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Global Journal of Sex Education

Vol. 2 (3)

Full Length Research Paper

Boys’ and girls’ attribution of performance in learning english as a foreign language: The case of Adama high schools in Ethiopia

Geberew Tulu

Social Sciences and Humanities Education Program Unit, College of Education and Behavioral Studies, Addis Ababa

University, Ethiopia.

Accepted November 3rd, 2013

The main aim of the study was to examine students’ attribution of performance in learning English as a foreign language at Adama town government high schools and see into its pedagogical implications. It aimed at investigating the perceived causes of success and failure of boys and girls. In order to meet the objectives of the study, data were gathered through testing, questionnaire and interview from purposively and randomly selected 403 (193 boys and 210 girls) sample population. Mixed research method was used for the purpose of the study, and descriptive statistics, principal component analysis and T-test were employed for detailed analysis of the data. Finally, students’ perceived causes of success and failure of performance in learning English as a foreign language were identified. Using principal component analysis eight factors measuring student perceived causes of success were identified. These are: making effort, having ability, good teaching practices, task simplicity, teacher’s good behavior, teacher’s predisposition, luck or chance, and availability of instructional materials. In the same way, seven factors such as lack of effort, lack of ability, poor teaching practices, task difficulty, teacher's bad behavior, unluckiness, and bad mood measuring student perceived causes of failure were identified. Results of the study revealed that boys and girls conceptualized different attribution patterns of their performance in learning English as a foreign language. That is, girls tend to ascribe the cause of their successes more to effort and luck than boys do. On the other hand, boys cite lack of effort in explaining their failure whereas girls refer to factors such as lack of ability and unluckiness as being the causes for the failure. This attribution difference between boys and girls has got pedagogical implication in that teachers awareness of this difference can help them treat both sexes accordingly.

Key words: Attribution, success, failure, performance.