Success in Writing and Attributions of 16-Year-Old French-Speaking Students in Minority and Majority Environments


  • Yamina Bouchamma
  • Claire Lapointe



This article examines causal attributions of writing performance made by 16-year-old French-speaking Canadian students (N=3,874). The students are from the French-speaking majority province (Quebec) and minority provinces in Canada (Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). The data came from the School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP) Writing Assessment III (Council of Ministers of Education, 2002). A total of 15 variables are related to causal attributions of failure and success in writing. The interaction between these variables and the type of environment (i.e., minority vs. majority French environments) indicated that French-speaking students in a minority environment did not perform as well as those from a majority linguistic environment because they did not study hard enough, the teacher marked too severely, they had bad luck, and the course was not well taught. When they were successful, it was because they studied hard at home and attributed their good marks to working hard enough, the teacher being lenient marking, and having good luck. The majority group attributed their good marks to the ease of the course and their bad marks to its difficulty.