Repeat level preparatory school students’ causal dimensionality and their causal attributions to perceived success and failure

Bıçak, Sevinç
This study investigates the causal dimensionality patterns and causal attributions of repeat level students at a preparatory school of a state university to their perceived success or failure. The study employed a mixed methods sequential explanatory design, and was conducted in two phases: a quantitative phase, followed by a qualitative phase. The quantitative data regarding the students’ causal dimensionality and specific causal attributions to success or failure were collected through CDS II and LAAS from 254 students, respectively. The detailed and in-depth qualitative data were gathered via semi-structured interviews with 24 students and 8 teachers. The quantitative data were analyzed through SPSS (20.0) while the qualitative data were analyzed through content analysis by using ATLAS.ti 7 software. The findings revealed that a big majority of the students considered themselves unsuccessful both in English Proficiency Exam (EPE) and in learning English, irrespective of gender or type of high school they graduated from, and that they tended to attribute their success or failure mostly to external and personally-uncontrollable causes, indicating a maladaptive attributional style. Both maladaptive and adaptive students ascribed their failure to school-related causes most, followed by exam-specific causes, task difficulty, and family and social life-related causes in the external category, while they referred to psychological and mental causes, lack of effort and strategy, little motivation or interest, lack of knowledge, attendance and health problems, age factor and lack of ability in the internal group. Teachers came up with similar causes to those from their students. Implications and suggestions were provided for the given results.