The use of self-reports and peer reports as measures of self-esteem in middle school students

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Virginia Tech


Many educators and psychologists believe self-esteem is an important variable in the educational process. An adequate level of self-esteem is recognized as being essential for students because it may affect their level of achievement and general state of well being. Self-report measures are the most commonly used techniques to evaluate children's perceptions of themselves. Children's self-reports are valuable since certain aspects of internalized problems are usually difficult for others to identify. Sociometrics, or peer reports, provide an alternative to self-report measures of self-esteem. Some studies have shown academic achievement, athletic ability, and socioeconomic status to correlate with sociometric status. Sociometric measures allow teachers to gather a wealth of information about their students quickly and easily.

One purpose of this study was to determine the degree of similarity between self-reports and peer reports as measures of self-esteem in middle school students. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that self-reports and peer reports were separate, but related constructs. A second purpose of the study was to determine the effects of verbal ability, peer reports, and self-reports on current achievement while controlling for whether or not the student had a learning disability. A recursive path model found verbal ability and type of student (learning disabled versus not learning disabled) to have strong direct effects on achievement, whereas self-reports and peer reports had no Significant effects. A third purpose of this study was to examine differences between students with and without learning disabilities on the peer reports and self-reports. Students with learning disabilities were found to have lower scores on all peer report and self-report measures. No relationship was found between type of student and choices made on peer nominations.