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Child Development, March/April 2005, Volume 76, Number 2, Pages 397 – 416

Academic Self-Concept, Interest, Grades, and Standardized Test Scores:
Reciprocal Effects Models of Causal Ordering
Herbert W. Marsh

Ulrich Trautwein and Oliver Lu¨dtke

SELF Research Centre, University of Western Sydney

Max Planck Institute for Human Development,
Berlin, Germany

Olaf Ko¨ller

Ju¨rgen Baumert

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Max Planck Institute for Human Development,
Berlin, Germany

Reciprocal effects models of longitudinal data show that academic self-concept is both a cause and an effect of
achievement. In this study this model was extended to juxtapose self-concept with academic interest. Based on
longitudinal data from 2 nationally representative samples of German 7th-grade students (Study 1: N 5 5,649, M
age 5 13.4; Study 2: N 5 2,264, M age 5 13.7 years), prior self-concept significantly affected subsequent math
interest, school grades, and standardized test scores, whereas prior math interest had only a small effect on
subsequent math self-concept. Despite stereotypic gender differences in means, linkages relating these constructs were invariant over gender. These results demonstrate the positive effects of academic self-concept on a
variety of academic outcomes and integrate self-concept with the developmental motivation literature.

Academic self-concept, interest, and achievement are
interrelated, and stereotypic gender differences are
found in specific domains such as English and
mathematics. In the present investigation we went
beyond merely observing correlations at a single
point in time to attempt to disentangle the causal
mechanisms relating these constructs across multiple
waves of data collection. In a growing body of research covering a range of developmental periods,
researchers have used reciprocal effects models to
explore the causal ordering of academic achievement
and academic self-concept. The overarching rationale of this work is that people who perceive themselves to be more effective, more confident, and more
able will accomplish more than people who have less
positive self-beliefs (e.g., Marsh & Craven, in press).

These data come from two large-scale German projects directed
by Ju¨rgen Baumert of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development: Learning Processes, Educational Careers and Psychosocial Development in Adolescence and the German component of
the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. The present investigation was conducted while Herbert Marsh was a
visiting scholar at the Center for Educational Research at the Max
Planck Institute for Human Development and was supported in
part by the University of Western Sydney, the Max Planck Institute, and the Australian Research Council.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Herbert W. Marsh, Director, SELF Research Centre, University of
Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Locked Bag 1797 Penrith
South DC NSW 1797, Australia. Electronic mail may be sent to
h.marsh@uws.edu.au.

Unlike prior research that has focused on academic
self-concept as a causal factor, we also examined effects of academic interest, thus aligning our interests
more closely to mainstream motivation research in
developmental psychology.
Specifically, we focused on the role of gender on
self-concept, interest, and achievement in mathematics. There are substantial gender differences in mean
levels of these constructs (Beaton et al., 1996; Ko¨ller,
Baumert, & Schnabel, 2001; Marsh & Yeung, 1998;
Watt, 2004). However, a more complicated question is
the extent to which the relations among these constructs vary with gender over time. Thus, for example,
are high levels of prior math self-concept and math
interest more likely to lead to higher levels of subsequent attainment for girls or for boys? In our research
we integrated these issues from different research
traditions into a common methodological framework
of structural equation modeling (SEM) that has broad
applicability in development research.
Development of Academic Self-Concept and Its Relation
to Achievement
Developmental perspectives of self-concept. Self-concept, self-perceived competence, self-beliefs, and the
role of gender are important in developmental perspectives of motivation such as expectancy-value
r 2005 by the Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
All rights reserved. 0009-3920/2005/7602-0007

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Marsh, Trautwein, Lu¨dtke, Ko¨ller, and Baumert

theory. Consistent themes have emerged from reviews of the development of competence self-beliefs
(Harter, 1990, 1992, 1998; Jacobs, Lanza, Osgood,
Eccles, & Wigfield, 2002; Marsh, 1989; Marsh, Craven,
& Debus, 1991, 1998; Marsh, Debus, & Bornholt, 2005;
Watt, 2004; Wigfield, 1994; Wigfield & Eccles, 1992).
With improved methodology (better measurement,
stronger applications of confirmatory factor analyses
[CFA]), researchers have demonstrated that even very
young children are able to differentiate between
different domains of self-concept (e.g., verbal, mathematics, physical ability, physical appearance, peer
relations, relations with parents). There is clear evidence for increasing differentiation among these domains through age 12 (Marsh, 1989; Marsh & Ayotte,
2003), but not for older children (Marsh, 1989).
Age and gender differences in mean levels of selfconcept are generally small but systematic. Selfconcept declines from a young age through adolescence, levels out, and then increases at least through
early adulthood (Marsh, 1989, 1993b; see also Crain,
1996; Jacobs et al., 2002; Marsh & Craven, 1997; Wigfield et al., 1997). There are also counterbalancing
gender differences consistent with gender stereotypes.
Consistent across preadolescent, adolescent, late-adolescent/young adult periods, males report higher physical ability, physical appearance, and math
self-concepts, whereas females report higher verbal
self-concepts (Marsh, 1989; see also Crain, 1996;
Wigfield et al., 1997). Contrary to gender intensification hypotheses, gender differences did not vary
substantially with age. Based on longitudinal growth
trajectories of children in Grades 1 through 12, Jacobs
et al. (2002) reported gender stereotypic differences
and age-related declines in competence perceptions
but concluded that their results were broadly consistent with Marsh’s (1993b) findings of no age-related changes in gender differences in self-concept.
Most self-concept studies have focused on gender
and age differences in mean levels of self-concept but
not on factor structure differences, including relations among key constructs. Byrne and Shavelson
(1987), for example, concluded, ‘‘Clearly, interpretations of mean differences in SC [self-concept] between males and females are problematic unless the
underlying construct has the same structure in the
two groups’’ (p. 369). Hattie (1992) also emphasized
that ‘‘the differences in means may not be as critical
in the development of self-concept as changes in
factor structure’’ (pp. 177 – 178). Testing how relations among these constructs vary with gender and
age is even more complicated. Thus, for example,
Marsh (1993b) tested the gender-stereotypic model
that hypothesized that: (a) math self-concept would

be more highly correlated with academic self-concept and global self-esteem for boys than for girls, (b)
verbal self-concept would be more highly correlated
with academic self-concept and global self-esteem
for girls than for boys, and (c) the contrasting pattern
of results would intensify and increase with age.
Instead, however, he found support for the genderinvariant model in which relations among math,
verbal, academic, and general self-concepts did not
vary as a function of gender or age. More recently,
Watt (2004; see also Jacobs et al., 2002) demonstrated
that gender differences favoring boys for math and
English for girls showed little support for either
gender-intensification or -convergence hypotheses.
Academic self-concept and achievement: A reciprocal
effects model. The causal ordering of academic selfconcept and academic achievement has important
theoretical and practical implications, and has been
the focus of considerable research. Byrne (1996) emphasized that much of the interest in the self-concept/achievement relation stems from the belief that
academic self-concept has motivational properties
such that changes in academic self-concept will lead
to changes in subsequent academic achievement.
Calsyn and Kenny (1977) contrasted self-enhancement and skill development models. According to
the self-enhancement model, academic self-concept
is a primary determinant of academic achievement
(ASC ! ACH), whereas the skill development model
implies that academic self-concept emerges principally as a consequence of academic achievement
(ACH ! ASC). However, Marsh and colleagues
(Marsh, 1990, 1993a; Marsh, Byrne, & Yeung, 1999;
Marsh & Craven, in press) argued that much of the
early research was methodologically unsound and
inconsistent with the academic self-concept theory.
Based on theory, a review of empirical research, and
methodological advances in SEM, he argued for a
reciprocal effects model in which prior self-concept
affects subsequent achievement and prior achievement affects subsequent self-concept. In their metaanalysis of self-belief measures, Valentine, Dubois,
and Cooper (2004) also found clear support for a reciprocal effects model. They concluded that the effects of self-beliefs on subsequent performance were
stronger when the measure of self-belief was based
on domain-specific measures rather than global
measures, such as self-esteem, and when self-belief
and achievement measures were matched in terms of
subject area (e.g., mathematics achievement and math
self-concept) as is typical in self-concept research.
Academic achievement: School grades and standardized
test scores. Academic self-concept, interest, and related motivation constructs should be substantially

