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Keven A. Prusak and Paul W. Darst

This study examined the choices made by adolescent girls in physical education classes when allowed to choose from among a variety of walking activities. Following the TARGET (Epstein, 1988; Treasure & Roberts, 1999) structures, nine walking activities were created to reflect one of four themes: social, exercise/fitness, game-like, or competition. Participants were 570 girls from 21 intact 7th and 8th grade classes from five schools in two school districts. Every 3 days for 9 days, students chose from a list of three activities representing a combination of the four themes. They were significantly more likely to choose (a) a social activity over two exercise and fitness activities; (b) either a game-like or competitive activity over an exercise/fitness activity; and (c) a social activity over a game-like activity or a game-like activity over a competitive activity. Adolescent girls may benefit from activities that are designed to be social, game-like, and/or competitive.

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Keven A. Prusak, Tirza Davis, Todd R. Pennington, and Carol Wilkinson

Couched in attitude theory, this follow-up study examines children-voiced perceptions of enjoyment and usefulness toward a district mandated elementary physical education (PE) program. Attitudes of 277 5th and 6th grade males and females from four representative schools from within a district were assessed in a mixed methods study. Survey results were analyzed to examine between groups, schools (based on SES), and gender differences. Twelve males and twelve females were selected from lowest and highest survey responders for follow-up interviews. Survey results indicated a generally positive attitudes (enjoyment: M = 2.71, SD = 0.35; usefulness M =2.69, SD = 0.35) with significant enjoyment differences (F(3, 266) = 5.627, p ≤ .001) noted between schools. Qualitative results define quality PE as enjoyable and useful when it (a) provided a fun, social, learning environment and activities, (b) made an impact on healthy knowledge and behaviors, and (c) consisted of well managed classes taught by engaging teachers.

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Todd R. Pennington, Keven A. Prusak, and Carol Wilkinson

“What we have is a systemic failure —one that involves the relationship of physical education programs in public schools with teacher preparation in higher education.”(Siedentop & Locke, 1997). This assessment led Prusak, Pennington, Vincent-Graser, Beighle, and Morgan (2010) to an examination of a school district that seemed to have achieved Systemic Success in PE (SSPE). The authors sought to understand SSPE’s history from conception to institutionalization. This three-year, qualitative, follow-up study was conducted using Collins’ (2001) framework from Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t.

Making this examination from a business sector perspective provides an insightful look into the making of SSPE. Results of this study provide evidence that while social sector organizations (such as education) share much in common with business sector companies, there are distinct and fascinating differences. Collins’ (2001) framework is both confirmed and extended in this study. Findings also provide a means for PE practitioners and PETE programs to accomplish what Siedentop and Locke (1997) hoped for—to succeed together.

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Jillian Ward, Carol Wilkinson, Susan Vincent Graser, and Keven A. Prusak

This study examined the effects of increased autonomy on (a) self-determination and (b) physical activity levels. Seventh- and eighth-grade girls (N = 122) in four classes participated in two fitness units (one allowing choice of activities, the other no-choice). The order of the units was counterbalanced, so that two classes participated in the choice unit first, and the other two participated in the no-choice unit first. The abridged Situational Intrinsic Motivation Scale (SIMS) was administered after each unit. Pedometers were used to measure step counts during both units. Overall, self-determination was higher in the choice unit. The repeated measures analysis also indicated that girls who experienced the choice unit first, and then were denied the opportunity to make choices had the lowest levels of self-determination. The results provide empirical support for the theoretical prediction that increased autonomy yields higher levels of self-determination.

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Tyler G. Johnson, Keven A. Prusak, Todd Pennington, and Carol Wilkinson

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of (a) skill test type, (b) choices, and (c) gender on the situational motivation profiles of adolescents during skill testing in physical education. Participants were 507 students (53% male) aged 12–16 years (M = 13.87; SD = 0.94) attending a suburban junior high school in a western state in the U.S. All participants experienced either a norm-referenced, summative or a criterion-referenced, formative skill test with or without choices. The Situational Intrinsic Motivation Scale (SIMS) was administered to assess situational motivation. A 2 (test type) × 2 (choice) × 2 (gender) MANOVA was used to test for significant differences on each of the four SIMS indices. Significant test type and gender and a significant test type by gender interaction were found. These findings suggest practitioners should use criterion-referenced, formative skill tests especially when teaching girls in physical education.

