The central aim of standardized exit exams is to motivate students and teachers to work harder on critical subject matters and thus increase student achievement. However, the effects of the implementation of central exams on student motivation have not been analyzed in a longitudinal section until now. In the present study, the consequences of implementing central exams in the German states Bremen and Hesse on student attributions after the exams have been analyzed. We expected an increase in attributions to effort, teaching and luck, caused by the change in examination systems in Bremen advanced courses from 2007 to 2008.
Differential results were expected for students perceiving themselves successful or not successful respectively. As a control, advanced courses in Bremen were compared to those in Hesse that did not pass through a change in examination systems at this time. The results point to an increase of attributions to effort and teaching in the total group, but none of attributions to luck. Additionally, as hypothesized, the change in attributions to effort occurred only for perceived successful and a change in attribution to teaching was found mainly for perceived unsuccessful students. The outcomes are interpreted and consequences for further studies are formulated.