11 SES 10 A, Teaching Strategies and Learning Quality
Causal attributions are considered to be powerful prerequisites for children’s learning development. Besides, causal attributions can be defined as subjective explanations for successes and failures in achievement contexts. The distinction between internal and external causal attributions is fundamental in attribution theories (e.g., Weiner, 1986). Internal causal attributions include explanations that depend on individuals’ self performed efforts or own talents and abilities. In contrast, external causal attributions describe reasons for successes or failures which are independent of the individual itself, for example, the level of task difficulty or the state of being lucky or unlucky. Furthermore, there is also a difference between stable and variable causal explanations. In detail, stable factors such as talents are considered to be unchangeable. In contrast, variable factors (for example own efforts) are said to be changeable by one’s own. It seems to be beneficial for primary school students if they explain their successes with internal reasons and their failures with external causes in learning situations. Students who attribute in this way usually show more efforts and often have higher self-efficacy expectations. Self-efficacy expectations refer to their confidence about their capabilities to complete a particular task successfully (Bandura, 1997). Students with higher self-efficacy expectations may provide higher achievements in school settings (Weiner, 1986). Actually, investigations reveal high correlations between students’ causal attributions and their achievements in school (Dresel, 2004). It was recently shown that causal attributions vary in different school subjects as well as in different performance requirements (Dresel, 2004). Furthermore, causal attribution patterns can also vary across time through internal or external circumstances. In particular, teachers’ feedback in achievement settings has an influence on the development of causal attributions (Graham, 1991; Hattie & Timperley, 2007). In this context, feedback is defined as an information about children’s learning performances and their learning developments that are transmitted by their teachers. By providing feedback, one pursues the objective to minimize the discrepancies between current performances and learning goals. More precisely, feedback represents a “consequence“ of performance (Hattie & Timperley, 2007, p. 81). For instance, some empirical evidence suggests that causal attribution in achievement settings as well as self-efficacy expectations mediate the effects of feedback on students’ performance in school (Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). Due to this empirical evidence, we aim at examing whether primary school students’ causal attribution patterns can be traced back to their perceived feedback on reading processes by their teachers. In this context, we also try to determine the extent to which reading comprehension of children can be predicted by their perceived teachers’ feedback, by their causal attribution patterns as well as by their self-efficacy expectations. Besides, we assume that causal attributions as well as self-efficacy expectations mediate the effect of perceived feedback on children’s reading comprehension.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman. Buff, A. (2004). Sind selbst- und fremdbezogene Kausalüberzeugungen austauschbar? [Are self and external causal beliefs interchangeable?] Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 36(1), 10-18. Burnett, P. C. (2002). Teacher praise and feedback and students’ perceptions of the classroom environment. Educational Psychology, 22, 5-16. Dresel, M. (2004). Motivationsförderung im schulischen Kontext [Supporting motivation in school settings]. Göttingen: Hogrefe. Graham, S. (1991). A review of attribution theory in achievement context. Educational Psychology Review, 3, 5-39. Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112. Kluger, A. N. & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254-284. Lenhard, W. & Schneider, W. (2006). ELFE 1-6. Ein Leseverständnistest für Erst- bis Sechstklässler [ELFE 1-6. A reading comprehension test for first to sixth graders]. Göttingen: Hogrefe. Muthén, L. K. & Muthén, B. O. (1998-2010). Mplus (Version 6). (Computer Software). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén. Weiner, B. (1986). An attributional theory of motivation and emotion. New York: Springer.
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