1993). 1993a. Wylie (1979) posited that selfconcept should be more strongly related to school grades than to test scores because school grades are a more salient source of feedback to students that also reflect motivational properties likely to be related to self-concept (see also Hattie. 255). It is important that there was stronger support for the self-enhancement model (ACH ! ASC) than for the skill development model (ACH ! ASC) for all three age cohorts. 1992. an experience of flow whereby the person and the object of interest merge (Csikszentmihalyi & Schiefele. three age cohorts: students in Grades 2. Wigfield and Karpathian (1991. Thus. Guay. Interest-driven activities are characterized by the experience of competence and personal control. 1995). persistence. Hence. 2000. students have no opportunity and little incentive to study for the tests. feelings of autonomy and self-determination.e. see also Wigfield. Other motivational researchers (e.. Consistent with 399 these suggestions. Developmental perspectives on the reciprocal effects model. researchers have been unable to distinguish between these components empirically (Ko¨ller et al. In contrast. positive emotional states. each with three measurement waves separated by 1-year intervals). This study provides good support for the generalizability of reciprocal effects to young children as well as adolescents. and support for the reciprocal effects model was invariant over age. 2001. Marsh. Young children’s understanding of competence changes with age and. suggesting that paths from self-concept to achievement should be stronger for school-based performance measures than for low-stakes standardized achievement measures. their academic self-concept responses became more reliable. and more strongly correlated with academic achievement. characteristics such as study habits. 3. Marsh & Yeung. students are penalized for sloppy work habits or not completing assignments on time but are rewarded for conscientious effort). under optimal circumstances.A Reciprocal Effects Model correlated with both school grades and standardized test scores. which are purer measures of learning (e. 1997. Here. Wigfield & Eccles. there was insufficient evidence to determine whether the causal relations between these variables change with age or whether differences reflect underlying processes or researchers’ inability to measure these constructs with young children (see Marsh et al. Marsh. They found that as children grew older. 1997a.. effort. 1990. Whereas there is a theoretical distinction between the value (affective) and commitment (importance) components of interest. but see also Helmke & van Aken.. Academic interests are postulated to be dispositions based on mental schemata associating the objects of interest with positive experiences and a personal value system that are activated in the form of interestdriven actions. we extend this hypothesis to include academic interest and evaluate whether this pattern of results generalizes over responses by boys and girls. However. However. and success on those tasks is likely to bolster their confidence in their ability’’ (p.g. 1987. as is typically the case with school grades (e. these characteristics are likely to have more impact on examination performance when students are highly motivated to perform well on an examination and know the content of the examinationFwhen these characteristics are an actual part of the grading process. Marsh et al. (1999) also argued that although relations between academic self-concept and achievement become stronger with age. This distinction between school grades and test scores is also relevant to the study of gender differences. and is associated with positive affect.. 2005). and 4. and persistence are unlikely to affect test performance. Marsh et al.g. and Boivin (2003) took this up. compared with standardized test scores. more stable. and. and learning (Hidi & Ainley. 1998. 2000). For low-stakes standardized tests. their academic self-concepts are more positive and less related to objective outcomes (e. the effects of prior self-concept on subsequent achievement should be stronger when achievement is based on high-stakes school grades rather than low-stakes standardized tests (Marsh... 1987. Academic Interest and Achievement Individual interest is hypothesized to be a relatively enduring predisposition to attend to certain objects and activities.. 1993a). 1994) further argued that ‘‘once ability perceptions are more firmly established the relation likely becomes reciprocal: Students with high perceptions of ability would approach new tasks with confidence.g. 1990. Marsh & Yeung. Marsh & Craven. Marsh. 1992) posit interest as one of the components of task value in an expectancy-value framework. 2002.. 1998). . Skaalvik and Hagtvet (1990) found support for a reciprocal effects model for older students (sixth and seven grades) but a skill development (ACH ! ASC) model for younger students. Marsh (1987) extended this proposal to longitudinal causal modeling studies. 1989. 2001). which reinforce conscientious effort and penalize poor work habits.g.. Renninger. compared with older children. as girls typically do better than boys on school grades. 1998). the magnitude of these developmental differences was small. Krapp. using a multicohort – multioccasion design (i. Ko¨ller et al.

& Schiefele. 1994. 2001. In her theoretical model of self-concept development. stronger tests of her causal ordering hypothesis require longitudinal designs like those in tests of the reciprocal effects model. It is surprising. and to affect achievement-related choices indirectly through its influences on expectations and value. Marcoux. 2002) evaluated patterns of relations between competence and interest with a multiwave – multicohort study for children ranging from second to sixth grades. Although self-perceived competence was related to several different value constructs in the expectancy-value model. that is. (1997. she hypothesized academic self-concept to affect both expectations and value directly. 2000). Eccles. and Wintler (1992) concluded that the overall correlation between interest and academic achievement was about . 2002) indicated that academic self-concept and expectations for success could not be distinguished empirically. mediated in part by activation. Marsh. However. Harter (1992. however. Schiefele (1998) concluded that there is no basis for drawing causal conclusions from this research or even to claim that interest predicts subsequent achievement beyond what can be predicted by prior achievement. Baumert. However. academic interest is domain specific. Jacobs et al. and Bordeleau (2003) reported that self-concept was consistently related to achievement in reading and mathematics at each year in school.400 Marsh. In her original expectancy-value model. Bouffard. also noted there might be reciprocal (bidirectional) effects between these two constructs over time and argued for longitudinal research that simultaneously considered competency . 1995. Wigfield. In empirical research based on expectancy-value theory. and there are gradual declines in interest levels before adolescence and in early adolescence (e. and Lehrke (1998) suggested that the effect of achievement on interest might be mediated through academic self-concept. by other constructs such as causal attributions) are also apparently consistent with expectancy-value theory. (2002) found positive relations between competency beliefs and task values that generalized over domains and age. posit a direct effect of interest on self-concept. Expectancy-value theory apparently does not. thus supporting expectancy-value predictions. which in turn led to greater achievement. interest increased activation. Wigfield & Eccles. Deci and Ryan (1985) also hypothesized that increased perceptions of competency lead to increased levels of intrinsic motivation. because her results were based on cross-sectional data. there were few cross-construct links relating these two constructs over time. see also Wigfield & Eccles. and colleagues (Eccles. 1998). In subsequent experimental studies. Ko¨ller et al. Consistent with the expectancy-value assumption that competence causes task value. Lu¨dtke. However. 1998) posited that students feel more intrinsically motivated in domains in which they feel competent. 2002). In cognitive evaluation theory. Complicating these predictions further. Krapp. Ko¨ller. On the basis of their meta-analysis. For longitudinal growth trajectories of children in Grades 1 through 12. that there is little research incorporating both academic self-concept and academic interest into longitudinal SEMs evaluating the reciprocal effects of these constructs on each other and on other academic outcomes. Particularly Wigfield et al. Putting together these different perspectives.. 1983. Wigfield et al. much of the variance in task values was explained by competence perceptions. Krapp.g. and Debus (2000) demonstrated that cognitive and affective self-perceptions were highly correlated. perhaps. and Baumert Like academic self-concept.g. Whereas competence perceptions were linked over time. Trautwein. Wigfield. subsequent research (Eccles & Wigfield. expectancy-value theory posits academic self-concept to have a causal effect on both academic interest and achievement. However. Based on responses by elementary school children. Schiefele. 1997) showed that correlations between self-perceived competency and interest were evident for even very young children but that the size of this relation increased with age during early school years. Hence. there are stereotypic gender differences such that boys have more interest in math and science whereas girls have more interest in verbal areas. reciprocal effects in which prior achievement also affects subsequent interest and self-concept (mediated. Where these links did occur. Eccles. Schiefele (1996) demonstrated that interest was a significant predictor of subsequent achievement. they tended to be from prior competence perceptions to subsequent interest.. Craven. Jacobs et al. however. whereas intrinsic motivation did not contribute to the prediction of achievement. the relations with interest were consistently strongest (Wigfield & Eccles. Schnabel. and academic interest to have an effect on academic achievement. However.. because most studies in this area are cross-sectional studies based on correlations. as were interest ratings..30 but that this relation was heterogeneous across different school subjects and indicators of achievement. Eccles (1983) posited no links between expectations of success and task value (including interest). Vezeau. Wigfield. Several authors have proposed that academic achievement or academic self-concept affect interest (e.

