ERIC Number: ED338991
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Children's Attributions for Personal Success and Failure Experiences in English, Math, General Music, and Physical Education Classes.
Vispoel, Walter P.; Austin, James R.
This study was conducted to compare causal attributions for success and failure response across four school subject areas (English, Mathematics, General Music, and Physical Education) using a "critical incident" methodology. Students (N=205) from a midwestern junior high school completed a questionnaire in which they identified important school-related failure or success experiences. After identifying specific experiences in each of the four subject areas, students responded to six-point Likert-type scale items designed to assess the relative importance of eight causal attributions: ability, effort, strategy, interest, task difficulty, luck, family influence, and teacher influence. Results from a series of analyses of variance, multiple analyses of variance, chi-square, correlational and factor analyses indicated that students' responses were outcome-, attribution-, subject area-, and task-dependent. Consistent with prior dispositional studies, the presence of a strong self-serving effect for attributional response and the absence of the bipolar attributional dimensions advocated by Weiner (1979) were confirmed. A unique finding was the altruism displayed by students in assessing the influence of significant others (teacher, family) on their success and failure experiences; that is, students gave credit to others for their successes, but refused to blame them for failures. The findings suggest that attributional response could not be generalized across subject areas or across specific tasks within some subject areas--most notably General Music and Physical Education. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (72nd, Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).