We compared the relationships among action-control beliefs, intellective skill, and actual school performance in samples of children from Tokyo (n = 817, grades 2-6), Los Angeles (n = 657), and West Berlin (n = 517). Although these samples have been utilised in other comparative studies we have conducted, the role and function of intellective skill, as measured by the Raven Progressive Matrices, has not before been examined. The results of our analyses predicting school performance from the action-control beliefs and the Raven scores were quite revealing. The amount of variance in actual school performance that was shared with (1) the children's action-control beliefs and (2) their Raven scores was very high in West Berlin (86%) and Tokyo (73%), but very low in Los Angeles (37%). These outcomes strengthen arguments that the comparatively high levels of personal agency, but low correlations with performance, are distinctive characteristics of US socioeducational contexts.