big-fish-little-pond effect

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The tendency for equally able schoolchildren to show lower academic self-esteem when attending a school in which the average ability level of the other children is high than when it is low. The effect is believed to result from social comparison processes, and it implies that children tend to have lower academic self-esteem in academically selective schools than in non-selective schools. The concept was introduced by the Australian educational psychologist Herbert W. Marsh (born 1946) and a colleague in an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1984 and strongly corroborated by a survey of 4,000 15-year-olds in 26 countries published by Marsh and a colleague in the journal American Psychologist in 2003. BFLPE abbrev. [From the expression big fish in a little pond, referring to a person who ranks highly in a relatively small group or community]

Subjects: Psychology.

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