BACKGROUND Causal attributions to academic performance are among the most important factors that influence the student's subsequent achievement behaviour. AIM The effects of student's gender and cultural experience (region) on the ratings of previously identified causal attribution factors were investigated. SAMPLE The participants were 341 high school students from the urban (N = 144) and the rural (N = 197) regions of Kenya. There were 205 male and 136 female students. METHODS Causal comparative research design was used and data collected using the Causal Attribution Scale (CAS). The Hierarchical linear model (HLM) technique was used to test the hypotheses. RESULTS There were significant gender and cultural experience variations in the mean ratings of the attribution factors. Instructional Strategy was highly rated for perceived success, and lack of Ability for perceived failure. Effort was of least importance in making attribution to either perceived success or failure. CONCLUSIONS The findings do not concur with research findings from Western and Asian countries where Effort is considered important in making attributions for either perceived success or failure. The findings, however, agree with research findings from Asian and other non-Caucasian societies where success is attributed to external factors (e.g., task difficulty) and failure to internal factors (e.g., ability). These findings have some implications for cross-cultural research in causal attribution as it relates to academic performance. While certain causal attributions studied in 'Western' and Asian cultures differ in terms of perceived success and failure, the current study indicates that other causal attributions are important and used differently by students from Kenya.