suggesting that interest became more important in later school years. and standardized test scores for nationally representative samples of German Grade 7 students. Hence. and academic achievement. Study 1 Method Data. interest. Measures. (b) incorporate additional motivational variables in these SEMs to determine their role in the reciprocal effects model. comprised two waves spanning two different school years. The Present Investigation Despite the substantial overlap in the historical development and juxtaposition of theoretical issues. Reciprocal effects between academic self-concept and achievement have been established but this research has not included academic 401 interest even though these constructs have been juxtaposed in several theories. (d) evaluate the generality of the findings across different subgroups of respondents based on characteristics such as gender.mpg. Particularly relevant to the present investigation. which in turn had an effect on achievement in Grade 12. (For more detailed descriptions of the study and resulting database. thus. a primary aim of the present investigation was to pursue this limitation in existing research. 2002).649 seventh graders (M age 5 13. Study 1 was based on one cohort of students using two waves of data collected in a single school year. Because the sample was representative. Standardized achievement in mathematics was measured at Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2). 54% females) who were tested at two points during the same school year. In longitudinal research covering the high school years (Grades 7. potentially stronger measure of interest. and included both the interest measure used in Study 1 and a new.biju. 2002) conclusion that whereas prior competence perceptions are strong predictors of subsequent achievement. Most students (93%) were German citizens and most were Caucasian (95%). Wigfield & Eccles. using longitudinal designs and tests of causal ordering (Jacobs et al.. and how these relations vary with gender. also found that interest in Grade 10 did have a direct effect on achievement in Grade 12. mathematics interest in Grade 7 had no direct effect on achievement in Grade 10. representative samples from four German states in which schools were selected randomly and two classes within each school were sampled randomly. see also http://www. (1999) noted methodological limitations of tests of the reciprocal effects model in self-concept research. Ko¨ller et al. in particular the International Association for the Evaluation of . Study 2 consisted of a different cohort of Grade 7 students collected approximately 3 years later. Scores on both measures were reliable (as4. (c) consider a sufficiently large and diverse sample to justify the use of SEMs. Math self-concept and math interest were measured on each occasion (see the Appendix for the wording of the items). which was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. 1998. motivational factors are important for enhancing academic achievement. when the learning environment was not so highly structured and intrinsic motivation played a more important role in academic choice. In the present investigation we pursued these theoretically important issues in two large studies of math self-concept. However. Study 1 is based on the longitudinal study Learning Processes. The results may also be consistent with Wigfield’s (1994. The final sample used here consists of 5. Math achievement test items were taken from previous national and international studies. Educational Careers and Psychosocial Development in Adolescence and Young Adulthood. Ko¨ller et al. task values such as interest are the better predictors of decisions to enroll in mathematics and English classes.4 years.8) and have been shown in previous research to have convergent and discriminant validity in relation to classroom-based performance in different school subjects (Baumert et al.de).. 10. and 12). see Ko¨ller.A Reciprocal Effects Model beliefs and task values. they encouraged researchers to: (a) explore how effects associated with school grades and standardized achievement test scores differed by contrasting both achievement constructs in the same study. 1998). (2001) argued that the role of interest was particularly relevant in mathematics because it is perceived to be a difficult subject. interest did have an effect on coursework selection. academic interest. there have been few longitudinal causal-ordering studies of relations among academic self-concept. Hence. Classes were excluded that participated in the study on only one of the two occasions or that had less than 10 responding students. Germany. Data were collected from large. school grades. and (e) explore the implications of lags between different waves of data collection that varied in length of timeFparticularly those within a single academic year against those that span more than one academic school year. Marsh et al. it is important to evaluate the reciprocal effects among constructs and academic achievement. it was heterogeneous in relation to socioeconomic status.

1993. Hau. this problem is typically less serious for parameter estimates based on relations between variables than means and typically not a serious problem for self-concept data where there is little variation among classes (e. deletion methods.. there is a growing consensus that the imputation of missing observations has several advantages over traditional listwise. Raudenbush & Bryk. In the methodological literature on missing data (e. The coefficient alpha estimates of reliability were greater than . Jo¨reskog & So¨rbom. LISREL provides only the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) to evaluate goodness of fit. preliminary analyses in the present investigation indicated that variance components associated with the self-concept and interest scores were very small. 1998. suggesting that the inclusion of correlated uniquenesses was not a critical issue.g..05 and . Statistical analysis. 1988). standard errors of parameter estimates were likely to be biased in the direction of being too small and to result in inflated levels of Type I errors (i.10 in both Studies 1 and 2. We did this by centering the means of all variables at the mean of the class from which the case came (i. our main focus is on the evaluation of parameter estimates. Graham & Hoffer. 2000). Fortunately. Although most of the items had a multiple-choice format. 1979). 2002. Byrne. correlated uniquenesses were included for the matching items collected at T1 and T2 because their exclusion would positively bias the corresponding correlation estimates. we explored a variety of alternative approaches to this problem but chose to emphasize results based on the full information maximum likelihood (FIML) approach to missing data (e. Consistent with this previous research. Therefore. only the models with correlated uniquenesses are presented. 1989. School grades in mathematics were based on self-reports at the end of sixth grade (but reported at the start of seventh grade) and in the middle of seventh grade (T2). approximately 12% of the responses were missing for the total sample of students who responded at either T1 or T2. In most educational research based on school settings.e. however. & McDonald.g. Whereas tests of statistical significance and indexes of fit aid in evaluating the fit of a model.75 for both measurement points. In Study 1. it is important for samples specifically selected to be representative of a larger population.402 Marsh. Allison. individual student characteristics are potentially confounded with those associated with classes or schools because individuals are not assigned randomly to groups (Raudenbush & Bryk.. computing the deviation between the raw score and the corresponding class mean for that score. and particularly pairwise. Hence.54) using maximum likelihood estimation (for further discussion of SEM. and Baumert Educational Achievement (IEA) First and Second International Mathematics Study. had no substantively important effect on the pattern of parameter estimates. Lu¨dtke. Ko¨ller. as well as to other approaches that we explored. the inevitable missing data are a potentially important problem. To facilitate the substantive import of the results. In the present investigation. Following recommendations by Marsh and Hau (1996. it is important to emphasize that the results from the FIML analyses were very similar to unreported analyses based on imputation with expectation maximization. Balla. In particular. Although we argue a priori for the superiority of the FIML approach that is the focus of our presentation. Kaplan. Marsh & Rowe. The content of the test items was based on mathematics curricula covered in Grades 5 to 7. approximately 15% had a short-answer format. Marsh. varying between . Little & Rubin. For FIML analyses. see also earlier discussion by Jo¨reskog. as in the present investigation. for example. see Goldstein. we dealt with this problem by constructing a pooled within-class covariance matrix in which between-class differences were controlled.. there is ultimately a degree of subjectivity and professional judgment in the selection of a ‘‘best’’ model (Marsh.e. we used the total mathematics scores at both points of measurement.. 1998) based on item response theory revealed that a unidimensional model was appropriate for describing the latent variable underlying the test results. 1996). 1987). 2002). Trautwein. well-defined factors with . both analyses resulted in fully proper solutions. Whereas this distinction may be less important for studies based on samples of convenience. Because students within the same class were likely to be more homogeneous than a truly random sample of students. Previous analyses (see Ko¨ller. We characterized the test as a low-stakes test because the results did not contribute to the formal evaluation of individual students or school grades.g. Particularly for longitudinal data. 2001). Their inclusion. & Kong. This approach better represents the entire sample rather than just the subsample of students who have no missing data while still providing appropriate tests of statistical significance that reflect the amount of missing data for each variable. SEMs were estimated with LISREL (version 8. false positives). Our data had a multilevel or hierarchical structure in that students were nested within classes. for further discussion. students did not expect to receive feedback on their individual performance. In the present investigation. see Bollen. 2000. 2003. and students had no incentive to study for the examination. 2002).

