A web of achieving in physical education: Goals, interest, outside-school activity and learning
01 Jan 2004-Learning and Individual Differences (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro)-Vol. 14, Iss: 3, pp 169-182
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examined the dynamics of the motivators as associated with organized outside-school physical activity experiences and learning outcomes and found that the students participating in organized outside school physical activities had a stronger ego-goal orientation and were more physically active in learning.
Abstract: Achievement goals and interests are recognized as primary motivators for learning in physical education. The study examined the dynamics of the motivators as associated with organized outside-school physical activity experiences and learning outcomes. Data of achievement goals, personal interest, learning outcomes, and outside-school experiences were gathered from students ( N = 104) randomly selected from two middle schools. The correlation analysis revealed a complex relationship among the motivators and learning outcomes. The MANOVA showed that the students participating in organized outside-school physical activities had a stronger ego-goal orientation and were more physically active in learning. Their knowledge and skill assessment outcomes did not differ from other students. The findings suggest that participation in outside-school programs may result in an active engagement, but may not lead to a paralleled learning achievement. These findings depicted a complex and dynamic web of relationships between the motivators and learning outcomes that needs to be addressed in future research.
Summary (3 min read)
Jump to: [1. Introduction] – [2.2. The research setting] – [2.3. 1. Achievement goal orientations] – [2.3.3. Physical intensity] – [2.3.4. Assessment outcome] – [2.3.5. Out-of-school participation] – [2.4. Data collection] – [2.5. Data analysis] – [3. Results] – [4. Discussion] – [4. 1. The web of motivators and outcomes] and [4.2. A reality check on out-of-school connections]
- Among the many motivators for school learners, achievement goal orientations and interests have been recognized to have unique motivation impact on learning behavior and achievement (Harackiewicz & Sansone, 2000; Sansone & Smith, 2000).
- Barron, Pintrinch, Elliot, & Thrash, 2002), the dual-goal structure has been observed repeatedly in the students’ perceptions of goals for learning (Kaplan & Middleton, 2002).
- Exploring the dynamic interactive impact of goals, interest, and out-of-school experiences on learning in physical education will allow us to gain additional understanding about learner motivation and the functions of different motivators.
- Students (N= 104) were randomly selected from two middle schools in the Washington–Baltimore metropolitan area.
2.2. The research setting
- The schools were selected randomly from a pool that met the following two criteria: (a) the curriculum was in line with both national and state standards and (b) student learning was assessed using measurable means (skill and knowledge tests) in each content unit.
- Among the school districts in the Washington–Baltimore metropolitan area, one was identified as having physical education programs most likely to meet the criteria, given its long-time tradition of emphasizing concept-based physical education from kindergarten to eighth grade.
- Student grading was required to be based on the assessment of skill and knowledge acquisition.
- Thus, the primary responsibility of physical education teachers was to teach physical education full time in their respective schools.
- The meeting hours for these periods during a particular day varied according to the schools’.
2.3. 1. Achievement goal orientations
- The students’ achievement goal orientations were measured using the 13-item (five-point scale) task and ego orientation in sport questionnaire (TEOSQ; Duda & Nicholls, 1992).
- The task- and ego-goal dual subconstructs were validated through a factor analytical approach and were deemed valid.
- The internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach α) were .82 and .89, respectively.
- The activities included fitness exercises, individual sports, team sports, and rhythmic movement content such as dance.
- To minimize the threat to internal validity that may derive from self-interpretations of ratings of personal interest (Tobias, 1994), the authors used a protocol to limit the possible self-interpretation in the survey.
2.3.3. Physical intensity
- The students’ physical intensity in classes was measured using the Yamax Digiwalker, which recorded total steps each participant took during a lesson.
- The literature has shown acceptable validity and reliability of physical intensity measures by the device (Bassett, 2000; Tudor-Locke & Myers, 2000; Welk, Corbin, & Dale, 2000).
- In a pilot trial of the device for the study, the concurrent validity coefficients of the Digiwalker data ranged between .65 and .91, in accordance with heart rates recorded using the Polar Heart Rate Monitors.
2.3.4. Assessment outcome
- The students’ performance assessments on skill tests and written exams given by the teachers in various instructional units were used as the indicator of their assessment outcomes.
