Date of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Music



Committee Chair

Daniel Hellman


The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine how string students perceive achievement on chair testing through the lens of attribution and achievement goal motivational self-theories. A teacher survey was administered to identify the goals of chair testing in two high school and seven middle school orchestra classrooms. A student survey was used to collect data in those same classrooms on (a) the reasons why students do and do not do well on chair tests, (b) the perceived goals of chair testing and (c) the ratings of motivation and self-achievement. Qualitative techniques were used to analyze attributions within both motivational frameworks, and frequencies were used to make comparisons within the categories of those frameworks. The most frequent responses were identified as effort-related attributions at 79% and performance goal orientations at 86% within their respective categories. Additionally, 66% of teacher responses about their goals revealed a competitive motivational orientation. Based on the results, I recommend that future research on motivation distinguish between self-effort and other-effort attributional causes and provide suggestions for performance testing, ensemble seating alternatives and restructuring ensemble music curricula as a means to promote intrinsic motivation.


chair testing, orchestra, Attribution Theory, competition, Achievement Goal Theory, student perception, self-efficacy, motivation, music

Subject Categories

Cognition and Perception | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Fine Arts | Music Education | Music Performance | Other Music | Secondary Education


© Rosanna Christine Honeycutt

Open Access