As R. A. Steffenhagen (1990) argues, "The actual attainment of the goal is not the most important element in the perception of self-esteem, but rather the individual's cognitive process, his internal evaluation of the importance of the goal" (p. 2). A student with a positive self-image expects to do well in the classroom and defines whatever he or she accomplishes as success.
Elizabeth A. Linnenbrink and Paul R. Pintrich (2002) suggest that self-esteem is a broader definition of the process at work. They argue that academic accomplishment by individuals with high self-esteem is a specific achievement of what they call self-efficacy, a sort of manifestation of a positive self-image. They (2002) contend, "Self-efficacy is a judgment of task-specific capabilities and is based on actual accomplishments and success and failures, whereas self-esteem is a much more general affective evaluation of the self" (p. 316). In their argument, a positive image of the self makes more specific accomplishments easier to attain, but self-esteem is a broader mechanism that then enables individual achievements like classroom success.
Positive self-esteem helps makes possible some of the other skills necessary for academic accomplishment. Owens (1995) observes, "Children - and adults - with high self-esteem are responsible and self controlled, perceive themselves realistically, own up to their st