Although the initial expectancy-value model of attainment performance and choice included many constructs (such as cultural milieu, differential attitudes of a child, previous experience and its interpretation as well as affective memories), for the present analysis such constructs as socio-economic background, beliefs held by others, child’s self-conception, the expectation of success, task value and achievement related choices were chosen to influence academic performance measured by GPA. Expectation-value model is based on the presumption that individual activity choices are influenced by one’s interpretation of reality rather than actual reality (Eccles et al., 1983). The basic premise of such model is that socio-economic status and stereotypes impact child’s self-conception. This consequently affects child’s goals, the expectation of success and achievement-related choices (Atkinson, 1957; Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield, 1994). Having appropriate achievement-related choices leads to a successful academic performance and to the attainment of high grades. The definitions of the construct, as well as the causation links, are going to be explained as follows.
Whereas a view that others hold of a child is based upon a stereotypical view of a disadvantaged group as underachieving, a notion of specific self-conception of a child forms off several factors. Primarily, the focus has been on the concept of ideal self and ability beliefs (i.e. beliefs about that one is good at performing different activities). According to attribution theory (Weiner, 2001), the ability is viewed by an individual as a stable characteristic of their self-concept. This is especially important to school children because the understanding of their abilities and expectancies of their success in specific activities develops in the aggregate (Harter, Whitesell, & Kowalski, 1992). Thus, seeing oneself as “dumb” and unable to achieve crucially undermines a self-concept.
Undermined self-concept influences child’s goals. Those include both short-term and long-term projections of the self. A concept of oneself as underachiever restrains a child from attaining to appropriate future strategies. Complemented by years of failure to create a perception of a gifted self, the child ends up abandoning the goal (Oyserman, 2007). Thus, when a successful future self is not achievable it eventually rots off. In result, keeping a hold of a failed self-goal produces a negative effect on child’s self-evaluation and expectancies of success (Kruglanski & Higgins, 2007) and decreases performance.