we also conducted a series of supplemental models in which we evaluated the causal ordering among various pairs of constructs (see Table 2 and Figure 1) that are more like traditional causal models used in previous reciprocal effects research. 1998. Marsh. grades.22 for interest) than with standardized test scores (about . Within this framework. 1998.15 for interest). Kaplan. any set. for example. For this reason. it is also possible to extend tests of invariance of mean and covariance structures to include measured variable intercepts and latent mean differences in the constructs (Byrne. Jo¨reskog & So¨rbom. because there were positive correlations among all four constructs. 1993. consistent with a priori predictions.g. Results and Discussion We began by evaluating the complete SEM that included T1 and T2 measures of math self-concept. Thus. 1994) traditionally posit a series of nested models in which the endpoints are the least restrictive model with no invariance constraints and the most restrictive (total invariance) model with all parameters constrained to be the same across all groups. However. In general.. we adapt the terms strong and strict invariance. we juxtaposed the results of several models. we tested for latent mean differences between responses by boys and girls in four constructs (self-concept. interest. Tests of factorial invariance (see Bollen. test scores). In each case we began with the overall model that contained all four constructs (self-concept. and then evaluated differences at T2 controlling for differences at T1 in an SEM.30 for self-concept and . Byrne. it is also possible to test for differences with an SEM in which subsequent mean differences are corrected for differences in variables occurring earlier in the causal ordering of longitudinal data (Marsh & Grayson. Consistent with a priori predictions and previous research. there is evidence in support of the invariance of the factor structure. or all parameter estimates across the multiple groups. However. grades. 1993. Marsh & Grayson. Adapting terminology from item response theory (Marsh & Grayson. Math self-concept and achievement. 1994). for example. school grades. 1990). but our main focus is on the invariance of correlations among the latent constructs and path coefficients relating T1 constructs to T2 constructs. and test scores (see Table 1).A Reciprocal Effects Model substantial factor loadings. 1989. Although latent mean differences are typically tested with CFAs. the unique effect of neither is significant when the effects of each are controlled for the effects of the other). In CFA studies with multiple groups. Finally. Testing for factor invariance essentially involves comparing a number of models in which aspects of the factor structure are systematically held invariant across groups (males and females in the present investigation).. each measured variable (t) is related to the latent construct (T) by the equation t 5 a1bT where b is the slope (or discrimination) parameter that reflects how changes in the observed variable are related to changes in the latent construct and a is the intercept (or difficulty) parameter that reflects the ease or difficulty of getting high manifest scores for a particular measured variable. test scores) at T1 and T2 in a CFA model. and assessing fit indexes when elements of these structures are constrained. Math self-concept and interest were both positively correlated with math grades and test scores (Table 1). the comparison of mean differences across the groups may be unwarranted.e. interest. interest. Marsh. In the evaluation of path coefficients relating T1 and T2 constructs. 1998. Bollen. Following Meredith (1993). Strict invariance holds when measured variable uniquenesses also are invariant across 403 groups so that item and scale variances are comparable across groups. the pattern of these results and actual sizes of the correlations were consistent across T1 and T2 responses. 1993.40 for self-concept and . In the present investigation. both self-concept and interest were systematically more highly correlated with school grades (about . it is possible to test the invariance of any one. multicollinearity might obscure the pattern of results. 1989. reciprocal . 2000. standardized parameter estimates that were very similar. 1994). and satisfactory goodness of fit. 1994). Unless there is complete or at least partial invariance of both the a and b parameters across the multiple groups. it would be possible for both self-concept and interest to have significant effects on achievement when considered separately but for the effects of neither construct to be statistically significant when both are considered simultaneously (i. the minimal condition for factorial invariance is the equivalence of all factor loadings in the multiple groups (e. Jo¨reskog & So¨rbom. Strong invariance holds when factor loadings and measured variable intercepts are invariant across groups so that between-group differences in average item scores reflect differences in latent means. Byrne. Jo¨reskog & So¨rbom. It is also important to note that correlations of self-concept with achievement were more positive than the corresponding correlations between interest and achievement. If the introduction of increasingly stringent invariance constraints results in little or no change in goodness of fit.

00 .80 T1MASC4 . p o . comparative fit index 5 .00 1. non-normed fit index 5 .10 1. Time 1 correlations are the same as in the structural equation model (see residual variance and covariance estimates) but differ from Time 2 estimates in that the effects of Time 1 constructs are not partialed out of the correlations.06 .55 .39 T2MGrd . Although the full information maximum likelihood chi-square of 3516.40 1.24 T2MTst .73 . in which missing values were imputed using the expectation maximization algorithm.65 1.04 .15 . and.41 . for the multiple indicators of each latent construct.064.15 1.07 .00 Note.0 to fix the metric of the factor.65 . standardized root mean square residual 5 .00 .77 T1MASC3 . p o . the item number.965.71 1.49 .35 .681.62 1.44 T2MTst .37 . and Baumert Table 1 Factor Solution Relating Academic Self-Concept.29 .06 .404 Marsh.00a .41 T1MTst .29 MInt MGrd Time 2 constructs MTst MASC Mint MGrd MTst .03 .63a T1MASC2 .00 .17 1. Not presented are the uniquenesses and correlated uniquenesses.15 .00 . a In the unstandardized model.37 .28 1. whereas they are partialed out for the Time 2 residual variances and covariances. RMSEA 5 . the same model was estimated. The parameter estimates were nearly identical to those presented here and the goodness-of-fit statistics indicated a good fit to the data (normal theory weighted least squares w2 5 4250.0383).16 .84 .38 . b Factor correlations are based on the equivalent confirmatory factor analysis model in which all constructs are correlated.57 T2Mint .35 .00 . the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) of . Trautwein.80 . Lu¨dtke.22 .62a .09 . . the construct (MASC 5 math self-concept.00 .35 .75 .3 (df 5 176) was highly significant because of the large sample size.80 T1MINT1 T1MINT2 T1MINT3 T1MINT4 T1MGrade T1Mtest T2MASC1 T2MASC2 T2MASC3 T2MASC4 T2MASC5 T2MINT1 T2MINT2 T2MINT3 T2MINT4 T2MGrade T2MTst Path coefficients T2MASC . and Test Scores at Times 1 and 2 in Study 1: Full Information Maximum Likelihood Estimation Time 1 constructs MASC Factor loadings T1MASC1 .058 demonstrated that the model was able to fit the data well.07 T2MGrd . or MTst 5 math test).25 .12 . MINT 5 math interest.00a 1.16 . School Grades.72a .50 . Interest.00 T1Mint .61 .32 T2MASC T2Mint T2MGrd T2MTst Correlationsb T1MASC 1.56 T1MGrd .00 .25 .02 .56 T1MGrd .41 T1MTst . All variables were given a label that identifies the Time (T1 or T2).00 .82 .00 .78 .03 .66 .22 .65a .84 .01 .59 . Mgrd 5 math grade.15 1.00a 1.35 1.02 .05.62 T2Mint . df 5 176.00 T1Mint .17 1.35 .86 . For comparison purposes. the first indicator of each construct was fixed to 1.09 Residual variances/covariances T1MASC 1.32 T2MASC .23 .00a .63 T1MASC5 . All parameter estimates are presented in completely standardized form.001. Ko¨ller.973.

