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The Survey of Achievement Responsibility (SOAR): Reliability and Validity Data on an Academic Attribution Scale David B. Ryckman , Percy D. Peckham , Donald T. Mizokawa & Donald G. Sprague Published online: 22 Jun 2011.

To cite this article: David B. Ryckman , Percy D. Peckham , Donald T. Mizokawa & Donald G. Sprague (1990) The Survey of Achievement Responsibility (SOAR): Reliability and Validity Data on an Academic Attribution Scale, Journal of Personality Assessment, 54:1-2, 265-275 To link to this article:

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The Survey of Achievement ~ e s ~ o n s i b i l i(SOAR): ti Reliability andpValiditv Data on an Academic David B, Ryckman, Percy D. Peckham, Donald T. hGzbkawa, and Donald G . Sprague Li;viives~@ of h7~shingtoi; College ~fEdzimflo71

T h e S n r ~ e vci Ac'hie\?erne~:tlies?cnhli:) :SOAR', was designed to assess srader,::' causal a r t r h m o n s oi:xcess and faiisre in schmi-reiateci situations. Unlike *. ocher measures c! iocus of control and a:rribu:ions, the 93AR sixc!tanemsjv disringuishes arnong three broad scSjecr a r e a s - r a h k i e n r e , ianguage arts: social studies, and phvsicai educat~on-end berween :wo possibie nurccmessuxess

and failure. Data on chc prvc!m:netric

i-haractrr~sticiu l the SDAR c s m e

from rn.3 samples hex each of :wc Ixge sc:'Iooi dis::icts! onc sukxrbar: e : ~ dm e rrrerropali:ar.. A frve-stage s d c o: :he pychometric +ai:'c:es of this new i n s t r t i revealed: ( a j Content validicy is high-luciges :nde?enden:!r classified irernz mto tb.c a:tril?u:ion categories m e n d e d b r the authors: ;Sjinrer-ai consistent-; reiiabiiities are ir: a range adequate for g r o u ~research purposes and are c o n p a rai-le t c the reiiahiiitie:: of other measures of at.triSations; ;L! tesr-reces: reiiaSiiitiec >hewed artrxbuticn prcfiies to be s:abie o1.e: a 2-rnonrj i n r e n d ; :& ;o:reiati~x Scrween the 3 A E scales and s:udents' self-reports c i ab:ixv ix l7arioss suhject areas sho-xed diffeierentiai relationship$ in theoretka:lly predicre.J 2irec:lc.n~: and ie'i correixions Serweer. :he SOAR scaies and achievement :es:s were sta:isticaliy . slgxficanc, t h o ~ ~ glaw k 1 2 za.gni:~de, consistent w t n rerortr on other izstraa e n t s . Finaiiv, use of the SGAR irk z spectrurr. o i s:udies has dernonsrrated its research d i : r and indicated directions for h r r h e r instrument de\reiornen: and researcn. men:


A s s e s s n e ~ rrechniques in the research on attribution> m a> Lmcus of contrcd have had wideIv divergent r;lar?ifestatiims. 3 n e dimensian of variation is t i h some measurement devices are individuai!y administered (e.g., the :c:erviews ccrn-

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ducted by Littie, !9t3jt and the Lefcosrt, Reid: & Ware interviews cited in Lefcourt, 1982) an5 others require group administration le.g., Elder, 196'1; Nowicki & Srrickiand, '19'13: Kotter, 1966)' Some req-sire physical maniputatior: ofobjects, such as the techcique used by Fiess, Chang, and McDevitt (1987)that required students to apportion an allotment of chips to attributionsl categories or the anagram tasks of McMahan (l37Pj. Others use convectionzi paperan&-pencil methods (e.g., Crzndaii, Katkcwsky! &. Crandall, i965;Lekourr, 1961). Despite this wide variety in operational definitions?research results have beer: consistent enmgh to suppor theoretical models of attribution such as Weiner's (1976, 1985). OverXooked in the explorations of this theoretical domain, however, has been an attempt to distinguish between attributions a stusent night norma:lly make in one conrenr or subject-matter domain and others. The general view theorists might have of one's attributions of causes of success and faiiure t c task, iuck, effort or abiiity migh: obscure any specific views thar may be unique to one domain oi academic: endeavor but not to others. SOAR @yckmar, & Raiic, 1983)probes a respondent5 attributional distinctions among different schooisubject areas. The series oi studies described h e r e i ~was canducred to prcvide re2iabili:y and validity estimates far this new instrument. The artr:butional model proposed and developed by Weher (1976) was the basis for the structure of the SOAR, a group-administered, multiple-chck qlaestionnaire. Weiner suggested z number o i ways that the four attribu::lons mighr be examined. E e noted two major bipolar dimensions: locus of causalitil and stabilitv, In the first dimension, the atrrtbution oi cmsaiiry to either ability or effort is considered to have an internal locles, whereas luck or cask easel diffiiicuity attributions are be externally iocalized. With the second dimension, attribstions re abiiiry and task easeidifficdty comprise the stable componecrs, whereas luck 2nd effort zre unstabie. Wemer (i985: later added the 9 1 dimension of controlability, denoted, for examplet by one's exertion of VarlaDle degrees of effort ira accomplishing a task. -, ~ a c item h on the SOAR describes a school-related sitiaatior: for which the respondent must choose ene o! dour possible causal attribations ieading to the described situation: ability, effort, luck, and :a& ease/'diffificulty. The choice made represents rhe respondent's besr explanation for the success or faiiure outcome presented in the k e n . The order of presentation of the four attributionai choices was randomized bv item. The SOAR inwires about a studenr's causal arcributicns in three braad school-achiex~ementcategories: (a! math/science, &) iangi~ageartdsocizl studies (LA/SS:, and (c) physical education. The mathi'science and kA:/SS categories are assessed by 15 items apiece, and the physicai edacarion category by 8 item replications. The total number of items, therefore, is 40. Furthermore, the Items in each content categorv are equa!iy divided betweer, those descrrbmg success is an academlc actrvity and those describing hilure,

