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Karen E. French and Jerry R. Thomas

This study examined the relationship of sport-specific knowledge to the development of children's skills in basketball. Two experiments were conducted. The first compared child expert and novice basketball players in two age leagues, 8-10 years and 11-12 years, on the individual components of basketball performance (control of the basketball, cognitive decisions, and motor execution) and on measures of basketball knowledge, dribbling skill, and shooting skill. Child expert players of both age groups possessed more shooting skill and more basketball knowledge. A canonical correlation analysis indicated that basketball knowledge was related to decision-making skill, whereas dribbling and shooting skill were related to the motor components of control and execution. Experiment 2 examined the changes in the individual components of performance, basketball knowledge, dribbling skill, and shooting skill from the beginning to the end of the season. Subjects improved in the cognitive decision-making and control components of performance across the course of the season, and basketball knowledge increased from the beginning to the end of the season. Only basketball knowledge was a significant predictor of the decision-making component at the end of the season. The overall results of Experiments 1 and 2 indicate that the development of the sport knowledge base plays a salient role in skilled sport performance of children.

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Sue L. McPherson and Karen E. French

This study examined changes in cognitive and motor skill aspects of tennis performance in adult novices as the result of two types of instruction. In Experiment 1, subjects received instruction in motor skills and declarative knowledge followed by the introduction and integration of tennis strategies. In Experiment 2, subjects received declarative and strategic knowledge and minimal skill instruction followed by an emphasis on refining knowledge and skill in game situations. A knowledge test, skills tests, and actual game play (control, decision, and execution components of performance) were analyzed at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Cognitive components increased concurrently with skill improvement when instruction was skill oriented. However, improvements in motor skill components did not occur in Experiment 2 until integration of skill instruction. These findings suggest that, without direct instruction, changes in cognitive components (accuracy of decisions) are more easily developed than motor components.

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Judith E. Rink, Karen E. French and Bonnie L. Tjeerdsma

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Judith E. Rink, Karen E. French and Kathy C. Graham

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Jerry R. Thomas, Karen E. French and Charlotte A. Humphries

In this paper we propose that research in motor behavior has failed to meet the obligation of studying how children learn important sport skills. In particular, understanding the specific sport knowledge base is essential to studying skilled sport behavior. To support this view we review the research in the cognitive area relative to the development of expertise. We then attempt to justify why a similar approach is useful for motor behavior researchers and why they should undertake the study of sport skill acquisition. Finally, we offer a paradigm within which sport skill research might take place.

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Tina J. Hall, Lori K. Hicklin and Karen E. French

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate teacher compliance with state mandated assessment protocols and teacher accuracy in assessing student motor skill performance.

Method:

Middle school teachers (N = 116) submitted eighth grade student motor skill performance data from 318 physical education classes to a trained monitoring committee to evaluate compliance and data accuracy.

Results:

Eighty-four percent of the data sets met the requirements for acceptance and compliance by the monitoring committee. Accurate assessment of students proved more difficult for teachers when discriminating four performance levels within a rubric (M = 67.17%, SD = 19.79) than simply discerning between competent and incompetent motor skill performance (M = 93.92%, SD = 7.42). Teachers who attended data collection training sessions and curriculum inservice training submitted more compliant and accurate student performance data.

Discussion:

Teacher training is instrumental in the successful use of testing protocols and for discriminating levels within student skill competency. Training should be a part of any district or state mandated assessment program.

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Tina J. Hall, Lori K. Hicklin and Karen E. French

Purpose:

To examine the relationship between the South Carolina middle school physical education assessment results and the school characteristics. In addition, the relationship between teacher training attendance and student achievement were determined.

Method:

Student performance on four physical education indicators in 63 middle schools (and 116 teachers) were reported to the South Carolina Physical Education Assessment Program. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationships between school characteristics as predictors of the performance indicator. ANOVAs were conducted to determine the relationship to teacher training and the performance indicators.

Results:

Statewide averages of student performance indicated that slightly over 50% of middle school students were rated as competent in all physical education indicators except health-related fitness (31.2%). The variability was high among all indicators. The correlations between the poverty index and the physical education indicators were significant and low. Teachers who attended data collection training sessions scored higher on all performance indicators, particularly health-related fitness knowledge. Teachers who attended professional development had significantly higher scores on motor skills, health-related fitness knowledge, and the overall weighted scores and approached significance on the health-related fitness performance.

Discussion/Conclusion:

This study suggests that teachers and the programs they deliver have a greater impact on student learning than do school characteristics. Teacher training and professional development is warranted. Most compelling is that the results of this study provide a strong argument against the practice of using student scores from other academic content areas to evaluate teacher effectiveness in physical education.

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Kathy C. Graham, Karen E. French and Amelia M. Woods

The ability to observe and interpret events during instruction is thought to be an important dimension of effective teachers. The purpose of this study was to compare the ability to observe and interpret teaching physical education at different stages of expertise. Ten freshman preservice students, 7 experienced junior students, and 2 teacher educators served as subjects. Each subject viewed a 15-minute videotaped lesson on basketball dribbling taught to approximately 20 third-grade students. Subjects were instructed to observe the lesson, take notes, and write a description or evaluation of what they observed during the lesson. Experienced students wrote substantially more evaluative interpretations than novice preservice students. The interpretations of the experienced preservice students were similar to the teacher educators in the focus of observation and the use of a technical language. However, teacher educators’ interpretations were more organized and were focused more on lesson occurrences that influenced students’ motor-skill performance.

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Karen E. French, Peter H. Werner, Judith E. Rink, Kevin Taylor and Kevin Hussey

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Karen E. French, Judith E. Rink, Linda Rikard, Amys Mays, Susan Lynn and Peter Werner

The purpose was to compare the effectiveness of practice progressions on learning the volleyball serve and overhead set. Ninth-grade students were randomly assigned to three groups. Each group practiced the volleyball serve and set for 60 trials over 6 days. The progression group practiced four levels of difficulty of the set and serve. The criterion group began practice at the beginning level of difficulty and had to achieve an 80% success rate before practicing at a more advanced level. The third group practiced the AAHPERD volleyball skill tests for the serve and set for all 60 trials. At the end of practice, all subjects were posttested using these AAHPERD tests. The results indicated the progression and criterion groups had higher posttest scores than the third group. Profiles of the success rates across acquisition for each group showed that students in the third group and low-skilled students in the progression and criterion groups did not improve during practice. Students with some initial skill in the progression and criterion groups exhibited high success rates for acquisition and improvement. These results indicate that sequencing practice in progressive levels of difficulty enhances retention when task difficulty is appropriate for the learner. However, no condition was effective when task difficulty was inappropriate for the learner.