This study examined how college-age students in beginning activity classes construct their self-perceptions of physical competence. Each class was videotaped, one class per week. During the last week of class, a perceived competence instrument was administered to the students (N = 50) and the teachers. Results indicated 50% of the students’ perceptions of their competence were congruent with the teachers’; 50% were incongruent (32% higher, 18% lower). The Revised Causal Dimension Scale, also administered at the end of the semester, indicated the predominant attribution was effort. Interviews revealed group characteristics regarding attribution for success, interpretation of feedback, and use of social comparison. Videotape analysis using the Dyadic Adaptation of CAFIAS indicated some differential treatment occurred; students whose perceptions of competence were lower than their instructor’s received more corrective feedback. It was concluded that the students interpreted themselves in the instructional context which accounted for their self-perceptions of competence; the teacher expectation effect played a role as well.
The author is with the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.