35 MInt .14 .17/.35 .08 . Only statistically significant paths are presented (except where a path was significant in only one of the two studies.16  .07/.02 2.37 . Stability (horizontal) paths between matching T1 and T2 constructs are presented in gray and all paths between nonmatching constructs are presented in black.06 .55 .16  . results of the supplemental analyses were consistent with those based on the overall model and supported predictions based on the reciprocal effects model of self-concept and achievement.01).57 .24) and T2 math test scores (.01 T1MGRd Time 2 . Thus.14 .28 for the models of the test scores and grades. School Grades.37 . grades.26 . respectively (compared with .13 .03* .01 T2MTst . the effect of T1 math self-concept was also statistically significant for both T2 math grades (. or MTst 5 math test).06/.06 . domain-specific interest T2MASC .24/.06 Note.07  T2MInt .04 . MGrd 5 math grade.24 . the effects of prior self-concept on subsequent achievement were stronger than the corresponding effects of prior achievement on subsequent self-concept.03  .1 and 2.26 . Hence. In supplemental analyses. we constructed separate models to evaluate the reciprocal effects of math selfconcept with math grades and with math test scores (excluding math interest.12 .03) and marginally non- MGrd MTest .08 .51 .09  T2MInt .57/. Also consistent with a priori predictions. All models were based on full information maximum likelihood.07 . MSC 5 math self-concept.51  T2MGrd .001).55  T2MGrd .37 .00 T2MTst . even after controlling for the effects of other T1 measures (interest. for example.04/.16  . .01 . MInt 5 math interest.14 .08 MGrd .05. test scores).52 T2MGrd .15 .03  .17 . MTest 5 math test scores.55 MSC .15/.001.05). Study 2.01 4. subject-specific interest T2MASC . the effects were stronger.00 . p o .07 .A Reciprocal Effects Model Table 2 Path Coefficients Relating Time 1 Constructs (Math Self-Concept.26  .06) but highly significant (po.16 .35 MTest Figure 1.01 T2MTst .02 .03 . The first coefficient in each box is based on Study 1 results (see also Table 1) and the second is based on Study 2 results (see also Table 5). effects were found between math self-concept and achievement in the overall model (see Table 1 and Figure 1). Although the pattern of results in these supplemental models was the same as in the overall model. All parameter estimates are presented in completely standardized form.08 . the effects of T1 math self-concept were greater for T2 school grades than for T2 test scores.01 T2MTst . All variables were given a label that identifies the Time (T1 or T2).35 . whereas critical parameter estimates for the alternative models are presented here for comparison purposes.02 .24 in the overall model). the effects of T1 math grades were even smaller (. the construct (MASC 5 math self-concept.03*/. Study 2.07 and .14 . the . Study 2.40 .37 .16 Time 1 constructs Time 1 constructs 405 T1MTst MInt .07 .55/.104p4. the effects of T1 math self-concept were . in which case the nonsignificant path is presented with an asterisk). Study 1 T2MASC .04 . significant (.09 . Structural equation model paths relating Time 1 (T1) to Time 2 (T2) constructs.40/.04 effect of T1 grades on T2 math self-concept was statistically significant (po.54 . MInt 5 math interest.03 . Whereas the effects of T1 math test scores on T2 math self-concept were small (.26 . However.51 T2MGrd . Standardized Test Scores) to Corresponding Time 2 Constructs for Alternative Structural Equation Models Considered in Studies 1 and 2 Time 1 T1MASC T1MInt 1.12 MSC . combined interest T2MASC .09/.04 T2MInt .35/.06 . The effects of the T1 achievement on T2 self-concept were smaller than the effects of T1 self-concept on T2 achievement. Also. Interest. Results for Model 1 (see Table 1) and Model 3 (see Table 3) are presented in more detail and are the main focus of the present investigation.2 for Study 1). MGrd 5 math grade.03 . It is not surprising that the strongest effect of T1 math self-concept was on T2 math self-concept. whereas it was marginally nonsignificant in the overall analysis. Although these results support the reciprocal effects model.35 . see Figures 2.15 and . p o .00 .55 .09 T2MInt .09).01 3.

09 .58 MInt . Although math interest was correlated with math achievement.45 MTest 5: Self-Concept and Interest Time 1 Time 2 .15. there was some .55/.56 .45/.09/.15/. some of the small effects associated with math interest in these supplemental analyses were lost in the more demanding overall model in which the effects of all four T1 constructs were controlled. the supplemental analyses suggest that the effects of T1 interest on subsequent achievement were stronger than the effects of T1 achievement on subsequent T2 interest.60 MSC .39 Time 2 Time 1 MInt MInt . there was no support for any reciprocal effects between the two constructs based on the overall model (Table 1).02) or T2 math grades (. and Baumert 1: Self-Concept and Grades Time 1 Time 2 Time 1 MSC MSC . Figure 2.14 Time 2 . some of these effects were statistically significant. MInt 5 math interest. However.48/. there were statistically significant effects of T1 math interest on T2 math grades (. Stability (horizontal) paths are presented in gray and all statistically significant paths between different constructs are presented in black. influences on T2 math interest were not statistically significant for either T1 math test scores (.04/.08 MTest Time 2 .06/. MSC 5 math self-concept. MTest 5 math test scores.50 MSC 4: Interest and Test Scores . In particular.60/. Lu¨dtke. Math interest and achievement.406 Marsh.63 MTest .21 .60 MSC .15/.28/. The first coefficient in each box is based on Study 1 results (see also Table 1) and the second is based on Study 2 results (see also Table 5).08/.08 MInt MSC .01). Hence. Whereas T1 math interest had a substantial effect on T2 math interest.39 MInt 2: Self-Concept and Test Scores MTest . Trautwein.10 MGrd . MGrd 5 math grade.09. Structural equation model paths relating Time 1 (T1) to Time 2 (T2) constructs. Similarly.3) and T2 math test scores (.60 MInt Figure 2.02) or T2 math grades (.05 . in different supplemental analyses that considered only pairs of the four constructs. it had no significant effects on either T2 math test scores (.47/.59/. Although the effects were small. in which case the nonsignificant path is presented with an asterisk). Figure 2. Ko¨ller.59/.39/.10 .60/.27 MGrd MGrd 3: Interest and Grades Time 1 MGrd . Based on the full model (Table 1).60/.04/. The evaluation of the causal ordering of academic self-concept and interest is apparently unique to the present investigation. Separate models were fitted to selected pairs of constructs. Only statistically significant paths are presented (except where a path was significant in only one of the two studies.00).03*/.4). Math self-concept and interest.

