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Few studies have examined students’ liking for physical education activities and factors that influence students’ evaluations despite the importance these have for continued engagement in physical activity. This study examined 16,032 ratings of “liking” of 648 physical education lessons reported by students in eight coeducational fourth- and fifth-grade classes during an 8-month period. Mean ratings on activity units ranged from 3.15 to 3.62 on a 4-point scale, indicating that the children liked the activities. However, they liked some units more than others (p < .001), and they preferred skill-related over health-related activities (p < .001). Day of week (p < .53), child’s grade (p < .69), and school (p < .56) were not associated with the children’s liking scores. Ratings of activities did not change significantly as students gained more experience with a specific instructional unit. Future research is recommended on how students’ needs and preferences relate to developing positive attitudes toward physical activities.
The authors are at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182.T.L. McKenzie is with the Department of Physical Education; John E. Alcaraz is with the School of Public Health; and James F. Sallis is with the Department of Psychology.