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The BFLPE posits that students who are educated in high-ability classes and schools will have lower academic self-concepts (that is, knowledge and perceptions regarding academic ability--Bong & Skaalvik, 2003) than their equally able counterparts in average- and low-ability environments.
In Australian BFLPE research, Marsh and colleagues (1995, Study 2) found that students in gifted and talented classes showed declines in the reading, mathematics and school components of academic self-concept over time compared to matched students from mixed-ability classes.
If, as BFLPE research has shown, high-ability students attending high-ability environments have lower academic self-concepts, then it follows that they may not be reaching their full academic potential.
It is also important to emphasize that the BFLPE is not a short-term ephemeral effect, but a long-lasting effect with important implications for a wide variety of different academic outcomes.
JAA: What are the implications of the BFLPE in relation to other desirable academic outcomes?
In support of the BFLPE, many of the subsequent negative effects of school-average ability were mediated by academic self-concept.
The BFLPE does not typically hold for nonacademic facets of self-concept such as social self-concept (self-perceptions of one's social competence with respect to social interaction with others; Marsh, Chessor, Craven, & Roche, 1995; Preckel, Zeidner, Goetz, & Schleyer, 2008).
There is a vast amount of empirical evidence in support of the BFLPE across diverse educational settings, populations, and cultures (e.
In the BFLPE, academic self-concept is influenced substantially by the ability levels of other students in the immediate context, in addition to one's own ability and academic accomplishments.
A negative BFLPE (a contrast effect) occurs where equally able students have lower academic self-concepts when they compare themselves with more able students, and higher academic self-concepts when they compare themselves with less able students.
Reviews (Craven & Marsh, 1997; Marsh, 1990, 1991, 1993; Marsh & Craven, 1997) provide support for BFLPE prediction from different countries at different levels of education when using a wide variety of different research methodologies.
In an application of multi-level modeling, Marsh and Rowe (1996) emphasised that the BFLPE was clearly evident for students of all ability levels and that the size of the BFLPE varied only slightly with individual ability.