Assessing students’ competencies (either implicitly or explicitly) is a routine task for teachers, with many decisions – for example, concerning grading, ability grouping, and difficulty level of questions or materials – being based on these teacher judgments. Given this, judgment accuracy (often referred to as diagnostic competence) is regarded as a central element of teacher professionalism and is thought to affect students’ learning outcomes. So far, however, empirical evidence concerning teachers’ diagnostic competence is incomplete and partly contradictory. As argued throughout this paper, these mixed results can be attributed, to some extent, to the fact that judgment purposes and judgment demands are not adequately taken into account in current research literature.
“Students’ academic self-concept is a good predictor of academic achievement and a desirable educational outcome per se. In this study, we take a closer look at the nature of the academic self-concept in the natural sciences by examining its dimensional structure, its relation to achievement, and gender differences. We analyzed data from self-concept measures, grades and standardized achievement tests of 6036 German 10th graders across three science subjects – biology, chemistry, and physics – using structural equation modeling. Results indicate that (a) a 3-dimensional, subject-specific measurement model of the self-concept in science is preferable to a 1-dimensional model, (b) the relations between the self-concept and achievement are substantial and subject-specific when grades are used as achievement indicators, and ( c) female students possess a lower self-concept in chemistry and physics even after controlling for achievement measures. The refore, we recommend conceptualizing the self-concept in science as a multi-dimensional, subject-specific construct both in educational research and in science classes.”