This study examined developmental differences in children’s judgments of their physical competence. Two questionnaires were administered to 134 children, ranging in age from 8 to 13 years, to measure their perceptions of competence and the criteria they use to evaluate that competence. In addition, children’s actual physical competence was assessed through teacher evaluation. Univariate and multivariate analyses of the data revealed three major findings. First, the accuracy with which children judge their competence does increase with age. Second, the criteria children use to assess their competence is also age-dependent, with younger children showing greater preference for adult feedback and older children showing greater preference for peer comparison. Third, the criteria children use in competency judgments was found to be directly related to the accuracy of such judgments. The results of this study demonstrated the existence of developmental patterns with respect to children’s judgments of their physical competence.
Thelma S. Horn is with the Department of Physical Education, Health and Sport Studies, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. Maureen A. Weiss is with the Department of Physical Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.