Gender, goals and attributions : a study of form two and form five students : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Science at Massey University
Gender differences for causal attributions were investigated in an interview, employing a methodology which allowed for the subjective construction of the situation by the student. The questions addressed students' own school work in science and reading. The interviews were conducted with 51 form two students (28 females and 23 males) and 57 form two students (28 females and 29 males). Predictions regarding differences between males and females were made in terms of goals in learning, causal attributions, and the relationship between goals of learning and attributions. Other variables addressed included students' self-perceptions for performance, views on the function of schools and why people go to school, and their perceptions of the gender-specificity of science and reading, as school subjects. Overall, there were no consistent significant differences in the responses given by males and females. Form two and form five students differed in the frequency with which they described particular activities as successes and failures. The discussion of the findings addressed their implications for findings from previous studies that have used rating scales, the proposed role of attributions in mediating gender differences and the implications for future research in the area.