048 – . uniq 5 measured variable uniqueness.056 – .049 – .050 . the effect of T1 math selfconcept on T2 math interest (.048 – . factor variances and covariances. FV/CV 5 factor variance/covariance matrix.049 – .059) 1387 1432 1467 1548 1517 1582 1553 1650 1684 .054) (. PC 5 path coefficient.060) 1919 .060) (. and measured variable uniquenessesFconstrained to be the same in solutions for males and females).055 – .056 (.059 382 3882 . whereas the effect of T1 math interest on T2 math self-concept (. In each model.048 – .051 .057 – .04) was marginally significant.058 402 4071 .052) (. RMSEA values improved progressively for each set of invariance constraints such that the best model (with lowest RMSEA value) was the model imposing complete invariance across gender (MG9 in Table 3).057 – .058 409 4040 .056 – .036 vs.054 (.053) MG12 451 4665 .051 (. advances in SEM allow us to incorporate both questions into a latent factor model such that inferences about means are based on latent mean differences derived from an appropriate factor structure.054) (. .059) (.047 – .057 – . grades.048 – .057 – . Hence.09) was slightly more positive than in the overall analysis (Table 1).060) (.056) Note. RMSEA 5 root mean square error of approximation.056 – .060 366 3825 . First.060) (. . Second.051 .051 . Although many models were considered. FL 5 factor loading. interest. factor structures for responses by males and females were compared subject to constraints that some parameter estimates were the same (Inv 5 invariant) in the two solutions or were unconstrained and freely estimated in the two solutions (Free). do the reciprocal effects of math self-concept.054) (. We now extend the results to test the generalizability of the results across gender.050 .053) (.059) 1684 . the results are easy to summarize.057 of latent means 429 4244 . The invariance of factor loadings is typically considered the minimal condition for factorial invariance.061) (. In the present investigation.A Reciprocal Effects Model 407 gender differences in mean levels of the four constructs? As emphasized earlier.048 – . to evaluate the invariance of the SEM across gender.039) and was marginally nonsignificant (p 5 . we pursued a traditional two-group analysis in which we constrained various sets of parameter estimates to be invariant over gender.057 413 4188 . and achievement vary as a function of gender? To evaluate this question we tested the invariance of the full factor model with all four constructs (math selfconcept.057 – .051 (.051 (. whereas there was consistent support for the effect of prior self-concept on subsequent interest.058 386 4018 .054) (.058 – .054) FL 5 Free FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Free Inter 5 Free LFMD 5 zero FL 5 Free FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Free Inter 5 Inv LFMD 5 Free FL 5 Free FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Free Inter 5 Inv LFMD 5 zero MG11 443 4286 .061) (. It is interesting that the effect of T1 math interest on T2 math self-concept was slightly lower (.051 . In the separate analysis of the self-concept and interest constructs (Figure 2. are there Table 3 Structural Equation Models of Gender Invariance of Factor Structure and Latent Means: Fit of Alternative Models Study 1 Model Invariance MG1 MG2 MG3 MG4 MG5 MG6 MG7 MG8 MG9 Invariance MG10 df w2 RMSEA of factor structure 352 3759 . w2 5 full information chi-square.051).054) (. support for the reciprocal effects of math self-concept and math interest. LFMD 5 latent factor mean differences (between males and females).058 429 4244 . test scores).060) (.048 – .5).058) 1737 . First. we compared RMSEA indexes for models with a variety of different sets of invariance constraints ranging from model MG1 (no invariance constraints for any parameter estimates) to the most restrictive model MG9 (all parameter estimates Ffactor loading.054) FL 5 Free FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Free FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Free FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Inv FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Inv Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Free FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Inv PC 5 Free FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Inv Uniq 5 Free PC 5 Inv FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Free Uniq 5 Inv PC 5 Inv FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Inv Uniq 5 Inv PC 5 Free FL 5 Inv FV/CV 5 Inv Uniq 5 Inv PC 5 Inv (. The effect of T1 math self-concept on T2 math interest (.059 393 3978 . but our main focus was on the invariance of the path coefficients relating T1 and T2 constructs.053) (. exploring two sets of related questions.048 – . factor path coefficients. 95% CI 5 95% confidence interval about the RMSEA.051 . interest.051 – .047 – .059 (.07) was highly significant.056 – . Gender differences. the evidence supporting the effect of prior interest on subsequent self-concept was marginal.061) (.057 Study 2 95% CI w2 RMSEA 95% CI Invariance constraints (.056 – .050 .

and self-concept were collected in both Grades 7 and 8.03 . although tangential to our main focus. measured variable uniquenesses.04 .04 . factor variances/covariances.04 . the corresponding four T2 constructs without controlling for T1 constructs. the same interest items were included in Study 2. a separate measure of interest was also included based on subsequent theoretical work by Krapp..06 .05 .g. In summary.06 .05 . Results based on Time 2 responses are presented without controlling for corresponding Time 1 factors (no control) and controlling for Time 1 responses consistent with the a priori path model (control).05 . we began with the model of complete invariance of the latent factor structure and evaluated whether item intercepts were invariant over gender. males scored higher than did females at T1.03 .04 .03 . tests of gender differences largely supported a priori predictions that males would have substantially higher math self-concept and interest scores and moderately higher math test scores. To evaluate the nature of these latent mean differences (Table 4). and Baumert Hence. the German component was longitudinal in that math achievement. Ko¨ller. Fortunately. To maintain comparability with Study 1. we evaluated gender differences in the latent means for factors representing our four constructs at T1 and T2.46 . consistent with a priori predictions.08 . 1997).03 . In addition. and measured variable intercepts all invariant over solutions by males and females. Unlike the international TIMSS study.05 .33 .03 .12 .10  .04 .21  .g. there were no significant differences between males and females at T1.02 Note. Study 2 contained the same math self-concept and interest items used in Study 1 and similar measures of math achievement (standardized test scores and school grades).10 .06 .03 . Krapp. and girls performed marginally better than did males at T2. For math grades.26 .02 . math self-concept) will give systematically more positive responses to easy items and systematically less positive response to difficult items.27 .08  . Table 4 Latent Mean Differences for Males and Females in Four Math Constructs (Positive Values Reflect Higher Scores for Males) Study 1 Math self-concept Math interest Math Grades Math test scores Study 2 Math self-concept Math interest Math grades Math test scores Time 1 Time 2 Time 2 No control No control Control Mn SE Mn SE Mn SE .03 .05 . we compared models in which latent means are constrained to be equal across responses by males and females. but latent factor means freely estimated).46 . Trautwein. the pattern of path coefficients linking T1 constructs to T2 constructs was remarkably similar for male and female students. but not completely. In contrast to all other tests of invariance over gender. . In pursuing this issue.408 Marsh. In general. Study 2 The purpose of Study 2 was to evaluate the replicability of results from Study 1 and the generalizability of results across responses by students in two different school years to two different interest measures based on data from the German component of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS.34 . Lu¨dtke. eliminated differences in these two constructs at T2.17 .. For math test scores.03 . interest.05. two measures of interest were used in Study 2.04 .39 . Completely standardized mean differences (based on model MG12 with factor loading. differences on latent means are not consistent across items used to define the factor. the results provide strong support for the generalizability of results of Study 1 over gender. but their advantage was much smaller at T2 so that after controlling for T1 scores females actually did slightly better than males at T2. males had substantially higher math self-concepts and interest at T1 and T2.35 . Second. It differed in that data were based on responses by students in Grades 7 and 8 so that the data collection waves were separated by a full academic year (Study 1 was based on responses from two occasions in Grade 7) and data in Study 2 were collected about 3 years after those in Study 1. and colleagues (e. Controlling for T1 constructs largely.16 . po. However. comparison of these models (MG11 and MG12 in Table 3) indicated that the latent means differed for males and females. At least reasonable support for the invariance of item intercepts across males and females is typically taken to be the minimal condition for valid comparisons of mean differences. Baumert et al. Schiefele. also consistent with a priori predictions based on the gender-invariant model. Unless there is such support..06 .03 . 2000.29 .02 . Item intercepts reflect the difficulty of an item in the sense that students at a given level of the underlying latent construct (e. and the corresponding four T2 constructs after controlling for T1 constructs. path coefficients.03 . Next.00 . we compared responses for males and females on the four T1 constructs. However.29  .27 . a comparison of the RMSEAs for models MG10 and MG11 provided good support for the invariance of item intercepts.

