students who took part in the study met the criteria for this investigation’s demographics thanks to the use of a random number generator to choose the experimental and control groups. Using a pretest, a control group, and random assignment, we were able to increase the amount of internal invalidity.

A random assignment controlled for regression, selection variables, the pretest, randomization and the control group, maturity, and the control group controlled history, testing, and instruments. The study’s investigator secured both administrative and parental agreement before determining which pupils would participate.

The study’s goal and a reward for participation were explained to the volunteers by the researcher. As a special treat, pizza and beverages were sent to the test subjects. Their laughing was a testament to their joy. A written description of the study’s requirements was provided to each participant. During the course of the three-month research, the investigator informed the principal. In order to take part in the study, students had to read and sign a consent form stating that their replies would be kept secret. The aim, process, hazards, anonymity clause, freedom of withdrawal, participant’s duties, and participant’s authorization were all stated in this document. As long as the students gave their consent, the researcher was able to collect data on subjects’ age, gender, class, GPA, and educational attainment.

The Start Something course was given to the participants in the study. In the school’s boardroom, the participants received the curriculum. Students were summoned to the boardroom by the secretary of the school. Subjects returned to their courses after each session, which lasted up to 30 minutes. This curriculum was designed in 2000 by curriculum authors, instructors, and the Englund Consulting business. The Start Something curriculum was developed by teams from the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Public Schools.

A total of six units are included in the Start Something curriculum: There are three parts to this course: Let’s get something going; Heroes, Mentors & Role Models; & Learning Who We Are. You’ve Got the Power, Discover Who We Can Become, and Take a Look Back and a Look Ahead are the topics covered in Units 4 through 6.

According to a 2003 study by Quality Education Data, the Start Something curriculum improved kids’ self-esteem, attitudes toward school, and general conduct in relation to academic accomplishment. 333 kids between the ages of 8 and 17 participated in this research.

For example, (a) Youth’s self-esteem was positively impacted by the curriculum, (b) their academic performance was improved, (c) their attitudes toward learning were improved and their overall attitude toward school, attitudes, and behaviors related to achievement was positively impacted, and (d) program participants had a more positive overall attitude.

A three-month period from October 2007 to December 2007 was required for the course. It took 25 hours to implement the software. The course of study a time estimate of 15-20 hours is advised. According to the school’s past obligations and the lead investigator’s work schedule, sessions were often held between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Every week, the researcher conducted at least two unit activities and no more than four lesson plans. Prior to making any alterations to the original plan, the researcher alerted the school’s administration. Lesson plans and how-to guides were supplied in each unit. Subjects studied the lesson’s objectives and goals at each session. Activity sheets that outlined the lesson’s content and goals were also included in the lesson plans.

Students took pretests and posts tests on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the School Perceptions Questionnaire, but did not take part in any therapy. The control group went about its day as usual. The treatment’s efficacy was evaluated by comparing the results of post-tests administered to participants in the two groups.

In essence, the study’s goal was to see if students’ self-esteem and sense of academic belonging increased as a result of their participation in the Start Something program. The researcher compared pre- and posttest results after implementing the program using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the School Perceptions Questionnaire. The discrepancies between the experimental and control groups will be discussed and analyzed in the next section.


Students at the university level benefited from the findings of this study. This was the hypothesis of the researcher. Grade point averages demonstrate that pupils exposed to the Start Something program do better academically than those who are not.

Pretest and posttest results on the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale indicated that students who were taught the Start Something curriculum had a greater sense of self-worth following their exposure to the program. Students who were exposed to the Start Something curriculum showed a higher level of academic identification as measured by the School Perceptions Questionnaire before and after the program.

The Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used to examine the impact of the Start Something curriculum on academic performance and nonacademic performance characteristics in order to properly account for the relevant concurrent variables in the pretest-posttest control design.

To begin, it was hypothesized that students who had participated in the Start Something program would do better academically than students who had not participated in it. GPA ANCOVAs were used to investigate the possible link between Start Something and student achievement. Table 1 summarizes the ANCOVA findings. Start Something participants had higher GPAs, F(1, 91) = 130.94, p .001, compared to those who did not engage in the program (see Tables for comparisons).  

We hypothesized, secondarily, that students who had been exposed to the Start Something program would feel better about themselves thereafter. This study hypothesis was not proven to be correct. Another theory was that children who took the Start Something curriculum would become more interested in academics. This particular study hypothesis was not validated.

RSE and SPQ ANCOVAs were used to investigate the possible connections between the Start Something curriculum and these two non-performance characteristics. Table 3 summarizes ANCOVA findings. In RSE-Post, F(1, 75) = 1.22, ns, and SPQ-Post, F(1, 49) =.69, ns, comparisons of adjusted group averages (see Table 4) indicated no differences between students who took part in the Start Something program and those who did not.

Finally, ANCOVA was performed to examine the impact of the Start Something curriculum on academic and nonacademic factors. The results are shown in Table 1. We found evidence for the first hypothesis. Students that had access to the Start Something curriculum outperformed their peers in the classroom. However, ANCOVAs were done on self-esteem and academic identity in order to investigate predicted connections between the Start Something program and these two nonperformance characteristics. There were no variations in adjusted group averages between individuals who took part in Start Something and those who didn’t.


Arshad, M., Zaidi, S., & Mahmood, D. (2015). Self-Esteem & Academic Performance among University Students. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(1), 156-162.

Hagen, R., Havnen, A., Hjemdal, O., Kennair, L., Ryum, T., & Solem, S. (2020). Protective and vulnerability factors in self-esteem: The role of metacognitions, brooding, and resilience. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1447.

Kharsah, W., & Latada, F. (2016). The correlation between levels of self-esteem, university commitment, and academic performance among undergraduate students. The National Conference for Postgraduate Research 2016.

Priyadharshini., J., & Relton, A. (2014). Self-esteem and academic performance of freshmen at Karunya University. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IOSR-JHSS), 19(4), 21-26.

Rosli, Y., Othman, H., Ishak, I., Lubis, S., Saat, N., & Omar, B. (2012). Self-esteem and academic performance relationship amongst the second-year undergraduate students of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Campus. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 60, 582-589.

Subon, F., Unin, N., & Sulaiman, N. (2020). Self-Esteem and academic achievement: the relationship and gender differences of Malaysian university undergraduates. IAFOR Journal of Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences, 6(1), 43-54.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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