Expectancy beliefs and task values are two essential motivators in physical education. This study was designed to identify the relation between the expectancy-value constructs (Eccles & Wigfield, 1995) and high school students’ physical activity behavior as associated with their energy balance knowledge. High school students (N = 195) in two healthful-living programs (i.e., combination of physical and health education) responded to measures of expectancy-value motivation, energy balance knowledge, in-class physical activity, and after-school physical activity. The structural equation modeling confirmed positive impact from expectancy beliefs and interest value to in-class physical activity (Path coefficient range from .19 to .26, ps < .01). Cost perception was found exerting a negative impact on after-school physical activity but a positive one on lower level of understanding of energy balance (Path coefficient range from -.33 to -.39, ps < .01). The findings painted a complex but meaningful picture about the motivational impact of expectancy-value constructs on physical activity and energy balance knowledge. School healthful-living programs should create motivational environments that strengthen students’ expectancy beliefs and interest value and alleviate their negative perceptions and experiences.
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Yang Liu and Senlin Chen
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to capture students’ essential knowledge and behaviors concerning active living. Methods: Students (N = 1,079) from elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States reported their knowledge of physical activity and fitness (PAF knowledge), and physical activity and sedentary behavior using grade-specific PE Metrics tests and Youth Activity Profile, respectively. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to address the research purposes. Results: The total PAF knowledge scores and scores in subareas varied by gender and school level. A declining trend for physical activity and an increasing trend for sedentary behavior were observed. PAF knowledge positively predicted physical activity in elementary school boys and middle school girls and negatively predicted sedentary behavior in middle school students and high school boys. Certain PAF knowledge subareas (e.g., elementary school PD#3: knowledge about the characteristics of health-enhancing physical activity; middle school PD#1: knowledge of physical activity participation as part of a healthful lifestyle; high school PD#4: monitoring and adjusting physical activity to meet fitness needs) also significantly predicted behaviors. Conclusion: The findings may guide teachers’ curricular and instructional actions to enhance students’ PAF knowledge through physical education.
Yang Liu, Senlin Chen, and Xiangli Gu
Purpose: The study purpose was to examine performance differences in physical education among learners from two middle schools from two different states. Methods: Performance in physical education was represented by attitude toward physical education, knowledge of physical activity and fitness, and active living behaviors (i.e., physical activity and sedentary behavior). The sixth, seventh, and eighth graders of a midwestern state school (n = 397) and a deep southern state school (n = 350) completed the surveys (N = 747). Results: The authors observed statistically significant school differences in physical activity and fitness knowledge and physical activity behavior (favoring the deep southern state school), and in attitude and sedentary behavior (favoring the midwestern state school). The authors also found stronger associations between attitude and physical activity (but weaker associations between attitude and sedentary behavior) among the deep southern state school students than the midwestern state school students. Conclusion: These observed performance differences and their pedagogical ramifications are discussed in relation to sociodemographic and environmental factors.
Xihe Zhu, Senlin Chen, and James Parrott
This study examined adolescents’ interest in aerobic fitness testing and its relation to the test performances. Adolescents (N = 356) from three middle schools participated in the study. The participants took two aerobic fitness tests: the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) and One-Mile Run (1MR) with a two-day interval, and completed two interest scales immediately after each test. Test performances, interest, and body mass index data were collected. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis of variance/covariance, and hierarchical regression analyses. Student situational and personal interests were low-to-moderate overall in both aerobic fitness tests. Boys reported significantly higher situational interest than girls, but there was no gender difference in personal interest. Personal interest was a significant predictor for PACER (b=.27) and 1MR (b=-.37). The predictability of situational interest to testing performances varied between PACER and 1MR. PACER and 1MR might have rendered distinct motivational stimuli that led to the varied predicting power of situational interest.
Senlin Chen, Yang Liu, and Jodee Schaben
The purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA)/fitness knowledge and its association with PA and sedentary behavior in youth.
Eighth grade students from five schools (N = 660) in a midwestern state completed a PE Metrics written test and the Youth Activity Profile to assess PA/fitness knowledge, PA (at school and after school) and sedentary behavior, respectively.