Wigfield & Eccles. in press.A Reciprocal Effects Model Krapp. Marsh. & Trautwein. Ko¨ller. math school grades. 1992) and others (e. Most students (90%) were born in Germany.. Beaton et al. SEMs included correlated uniquenesses for matching items in the longitudinal data. Huse´n.4% with dual citizenship). The interest measure used in both Studies 1 and 2 referred to the mathematics course in which students were currently enrolled (class-specific interest). domain-specific measures of math interest. 1996). some specific to that booklet and some anchor items common to all booklets. To facilitate presentation .9 at T1 and T2) that their separate effects could not be reliably distinguished (because of multicollinearity). All items were checked for curricular validity. math interest.. thus allowing broad subject matter coverage without student exhaustion. Excluded from this final sample were schools that participated in the study on only one of the two occasions. and gender differences were evaluated in the pattern of causal relations among the four constructs measured at T1 and T2 and in the latent mean responses by boys and girls. The German TIMSS study in Grades 7 and 8 contained some national extensions compared to the international design.. as described by Ko¨ller et al. Prenzel. Schiefele et al. The items were distributed over eight booklets. On this basis we also tested a model in which both class.and domainspecific measures of interest. Students worked on one booklet each. 1996). All responses were scaled using item response techniques (see Lu¨dtke.and domain-specific measures of interest as separate constructs. Students spoke German at home always or almost always (88%) or sometimes (10%). Study 2 was based on a sample of German Grade 7 students who participated in the TIMSS (Baumert et al. nationally representative sample consisted of 128 randomly selected schools in which one class per school was sampled randomly. and models with both class and domain-specific measures of interest. therefore. whereas the domain-specific interest measure was based on a new five-item scale (see the Appendix). The 36 math items in Grade 7 (T1) were taken from previous studies by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Six 409 content areas and four performance categories were covered. including 94% with German citizenship (including 3. 1998. The longitudinal. Measures. Separate models were evaluated using class-specific measures of math interest that are directly comparable to Study 1 (Table 5). it is important to evaluate the generalizability of these effects with potentially stronger measures of interest. We were thus able to build a common achievement metric for T1 and T2 using item response theory applications. Math achievement in Grade 8 was measured by 158 items that were part of the official TIMSS item base. in particular from the First and Second International Mathematics Study (cf. 1996. we began with an evaluation of the complete SEM that included T1 and T2 measures of math self-concept. & Schiefele. Results and Discussion As in Study 1. The math self-concept and class-specific interest measures were the same as those used in Study 1. In a subsequent model that contained both class.. 1992). Several items used at T1 were also administered in the official TIMSS study 1 year later. and math test scores. 1967. 1989) and from an earlier investigation conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Method Data. and gender.. 1986. data were centered within each class. we focus on the class-specific measures of interest that are most comparable to those used in Study 1. M age in Grade 7 5 13. see also Beaton et al. Particularly given the weak effects associated with math interest in Study 1.4% of the responses were missing for the total sample of students who responded at either Time 1 or Time 2).and domain-specific measures of interest were similar.7 years) who were tested at two points. FIML was used because of small amounts of missing data (approximately 3. The final sample in the present investigation included a total of 2. Schiefele. results based on the class. or for which there were less than 10 students who responded. In preliminary analyses. and most were Caucasian (95%). Robitaille & Garden.and domain-specific interest items reflected a single interest factor. Because the sample was representative. Each booklet contained between 30 and 40 items.g. but the results were essentially the same as the separate models based on class. Statistical analysis. it was heterogeneous in relation to socioeconomic status. whereas interest in the second measure referred to interest in the mathematics domain more generally (domain-specific interest.264 students (50% female. The sample was nationally representative with respect to region. the two latent interest constructs were so highly correlated at each occasion (approximately . 1997. As in Study 1. (2001). see the Appendix for the wording of items from both measures). school type.

14 1. For comparison purposes.054 demonstrated that the model was able to fit the data well.36 T2MASC T2Mint T2MGrd T2MTst Correlationsb T1MASC 1.06 .01  . b Factor correlations are based on the equivalent confirmatory factor analysis model in which all constructs are correlated.9.38 1.970. po.21 .03 . in which missing values were imputed using the expectation maximization algorithm. RMSEA 5 0.12 .04 .25 .36 T2MASC .08 .64 .00 T1Mint .85 . df 5 176.82 T1MASC4 .76 . the same model was estimated. Trautwein. All parameter estimates are presented in completely standardized form.00 .001.410 Marsh.0563. non-normed fit index 5 0. whereas they are partialed out for the Time 2 residual variances and covariances. School Grades.54 1.27 .17 .51 T1MASC5 . and Test Scores at Times 1 and 2 in Study 2: Full Information Maximum Likelihood Estimation Time 1 constructs MASC Factor loadings T1MASC1 .00 T1Mint .58 . the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) of .35 1.57a T1MASC2 .52a .74 T1MASC3 .14 .00 .22 . Ko¨ller.31 . Time 1 correlations are the same as in the structural equation model (see residual variance/covariance estimates) but differ from Time 2 estimates in that the effects of Time 1 constructs are not partialed out of the correlations.01 .80 .33 .76 . The parameter estimates were nearly identical to those presented here and the goodness-of-fit statistics indicated a good fit to the data (normal theory weighted least squares w2 5 1181.84 .17 1.00a .58 . Lu¨dtke.35 MInt MGrd Time 2 constructs MTst MASC MInt MGrd MTst . and.16 Residual variances/covariances T1MASC 1.46 1.13 .62 1.58 T1MGrd .25 .06 .26 T2MTst . and Baumert Table 5 Factor Solution Relating Academic Self-Concept.53 .18 1.54 .05. standardized root mean square residual 5 0. All variables were given a label that identifies the Time (T1 or T2).55 .83 T1MINT1 T1MINT2 T1MINT3 T1MINT4 T1MGrade T1Mtest T2MASC1 T2MASC2 T2MASC3 T2MASC4 T2MASC5 T2MINT1 T2MINT2 T2MINT3 T2MINT4 T2MGrade T2MTst Path coefficients T2MASC . Not presented are the uniquenesses and correlated uniquenesses.66 .20 1.00 .00 Note.00 .37 . for the multiple indicators of each latent construct.00 .00 .00a 1.13 .39 . Interest.24 .42 .24 . the construct (MASC 5 math self-concept.79 .07 .81 .47 T2MTst . po.977. MINT 5 math interest.00 .52 T1MTst .12 T2MGrd .62a .36 .51 .73 1.58 T1MGrd . the first indicator of each construct was fixed to 1. or MTst 5 math test). the item number.55 T2Mint .00 . .43 T2MGrd . a In the unstandardized model.64 .40 1.00a . comparative fit index 5 0.477 (df 5 176) was highly significant because of the large sample size.00 .62a .0 to fix the metric of the factor. Mgrd 5 math grade.39 1.64 T2MInt .40 .03  .0378).00a 1. Although the full information maximum likelihood chi-square of 1106.52 T1MTst .

