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Kevin Mercier and Stephen Silverman

The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of high school students toward fitness testing. An instrument containing 18 items and four factors measuring student’s attitudes toward fitness testing: cognitive, affect-enjoyment, affect-feelings, and affect-teacher was completed by 524 boys and 675 girls (N = 1199). MANOVA indicated significant differences among the dependent variables for grade and gender. A stepwise discriminant function analysis (DFA) indicated affect-feelings then affect-enjoyment as variables that predicted these differences. Follow-up tests indicated that gender, and not grade, was the cause of the significant affect-feelings differences. MANOVA for fitness test types and the follow-up DFA indicated that students who completed the FitnessGram test had significantly higher cognitive attitudes than those who completed the President’s Challenge. The results suggest that student gender and the type of fitness test impact and lead to differences in attitudes.

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Sharon R. Phillips, Risto Marttinen, Kevin Mercier, and Anne Gibbone

Purpose: Existing research suggests that students’ attitudes toward physical education are positive through Grade 5, but become less positive as grade levels increase; this research is, however, missing student voice. The purpose of this study was to further understand why students’ attitudes have been shown to decrease. Methods: Twenty-six focus group interviews (students N = 65) were conducted over 2 years to discover what was influencing attitudes from fifth to eighth grade. Results: Three themes emerged: (a) curriculum leads to decreases in student attitudes (subthemes repetitive and boring, an overemphasis on competition, and fitness testing activities—what’s the purpose and why am I on display?), (b) social factors impact attitude: sweating and changing, and (c) physical education assumptions, the easy “A” (subthemes: perceptions of physical education teachers and the easy “A”). Conclusion: Allowing students to explain the reasons for decreases in attitudes contributes to improving the teaching and learning process.

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Kevin Mercier, Erin Centeio, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

This study investigated physical education (PE) teachers’ experiences with remote instruction in the United States during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. PE teachers (n = 4,362) from all 50 states completed a survey identifying their experiences with remote instruction in May, 2020. Survey responses were analyzed by geographic region, district type, and school level. Teachers reported having students submit assignments (51% yes), using video instruction (37% yes), being less effective when instructing remotely (20% yes), and emphasizing student outcomes focused on health-related fitness (32% yes), and physical activity value/enjoyment (43% yes). Access to technology (40% yes) and required student assignments (43% yes) were lowest among teachers from the South. Rural teachers reported the least access to technology (37% yes) and rated themselves as least effective (24% yes). Secondary level teachers reported the highest percentage of required assignments (84% yes). Teachers’ responses identify unique challenges to delivering equitable and effective remote PE instruction.

Open access

Erin Centeio, Kevin Mercier, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

The purpose of this study was to investigate physical education teachers’ perceptions of implementing online physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to explore their needs with regard to support for future teaching experiences. A total of 4,302 teachers completed four open-ended questions as part of a larger survey. Deductive and inductive qualitative analysis led to three themes: (a) Teachers’ Proud Moments, (b) Help! So Many Obstacles, and (c) Future Challenges. Teachers stated many successes and challenges that they experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many items specifically focused on use and access to technology, student participation, and meeting students’ needs in various ways. Results can provide guidance for how to address the essential components of physical education in the online environment. In addition, results may provide insight to those who educate, train, and prepare teachers to teach in a virtual and/or physically distanced environment.