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Keven A. Prusak, Todd Pennington, Susan Vincent Graser, Aaron Beighle, and Charles F. Morgan

Siedentop and Locke (1997) proposed three critical elements that must exist in our profession to make a difference and achieve systemic success in physical education (SSPE): (a) quality PE in the schools, (b) effective physical education teacher education (PETE) programs, and (c) a working relationship between the two. Using Cuban’s (1992) curriculum change and stability framework, this qualitative study examines the existence of a program that has achieved all three elements in the southwestern US. For over three decades some seventy-two teachers in dozens of schools have yearly served over 40,000 children. This study revealed a fully functioning model consisting of four key, interdependent components driven by a system of accountability measures. The results of the SSPE model—quality PE for children—is achieved by (a) district-wide mandated curriculum, methodologies and language, (b) well-defined district PE coordinator roles, (c) a partnership university, and (d) frequent, ongoing professional development. Results of this study strengthen Siedentop and Locke’s (1997) recommendation for collaborative efforts between universities and partner school districts and provide a model to guide and manage the curriculum change process in K-6 PE.

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Keven A. Prusak, Darren C. Treasure, Paul W. Darst, and Robert P. Pangrazi

This study examined the motivational responses of adolescent girls in the physical education setting to having choices of walking activities. Seventh and 8th grade girls (N = 1,110) in 42 intact physical education classes participated in this study. Classes were randomly assigned to choice (n = 21) and no-choice (n = 21) groups. Participants’ situational and contextual motivation was assessed using the Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS) and the Sport Motivation Scale for PE (SMSPE). The SIMS was administered every 3 days during the intervention. The SMSPE was administered as the pre- and posttest. Significant differences indicated that the choice group (a) was more intrinsically motivated, (b) had higher identified regulation, (c) experienced less external control, and (d) was less amotivated. Moderate to large effect sizes were noted. A significant difference in amotivation at the contextual level was noted. Results suggest that adolescent female PE students may be more motivated if given choices. The notion of emerging adult attitudes is presented and explored.

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Matthew O. Fullmer, Carol Wilkinson, Keven A. Prusak, Dennis Eggett, and Todd Pennington

Purpose: This study examined the relationship between adolescents (N = 124) from physical education classes keeping a daily online leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) record and feelings of competence toward LTPA, motivational profiles toward LTPA, and LTPA behaviors. Method: A repeated measures ANCOVA was used to examine the relationships between recording compliance and perceived competence, motivation, and physical activity. Results: As students kept the LTPA record, boys’ LTPA levels significantly increased and girls’ levels significantly decreased. A significant interaction between recording compliance and introjected regulation was found; the more students recorded the less motivated they were by guilt or obligation to exercise. A significant interaction was found between recording compliance and intrinsic regulation, showing the more students recorded the more intrinsically motivated they were to exercise in their leisure time. Discussion/Conclusion: Implications and suggestions are described for physical education professionals.

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Susan Vincent Graser, Alan Groves, Keven A. Prusak, and Todd R. Pennington


Researchers have noted both the utility and limitations of using pedometers to measure physical activity (PA). While these unobtrusive devices are widely accepted for their ability to measure accumulated PA, they have been criticized for their inability to measure exercise intensity. However, recent steps-per-minute (SPM) research provides reasonably accurate measures of intensity allowing users to assess time spent at recommended PA levels. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the SPM taken that are associated with moderate physical activity in 12- to 14-year-old youth.


Ninety-three participants (49 boys and 44 girls; ages 12 to 14) walked on a treadmill for 3 minutes at each of 4 different speeds while wearing a pedometer and a heart rate monitor.


On average boys and girls reached their moderate activity intensity threshold at 122 SPM and 102 SPM, respectively. However, individual differences must be taken into account when determining appropriate SPM intensities for youth.


The impact of individual differences underscores the need to address SPM for moderate intensity individually rather than with a single guideline for everyone at this age.

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Martyn Standage, Joan L. Duda, Darren C. Treasure, and Keven A. Prusak

This research assessed the reliability, presence of a proposed simplex pattern (construct validity), factorial validity, and multisample invariance of the Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS; Guay, Vallerand, & Blanchard, 2000). In Study 1, data were collected from three physical activity samples. After establishing internal consistencies for all scales, bivariate and interfactor correlations were calculated and the results supported a simplex pattern across samples. The SIMS factorial validity across the three samples was tested via confirmatory factor analysis. Based on modification indices and theoretical justification, the SIMS was reduced to a 14-item model and the multisample invariance of this solution was examined. Results supported partial invariance. In Study 2, a total of 1,008 female PE students responded to the SIMS under two experimental conditions. Internal consistency and the assumed simplex pattern was again supported. Finally, the results of multisample CFA were consistent with the proposed post hoc model respecifications suggested in Study 1, supporting partial invariance.