05 and the pattern of significant and nonsignificant effects was the same in all three models). However.27.4).1 and 2. these path coefficients were nearly identical to those in Table 5 based on the class-specific measure of interest (none of the path coefficients differed by more than .10. as were the effects of T1 test scores and T1 school grades on T2 math interest (Table 5).and domain-specific) measures of math interest (see Table 2). we also juxtaposed the results of models in which interest was based on responses to the class-specific items. the effects of self-concept on achievement are stronger than the effects of achievement on selfconcept. Gender differences. Hence. there were reciprocal effects between math self-concept and achievement in the overall model that included all constructs (see Table 5 and Figure 1). Furthermore. The effects of T1 math grades and T1 math test scores on T2 math self-concept. As in Study 1. However. the effects of T1 math self-concept on T2 math interest (. Math self-concept and achievement.001). whereas the effects were reciprocal. the reciprocal effects of self-concept on interest and interest on self-concept did not exceed . we tested the generalizability of the results across gender. Consistent with previous self-concept research (and Study 1).08) but highly significant (po. and the effects of T1 math self-concept were greater for T2 school grades than for T2 test scores. In particular.21. domain-specific. even in the supplemental analyses that excluded the math test scores and math grades (see Figure 2. Based on the full model (Table 5). This same pattern of results was evident in additional models using class-specific. Math self-concept and interest. nonsignificant effects between interest and achievement was consistent across different models based on the class-specific. this consistent pattern of near-zero. grades. Math self-concept and class-specific interest were both positively correlated with math grades and test scores (Table 5). and combined (class. interest. correlations between self-concept and both achievement constructs (grades and test scores) were more positive than the corresponding correlations between interest and achievement. whereas the effects of T1 math test scores were even smaller (. test scores) and was based on the class-specific measure of interest. in supplemental analyses that considered math interest in combination with either grades or test scores (excluding math self-concept). we only considered the subject-specific measure of interest in Study 2 that was the same as the interest measure in Study 1.2).1) and on T2 math test scores (. although clearly smaller than the effect of T1 math self-concept on T2 math achievement.3) were also significant. We began with two-group invariance tests in which we constrained various sets of parameter estimates to be invariant over . However. Hence.3) and math test scores (Figure 2. Also. Math interest and achievement. some effects involving math interest were statistically significant. or both sets of interest items. were also statistically significant. but both self-concept and interest were more highly correlated with school grades than with standardized test scores. As in Study 1. there was also some support for the reciprocal effects of math self-concept and math interest. domain-specific. we constructed separate models to evaluate the reciprocal effects of math self-concept with math school grades and with math test scores (excluding math interest. In evaluating path coefficients relating T1 and T2 constructs. we also conducted supplemental analyses in which we evaluated various pairs of constructs separately (see Figure 2) that were more like traditional causal models used in previous research.and domain-specific measures of interest (Table 2). we focused on the overall model that contained all four constructs (self-concept. Figure 2.16). in the overall model. As in Study 1. but the effects tended to be strongerFparticularly the effect of T1 math self-concept on T2 math grades (. These patterns of results were consistent across T1 and T2 responses. To facilitate comparisons between Studies 1 and 2. the effect of T1 math self-concept was statistically significant for both T2 math grades (. we focus on the model with classspecific measures of interest (Table 5) but also briefly summarize results based on the other models as well (see Table 2).and domain-specific) measures of math interest (see Table 2).A Reciprocal Effects Model of the results. these supplemental analyses supported the reciprocal effects model of self-concept and achievement. see Figures 2. the effects of T1 math interest were nonsignificant for both T2 school grades and T2 test scores.07) were both statistically significant. The effects of T1 math grades on T2 math self-concept were small (.26) and T2 math test scores (. Figure 2. In additional models based on domainspecific measures of interest or both class.5). The pattern of results in these supplemental models was the same as in the overall model. math interest had statistically significant effects on both math grades (Figure 2. whereas the effects of math grades on math interest (Figure 2.12) and of T1 math interest on T2 math selfconcept (. the domain-specific items.2 for 411 Study 2). and combined (class. Of particular relevance.03) and not statistically significant. However. Math interest was correlated with both measures of math achievement.

there were almost no differences in fit between any of the models. we evaluated gender differences in the means of latent factors representing our four constructs at T1 and T2. the critical feature might not be the length of the interval per se. several characteristics of the present investigation warrant further consideration. that the mathematics classes in Germany are reasonably similar for students in Grades 7 and 8. the results provide strong support for the generalizability of results over gender. for example. there is a need to integrate the developmental and educational psychology research traditions to provide a more complete picture. and math tests at T1 and T2 (Table 4. Hence. it is important to test the generalizability of the results to other academic (and perhaps nonacademic) domains. suggesting that this methodological issue may not be as important as suggested by Marsh et al. interest. and gender differences. and choice of behavior. In general. because our study was based only on math constructs. (1999). there was no significant difference between males and females at T2 so that females had slightly higher school grades at T2 after controlling for T1 constructs. Although the causal effects of academic interest on subsequent achievement were largely nonsignificant. Trautwein. the positive effect of a high math self-concept on subsequent math achievement was similar for both boys and girls. Next. Based on comparison of RMSEA values across models MG1 to MG9. the most restrictive model (in which all parameters were constrained to be the same for males and females) had an RMSEA of . Lu¨dtke. and academic achievement to subsequent measures of these same constructs. Also. there have been few if any longitudinal causal-ordering studies of relations among self-concept. Whereas males had slightly higher math grades at T1. Future research should more fully attend to differences in the contextual characteristics as well as the length of time between waves. performance. as emphasized by Wigfield and Eccles (2002). school grades. Study 2). Thus. Hence. Even though there is substantial overlap of research into academic self-concept and academic interest. A comparison of the RMSEAs for models MG10 and MG11 provided good support for the invariance of item intercepts. In relation to the generalizability of the results and future research. achievement. (2001) speculated that the effect of interest would be stronger during later school years. support for the reciprocal effects relating math selfconcept. Whereas the contribution of prior academic self-concept was stronger for school grades. 1997b) similarly showed that whereas both achievement and academic . It is important to evaluate the generalizability of these results in different settings. consistent with a priori predictions.412 Marsh. We began by arguing that a critical question in self-concept and motivation research is whether there are causal links from prior measures of academic self-concept. Guay et al. even though girls had lower math self-concepts than did boys. A comparison of the results for Studies 1 and 2 (see Figure 1) shows that the size and pattern of statistically significant and nonsignificant path coefficients from each study are similar. however. Our results showed similar findings in different studies where the data-collection waves were in the academic school year (Study 1) or spanned different school years (Study 2). We note. More complicated is the generalizability of our results to other age groups. General Discussion Although developmental and educational psychologists posit interest and self-concept as primary determinants of outcomes such as achievement. academic interest. the effects were also highly significant for standardized test scores. countries. Ko¨ller et al. Although some researchers have suggested that effects are stronger for older samples. males had substantially higher latent means for math self-concept. but in contrast to predictions from gender-intensification and gender-stereotypic models (but in support of gender-invariance models). and test scores was similar for boys and girls. possibly there was some shared variance in subsequent measures of academic achievement that could not be uniquely explained by either self-concept or interest. and age groups. (2003) have demonstrated strong support for the reciprocal effects model that generalized over elementary school years. interest. There were stereotypic gender differences in the mean levels of math motivation constructs. and Baumert responses by males and females. Study 2) indicated that the latent means did differ. Ko¨ller. However. In particular.051. but the amount of change that takes place between consecutive data collections. math interest. equal to that in the least restrictive model in which there were no invariance constraints. whereas comparison of models MG11 and MG12 (Table 3. when the curriculum was not so highly structured and students had more freedom in selecting courses. Our results provide clear evidence that prior academic self-concept does predict subsequent academic achievement beyond what can be explained in terms of prior measures of academic interest. Marsh and Yeung (1997a. school grades. and standardized achievement test scores.

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(1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  Math just isn’t my thing. it sometimes happens that I don’t notice time passing.416 Marsh. Ko¨ller. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  Mathematics is one of the things that is important to me personally. math seems to be harder for me than for my fellow students. but I’m just not good at math. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree) . (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  Although I make a real effort. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  While working on a mathematical problem. Trautwein. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  I enjoy working on mathematical problems. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree) Math Class-Specific Interest (Studies 1 and 2)  How important is it for you to learn a lot in mathematics classes? (1 5 not at all important to 5 5 very important)  Would you like mathematics classes to be taught more often? (1 5 not at all to 5 5 very much)  How much do you look forward to mathematics classes? (1 5 not at all to 5 5 very much)  How important is it for you to remember what you have learned in mathematics classes? (1 5 not at all important to 5 5 very important) Math Domain-Specific Interest (Study 2 Only)  It is important to me to be a good mathematician. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  Nobody’s perfect. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  I would even give up some of my spare time to learn new topics in mathematics. (1 5 strongly disagree to 4 5 strongly agree)  Some topics in math are just so hard that I know from the start I’ll never understand them. Lu¨dtke. and Baumert Appendix Self-Concept and Interest Items Used in Studies 1 and 2 Math Self-Concept (Studies 1 and 2)  I would much prefer math if it weren’t so hard.