Students’ Intelligence and Causal Attributions for Academic Under-achievement among Secondary School Students in Tanzania

Suitbert Lyakurwa


This study investigated how students make attributions when explaining their academic under-achievement in secondary schools in Tanzania. A survey was conducted using an attribution scale in the Likert format and was administered to 414 students. In externalisations and internalisations, there was a statistically significant difference in mean scores for externalisations at p<.001. Also, a significant difference was found in the externalisation between high and low achievers at p<.001. Furthermore, it was also found that male students externalise more than their female counterparts, the difference being significant at p≤.05. Whereas females internalised more than males, the difference was significant at p=.001. Self-perceived ‘intelligent’ students externalised more than those less intelligent self-perceived students, their difference being statistically significant at p≤.05.  It was also found that parental occupations did not influence students’ attributions. These attributions are true human characteristics that vary from one group to another. In the case of academic under-achievement in Tanzania, educational actors have to notice this variation in order to help students with motivational problems.

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