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Description: The Reciprocal Internal/External Model (RI/EM) extends the Internal/External Frame of Reference Model (I/EM) over time and the Reciprocal Effects Model (REM) across domains. The RI/EM postulates positive developmental relations between academic achievement and self-concept within a domain and negative relations across two opposing domains (i.e., math and English language). However, empirical investigations of the RI/EM focused on secondary school students and specific countries. With the present study, we tested if the RI/EM also applies to primary school and to the U.S. using a representative longitudinal data set, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K). We found positive reciprocal relations between academic self-concept and standardized test-scores within a domain, whereas the effect of prior achievement on self-concept was much stronger (skill-development part) than the effect of self-concept and achievement (self-enhancement). Furthermore, we found negative effects of achievement on subsequent self-concepts across domains (I/E frame of references). Overall, the findings of the study strongly supported the RI/EM for primary school students. The results are compared to previous findings in the literature for secondary school students and discussed with regard to self-concept formation in primary school.

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