Attribution tendency and its relationship with actual and perceived proficiency

Setsuko Mori, Siew Ming Thang, Nor Fariza Mohd Nor, Vijaya Latshmi Suppiah, Oon Sok Imm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Attribution theory suggests that people attribute different causes for those areas in their lives where they perceive themselves as having succeeded or failed. These perceived causes may be classified into three causal dimensions: locus of control, stability, and controllability. Using attribution theory, this study examines Malaysian university students' attributions for success and failure in learning English as a second language. The study attempts to investigate their perceived reasons for successes and failures on actual language learning tasks, and explores whether their attribution tendencies vary depending on their actual and perceived proficiency. Based on attribution theory, two versions of a questionnaire (one for success and one for failure) were administered to 2152 students at six different universities in Malaysia. Students were required to pick an activity at which they had scored particularly poorly in the previous semester. In the second part of the questionnaire, the students were asked to rate the twelve causes for success or failure on a six point Likert scale. The findings showed that high proficiency learners and those who perceived themselves as high proficiency learners attributed success to their own effort and ability more than mid and low proficiency learners. On the other hand, when it comes to failure experiences, high proficiency learners and those who regarded themselves as having high proficiency showed a stronger tendency to ascribe their unsuccessfuloutcomes to class and interest-related factors such as class atmosphere and interest in the task whereas those with lower proficiency tended to blame their failure on the lack of their own effort and ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-218
Number of pages20
JournalGEMA Online Journal of Language Studies
Volume11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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attribution
attribution theory
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Attribution
Proficiency
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Causes
Attribution Theory

Keywords

  • Actual proficiency
  • English as a second language
  • Malaysian university students
  • Perceived proficiency
  • Success and failure attributions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Attribution tendency and its relationship with actual and perceived proficiency. / Mori, Setsuko; Thang, Siew Ming; Mohd Nor, Nor Fariza; Suppiah, Vijaya Latshmi; Imm, Oon Sok.

In: GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2011, p. 199-218.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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