-. with each success item xirrored b y a pardie] failure item. h e o:waIl seqsence . . . . of che +C irems was :ieter:riine;! by a ~ 2 b kof r a n d o n numbers, a;:n the res:r:ction rkat the first a r s iast items of the ins:ru?nent wasid przsen: srder-rt: with success situationsl n o natre: what rhe subjecr xarrer. and :he California Achievenent Tesr (CAT] n a t : ~ n dpercenrile ranks far xxal reading, imguage, and math were correiated. (See Table 5 for 2 s~rnmary.)Gor:elations berween an a t r r i b u t i o d szbscaie and measllreci achievenen: in the s2:ne comeat area shonid be higher chzn between the szbscale and another c o x e n t arer. T i e szme procedure was nsed fcr generaring these mean cnrreiations as had been used for t h e a h i i q a n d grade escimarrs. X..c obtain& carreiacior, coefficienrs ranged from E n:r,imum of .03 to a maxirnux of .24.5fore :has Mi t5S?;6) of the correiations were signifkan: beyond :he .i?llevei. DISCUSSION . .The content vaiidiry enai~rsisshowed a h~gi.,ievei of agreemen: among :he ;; judges and beween us and the j d g e s or: :he rntendeii 2ctriS~tior: ci eack





.(I -

.- ..

. 1 .':.

L a n p a g e .4rts#Sociai Studies

. .., -.'




.I. .G.

Phrsicai Edunarior:

,, .-.--

...., .






. . "i2Ssoiure values arc reporteci beca.~se :he sign of :he ~~e5ific;en:svz:ie-: 5 v suhsiait an2

TABLE 5 Mean Correlations Between the SOAR Subject Area Scales and Californra Achievement l e s t Nations! Percentile Ranks In Reading, Language, and Math

SG.4R Subject Awi Scaies

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MathScience Language i\rtsi'Socd Studies

CalifoinmioAckievement Test Subscaie Reading



.I1 "13


.i 0 , ,. ,



respcnse. Given the large number of disagreements among 17 persons over 160 statemenrs, each of which couid have beer, ?!aced in one of f o x categories, the number of observed disagreements was exceedingly low. In general, the internal consistency reliebility esthetes of the SOAR scales and srebscales are satisfactory and compare favorably with reports of the reliability of other atrributionai scales (e.g., Boersma, CEaapnac, & Maguire: 197% 3radley, Stuck, Coop, 6.White, 1977; Lefcourt, 1981; hfischel, Zeiss, Sr Zeiss, 1974; Nowicki & Strickland, 1973; Powers 6.Rossxiac, 198-1; Shsvelson, IIubner, & Stanton, i976!. These reliabilities had been obtained from scaies with items chat were randomly distributed in the instrument t.o ainir;..ize the spurious corwstencies due to mindset or to pcsitional response preference. The stability of the estimares themselves car: be seert r~ the ana!yses of the three &&rent samples. Generaliy, che set of reliability estimates fur each subscale was similar across sanp'ies, demonstrating a lack of sample specificity. As can be seen in Table 5, the reiiakiiiry of the scaies is similar to other measures of attribution and is suffjcierktlg high for group research. The use of .;he instrument for individual, diagnostic purposes, hewever, IS ca~ticned. That the attributicnal characteristics of indviduais persist over time and that the SOAR effezticeiv captures those characteristics have been evinced by the

TABLE 6 Summary of ReliabPbnaties Reported for Other ktr2imtional Measlzres -r

ypr of Source



3oersme G;. Chapman (undated: Chapman, Boe~sma,6:Maguire (i479) Lefcourt (1 981) Mischel, Zeiss. & Zeis5 (1474; Nowick & Strickland 1,1973) Powe:s & Rossman jlY83i Stlpek & Weisz (1981) a-r

Primary Primarv Piimaiy Rimary Primary Prlrnary ~eview'



Ach. expectatma Aih. expectation

56-.E? .66-.90

Locus of contra1 Locus of control Locus ol control Locus of conrrol Locds of contro!.


.94-.64 .63-.81 .6fi-.75 -.i::-.84

r n e method of relijbiiity estimation varies across and ever, wi and 3%. a p e r presented ar the meeting of the Colincii of h c e 2 r i o n 2 Zhildren, New Orieans Rotter, 3. B. (1966). Genera!ized expectancies for inzernai versut, external controi of reinforcement. Ps?choiogicai M o n o p u p h , ;(W'ioie No. 609). Ryckman, 2.B. ~1396, April:. Development of atrributions !or success and ja2u;e: P, cross-sitrcationai, soss-secmna! stud?. Paper presented a: the meeting of :.he Council for Excepaonal Chiidren, New Orieans. Rvckman. D. B., M:zoicasva, D. T..& Ma:thews, K. (19%). &nibu~ional parterns across conteni. area of' specific leaxing d:rabird arlC non-leaminedisabled studenrs equarec j o ~achievement iOccasional


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The Survey of Achievement Responsibility (SOAR): reliability and validity data on an academic attribution scale.

The Survey of Achievement Responsibility (SOAR) was designed to assess students' causal attributions of success and failure in school-related situatio...
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