This study examined the relationship of students’ goal orientation to their beliefs about what leads to success in physical education and perceptions of the purposes of physical education. High school students (N = 144,78 females and 66 males) completed a modified version of the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire and measures of beliefs and perceived purposes specific to physical education class. Results indicated that students high in task orientation were significantly more likely to believe that success is achieved through intrinsic interest/effort/cooperation than were those low in task orientation. High ego-oriented students believed that success is achieved when students possess high ability more so than low ego-oriented students. The high task/low ego students were most likely to reject the notion that success in physical education occurs when students know how to use deceptive tactics and were less likely to perceive that an important function of physical education is to provide an easy class.
Mary D. Walling is with the Department of Human Movement Sciences and Education at the University of Memphis, Field House 312, Memphis, TN 38152. Joan L. Duda is with the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Leisure Studies at Purdue University, Lambert 113, West Lafayette, IN 47907.