Elementary school student beliefs about the causes of success and failure in music instruction

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Music Education

First Advisor's Name

Carolyn J. Fulton

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Roby George

Third Advisor's Name

David Lazerson

Date of Defense



The purpose of this research was to survey elementary school students and find out to which causes they attribute their success or failure in music. Three hundred and ninety-eight students from local schools were chosen at random to answer survey questions placed in the causal categories of Ability, Luck, Effort and Task-Difficulty. This technique is derived from the Attribution Theory; Weiner (1974). These categories were separated into four sub-categories: ability (internal-stable), effort (internal-unstable), task-difficulty (external-stable) and luck (external-unstable). The results show minimal differences amongst the younger students. The scores also show that the intermediate students chose luck and task difficulty as less important than ability and effort, and the stable attributions more important than the unstable attributions. The grade level scores exposed no differences in "ability and luck", and the sex category revealed no differences in "ability, luck and task-difficulty". Females, however, stated that "effort" is more important than the males did.



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