Students’ Attributions to Success and Failure in Learning English as a Second Language

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Dr. Samina Safdar, Sumera Rashid, Dr. Nabeel Ahmed


The present study was designed to investigate the students’ attributions to their success and failure
in English language acquisition as a second language. The study also focused to identify the
differences in attributional patterns demonstrated by students in success and failure situations. The
descriptive research design was used for the study. The population of the study consisted of all
students enrolled at the graduate level in the public sector colleges of the Lahore district. The
sample included 1358 students (1030 females & 328 males) studying in public sector colleges of
Lahore district. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to frame a representative sample for the
study. Two questionnaires on Attribution to Success Questionnaire (ASQ), and Attribution to
Failure Questionnaire (AFQ) developed by Thang et al, (2011) were used to collect the data from
the sample. Researchers revealed that the majority of students picked up activities from reading
skills in which they experienced success. On the other hand, students selected an activity from
reading and speaking skills in which they faced failure. Moreover, the findings of the study
uncovered that in the success situation, students attributed their interest in getting a good grade,
effort and the teacher’s influence as the most important factors for their performance, whereas
students in the failure situation ascribed their performance to their inability and task difficulty.
Based on the study's findings, it is recommended that institution heads and teachers can play a
significant role in modifying students' attitudes so they can understand that exerting more effort
can increase the likelihood of success rather than blaming their inability and the task difficulty as
the main reasons for their failure in English language acquisition. 

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