- The points were equally assigned to physical skill and knowledge tests, although the teachers usually used a predetermined weighting system to reflect their perception of importance in skill tests (e.g., serving test was weighed more than forearm pass test in volleyball).
- The authors did not impose any additional achievement assessment to preserve the authenticity of the learning assessment.
- The authors categorized all assessment scores into either skill or knowledge category.
- Scores in the two categories were then aggregated and averaged on the 20-point scale to represent learner assessment outcome.
2.3.5. Out-of-school participation
- Information on out-of-school physical activity experiences was gathered in a survey by asking the participants to indicate, with specific information (e.g., where, what, when, paid or unpaid), whether they took part in organized after-school physical activity programs.
- Organized activity programs are more likely to nurture and develop particular motivators (goal orientations, personal interest) that the study was investigating.
- Thus, the authors decided to use ―participation in organized out-of-school programs‖ as the grouping indicator for the data analysis.
- The reader should take this grouping limitation into account when interpreting the findings.
2.4. Data collection
- The participants’ responses to the TEOSQ, personal interest, out-of-school activity participation, and other demographic information were collected in two prior-to-class sessions in a quiet classroom adjacent to the gymnasium.
- Physical intensity data were collected in two randomly selected instructional lessons (not introduction or assessment lessons) in each of the following content units: dancing, fencing, fitness club, gymnastics, multigames, and volleyball.
- During these lessons, each participant wore a Yamax Digiwalker to measure the number of steps that he/she took.
- Skill test and written exam grades were collected from the teachers after the instruction, for a unit was officially complete.
- All data collection was conducted by the researchers.
2.5. Data analysis
- Goal orientation data were reduced according to the construct subscales (Duda & Nicholls, 1992).
- Out-ofschool physical activity data were reduced into participation and nonparticipation.
- Personal interest data were reduced using principal component analysis.
- Skill and written test grades were aggregated and averaged to represent assessment outcomes in these content units.
- The association between goal orientations, interest, physical intensity, and achievement was examined using the Pearson Product–Moment.
- As reported in Table 1, the principal component analysis reduced the participants’ personal interests into a fourcategory structure.
- The results of the Pearson Product–Moment Correlation Analysis are reported in Table 2.
- In addition to task orientation, physical intensity correlated with contact sport, alternate games, and other.
- In the MANOVA, in after-school physical activity was used as the factor, and the measures of goals, interest, physical intensity, and assessment outcome were the dependent variables.
- Further comparisons, reported in Table 4, revealed that the participant students had stronger ego orientation,.
- The study was designed to investigate the extent to which goal orientations, personal interest, and measurable learning outcomes (a) were dynamically associated and (b) differed in terms of learners’ out-of-school physical activity participation experiences.
- Based on the analyzed data, the authors attempt to address the research questions in (a) a web of motivators and learning outcome and (b) a reality check on out-of-school connections.
4. 1. The web of motivators and outcomes
- The correlation analysis showed a weak relationship between goal orientations and learning outcomes.
- Their purposes of action may determine the dynamics of behavior.
- According to Butler (2000), when in an information-seeking context such as learning, students are most likely to engage in actions that may result in acquiring information relevant to the motivators that they adapt to.
- In other words, learners are likely to strive to achieve to either satisfy their superior ability (ego orientation), to demonstrate their mastery of the skill (task orientation), or to fulfill their personal interest.
- The authors argue, consequently, that learners’ motivated actions in physical education lessons may not necessarily result in learning achievement that meets the curriculum goals or standards.
4.2. A reality check on out-of-school connections
- The MANOVA results indicated that participation in organized out-of-school physical activity programs led to a stronger ego-goal orientation and to higher interest in contact sports (including other activities) and physical intensity in physical education lessons.
- As Windchill (2002) summarized, for instance, learner alternative conceptions (or misconceptions) acquired from out-ofschool sources can be difficult for the teacher to adapt to, manage, and deal with in teaching, where most learner alternative conceptions are found inconsistent with the specified learning standards of the curriculum.
- Participant and nonparticipant students did not differ in assessment outcome measures (F= 1.16, P=.28), and yet, the participant students demonstrated a higher in-class physical intensity level (F = 5.21, P=.03).
- Further studying the impact of out-of-school physical activity programs on learning in physical education appears to be imperative from an achievement motivation perspective, too.
- The actual motivation effects of the motivators may rely on the learner, the learning environment, and expected learning outcome.
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