AP Psychology

Mr. Sherman

Effort- The Importance of

According to research by Covington (1983) and Harter (1980), people generally attribute success at any given task to one of four causes:

· Ability

· Other People

· Luck

· Effort

Three of these four beliefs ultimately inhibit achievement. Covington's research (1983, 1985) indicates that a belief on the part of students that they do not possess the necessary ability to succeed at a task might cause them to sabotage their own success.

Belief that other people are the primary cause of success also has drawbacks, particularly when an individual finds himself or herself alone.

Belief in luck has obvious disadvantages-what if your luck runs out?

Belief in effort is clearly the most useful attribution. If you believe that effort is the most important factor in achievement, you have a motivational tool that can apply to any situation.

Not all students realize the importance of believing in effort. Although it might seem obvious to adults-particularly successful ones-that effort pays off in terms of enhanced achievement, not all students are aware of this. In fact, studies have demonstrated that some students are not aware of the fact that the effort they put into a task has a direct effect on their success relative to the task (Seligman, 1990, 1994; Urdan, Midgley, & Anderman 1998).

Think of a time when you succeeded primarily because you didn't give up.