Achievement attributions of preparatory class learners in learning English

Turan Paker, Alev Özkardeş-Döğüş


The aim of the study was to find out the achievement attributions of preparatory class learners studying at pre-intermediate and intermediate level for their perceived success or failure, and to investigate whether there was a significant relationship between achievement attributions of learners, their gender and level of language proficiency. The data were gathered through a questionnaire and a follow up interview with the participants. First of all, the questionnaire was administered to 223 participants, university English preparatory students. Then, 50 of the participants were interviewed to gain more insight about the perceptions of the participants. The quantitative data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics and independent sample t-tests, and the qualitative data were analyzed by means of content analysis. The results revealed that successful learners ascribed “having a successful teacher” as the most important attribution. In addition, internal and controllable causes such as “having self-confidence”, “enjoying learning English” and “being interested in English” were the three outstanding attributions of successful learners. On the other hand, unsuccessful learners attributed their failure most to “lack of enough vocabulary” as well as to external, stable and uncontrollable factors such as “difficulty of exams”, “short education term to learn English”, and “lack of background education” at reasonably high level.  In terms of gender, while females attributed success to studying English adequately, listening to the teacher carefully, reading books more than male learners, and getting help from others (friends, instructors, other sources) if necessary more than male learners,  male learners found learning English easier than female ones. In terms of proficiency level, the learners of intermediate level were more likely to view learning English as an easy task. In addition, the learners of pre-intermediate level seemed to depend more on their instructors.



Achievement attributions, attribution theory, preparatory classes, ELT

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