Participants were clustered into high, medium, and low knowledge groups. Students in the high knowledge group reported higher level of PA after school (p < .05, d = .28) but lower level of sedentary behavior than the low knowledge group (p = .001, d = -.45). The low knowledge group also reported higher PA at school (p < .05, d = .25). PA/Fitness knowledge significantly predicted sedentary behavior, particularly in the low knowledge group (β = -.32, t = -2.46, p < .05, R 2 = .105), after controlling for gender and race/ethnicity.
Physical education focused on conveying PA/fitness knowledge is warranted to educate youth to move more and sit less.
Xiangli Gu, Senlin Chen, and Xiaoxia Zhang
Purpose: Developing physically literate individuals is a major goal of school physical education. To date, no research in the United States has examined physical literacy by simultaneously measuring multiple dimensions among young children. The purpose of this study was to examine students’ current status of physical literacy in third grade. Method: Students (N = 342) from four elementary schools in Texas participated in the study. Dimensions of physical literacy including fundamental motor skills, health-related physical fitness, physical activity, and fitness knowledge were measured using the PE Metrics™, FitnessGram, accelerometers, and a written test, respectively. Results: The students showed varying levels of competencies across the physical literacy dimensions. Based on the results from multivariate analyses of variance, physical literacy as the single overarching factor was statistically associated with gender, Wilks’s λ = .90, F(5, 316) = 6.82, p < .01, weight status, Wilks’s λ = .81, F(5, 316) = 14.43, p < .01, and ethnicity, Wilks’s λ = .96, F(5, 316) = 2.47, p < .05. Subsequent univariate analyses showed that girls had higher cardiorespiratory endurance but lower physical activity than boys; students with healthy body weight had higher cardiorespiratory endurance and fundamental motor skills than those with unhealthy weight; and Hispanic children displayed higher muscular fitness than non-Hispanic children. Conclusion: The physical literacy discrepancies by gender, weight status, and ethnicity identified in this study are useful for physical educators to promote physical literacy in various student groups.
Senlin Chen, Yang Liu, Jared Androzzi, Baofu Wang, and Xiangli Gu
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the limited efficacy of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-based fitness education unit in middle school physical education (PE). Method: The study took place in six PE classes at one middle school located in the southern United States. The authors conveniently assigned the classes to treatment (n = 3 classes; 113 students) or control (n = 3 classes; 119 students) groups. Two trained PE specialists implemented the HIIT lessons two to three times per week for 8 weeks. The authors collected mixed methods data at the student, class, and teacher levels for the evaluation. Results: The focus group teacher interview with the teachers, field observations, and accelerometer-determined in-class physical activity data revealed sound implementation fidelity. The HIIT-based fitness education condition also showed greater improvement in physical activity and fitness knowledge and attenuated decline in curl-up scores compared with the control. Conclusion: The findings support the limited efficacy of implementing HIIT for fitness education in middle school PE programs.
Peter A. Hastie, Senlin Chen, and Anthony J. Guarino
The purpose of this study was to examine the process and outcome of an intervention using the project-based learning (PBL) model to increase students’ health-related fitness (HRF) knowledge.
The participants were 185 fifth-grade students from three schools in Alabama (PBL group: n = 109; control group: n = 76). HRF knowledge was measured using a valid written test.
Using a two-level Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM) where students were nested within teachers’ classrooms, the results show that controlling for “Class” there was a statistically significant difference between the two group conditions with the PBL cohort scoring 18.85% greater than the control schools at posttest.
The findings have shown supportive evidence as to the efficacy of a PBL-themed fitness education unit.
Stacy Imagbe, Baofu Wang, Yang Liu, Jared Androzzi, Xiangli Gu, and Senlin Chen
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the potential racial disparities in education for active living (i.e., regular participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity with mitigated and interrupted levels of sedentary behavior) between Black/African American and White students. Methods: The study took place in one public middle school located in the Southeastern region of the United States. A total of 167 Black and 168 White students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades completed a written test and a survey in physical education to assess active living knowledge and behaviors, respectively. Results: Multivariate analysis of covariance and tests of between-subjects effects showed significant race differences. Specifically, Black students scored significantly lower on the knowledge test and reported lower levels of physical activity out of school, and higher levels of sedentary behavior than White students, after controlling for grade and gender. Conclusion: The results identified racial disparities in knowledge and behaviors of active living. Tailored, culturally relevant active living education in and out of schools are needed to level the playing field for Black students.