Cognitive representations and beliefs are what comprise an individual’s self-concept. A positive self-concept is related to and influences academic achievement, and the relationship between a domain-specific self-concept and achievement in the same domain is positive and strong. However, insufficient attention has been paid to these issues among multilingual children. More importantly, since instruction strongly contributes to the development of metacognition and executive functions (EFs), and since the bilingual advantage hypothesis holds that the constant management of multiple languages entails benefits for EF, we bring together these important issues in the present study. We examine the relationship between domain-specific self-concepts and standardized assessment of reading and spelling competences against the background of potential differences in self-concept between monolingual and multilingual German children. While between-group comparisons revealed no significant differences for self-concept nor reading competency, monolinguals outperformed multilinguals in spelling. Correlations between domain-specific self-concepts and academic achievement in reading comprehension, reading fluency, and spelling were positive and significant for both groups. Regardless of language background, children’s evaluations of their academic achievement (reading and spelling) were realistic. We argue, on a theoretical basis, that metacognition and EFs could facilitate a bilingual advantage and improve educational outcomes.
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