AWEJ Volume.4 Number.1, 2013                                                                                    pp.  256-268


Self-serving Bias in Moroccan EFL University Teachers’ Attributions
of Their students’ Success and Failure

Abdelaziz Zohri
Doctorant à l’University Mohammed V
Faculté des sciences de l’education
Rabat, Morocco.

Badia Zerhouni
University Mohammed V
Faculté des sciences de l’education
Rabat, Morocco.

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A heated debate has been going on recently on the universality of self-serving bias in causal attributions. One of the main reasons behind this debate is the scarcity of studies on self-serving bias in non-Western cultures. Previous studies in the Western world have provided evidence for self-serving bias in teachers’ and students’ explanations of learners’ achievement outcomes. However, emerging evidence from the East, especially from Japan, show that Western claims about the theory may not be universal. This study investigated the effect of self-serving bias on North African university teachers’ attributions and explanations of their students’ success and failure. A causal attribution scale for teachers (CAST) was distributed to 40 Moroccan EFL  teachers to rank 26 attributions of success and failure. Using locus of control as an independent variable, the independent sample t-tests showed that Moroccan EFL teachers display self-serving bias only on causal attributions of success. Reversed bias was made for failure perceptions. Interesting implications are drawn for both research and classroom practice.
KeywordsSelf-serving Bias, causal attributions, University teachers, EFL


Abdelaziz Zohri is an EFL teacher and researcher in Morocco. He is currently doing doctoral
studies in the college of Education in Rabat. He holds a master degree in education since 2002.
He is interested in research in applied linguistics, educational psychology and professional
development. Abdelaziz Zohri is an active participant in debates on education in Morocco and
has intervened in many conferences on Education.

Badia Zerhouni is associate professor of Applied Linguistics/TEFL at the Faculty of Education
Mohammed V-Souissi University-Morocco where she teaches in BA English Studies and MA
Applied linguistics/TEFL programs. She supervises BA research projects and MA theses, and is
a member of the Doctoral Center where she supervises doctoral research in different subjects
related to AL/TEFL. Her research interests include reading, writing, and vocabulary acquisition
in EFL contexts as well as the issue of academic failure.