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This study investigates attributional beliefs of Singapore secondary students in their English study and how they can be predicted by self-construal, competence and achievement goals. A total of 1,496 students were administered surveys on seven attributions, independent and interdependent self-construals, previous achievement, self-efficacy, mastery approach and avoidance goals and performance approach and avoidance goals. We found that Singapore students attributed academic success mainly to internal regulation (effort, interest and study skills), followed by teachers’ help, ability, parents’ help and tuition classes. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that three predictors (self-construal, competence and achievement goals) explained 4.2–12.3% of the variances in students’ attributional beliefs. In particular, students with interdependent self-construal, high competence or mastery goals tended to attribute academic success to internal regulation (effort, interest and study skills) and support from teachers and parents. Students with low competence, high mastery avoidance goals or high performance goals were more likely to value tuition classes, and those with high performance avoidance goals also tended to ascribe academic success to ability and parent’s help. The findings are discussed in relation to the culture of Singapore.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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