NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ829081
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-0256-2928
Attributional (Explanatory) Thinking about Failure in New Achievement Settings
Perry, Raymond P.; Stupnisky, Robert H.; Daniels, Lia M.; Haynes, Tara L.
European Journal of Psychology of Education, v23 n4 p459-475 Dec 2008
Attributional (explanatory) thinking involves the appraisal of factors that contribute to performance and is instrumental to motivation and goal striving. Little is understood, however, concerning attributional thinking when multiple causes are involved in the transition to new achievement settings. Our study examined such complex attributional thinking in the transition from high school to university, a shift from familiar to novel learning environments, in the context of Weiner's attribution theory (1972, 1985, 1995, 2006). At the start of the academic year, students rated the extent to which each of six common attributions contributed to poor performance to ascertain their relative importance to each other. A fixed order of attributions was reported as contributing to poor performance that was identical across five independent cohorts of first-year students (effort, test difficulty, strategy, professor quality, ability, luck, respectively). Cluster analysis revealed that students differed in combining these attributions into clusters suggesting diminished or enhanced control over poor performance. These differences in attribution clusters were associated with cognitive and affective outcomes at the start of Term 1, and with course grades and GPA at the end of Term 2. Student differences in complex attributional thinking are discussed in terms of transitions to new achievement settings. (Contains 1 figure and 4 tables.)
Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada. Rua Jardim do Tabaco, 34, Lisboa 1149-041, Portugal. Tel: +351-21-881-1700; Fax: +351-21-886-0954; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada