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Zan Gao and Ping Xiang

Guided by an expectancy-value model of achievement choice (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000), the relationships among expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values (importance, interest, and usefulness), and achievement outcomes (intention, engagement, and performance) were examined in a college-level beginning weight training class. A total of 156 students (73 males, 83 females) completed questionnaires assessing their expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, and intention for future participation. Their engagement was measured via self-recorded workout log entries in class, and their performance was determined by two skill tests. Results of the study supported the application of the expectancy-value model in the context of a college weight training class. Importance and interest were significant predictors of intention and engagement, whereas expectancy-related beliefs emerged as the only predictor of performance. Males reported higher scores on expectancy-related beliefs and performed better than females.

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Zan Gao, Amelia M. Lee, Melinda A. Solmon and Tao Zhang

This study investigated the relationships and mean-level changes of middle school students’ motivation (expectancy-related beliefs, task values, self-efficacy, and outcome expectancy) toward physical education over time, and how gender affected students’ motivation. Participants (N = 206) completed questionnaires over a 1-year period: once in the sixth and seventh grades and again in the seventh and eighth grades. Results yielded that self-efficacy and task values were positive predictors of students’ intention across cohorts. The mean levels of self-efficacy decreased over time for students in Cohort 1 (across sixth and seventh grades). However, results revealed a consistent decline in the mean levels of other motivational variables for both cohorts. No gender differences emerged for the variables. The findings are discussed in regard to the implications for educational practice, and future research areas are presented.

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Zan Gao, Ken R. Lodewyk and Tao Zhang

This study uncovers the predictive relationship of middle school students’ ability beliefs (self-efficacy and expectancy-related beliefs) and incentives (outcome expectancy, importance, interest, and usefulness) to intention, cardiovascular fitness, and teacher-rated effort in physical education. Participants (N = 252; 118 boys, 134 girls) completed questionnaires assessing their ability beliefs, incentives, and intention for future participation in physical education, and then had their cardiovascular fitness assessed with the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test. Students’ effort in class was rated by their respective physical education teachers. Correlation analysis yielded significantly positive relationships between ability beliefs and incentives. Regression results revealed that ability beliefs, importance, interest, and usefulness significantly predicted intention for future participation. Ability beliefs also emerged as significant predictors of PACER test scores whereas self-efficacy was the only predictor of teacher-rated effort. Implications for educational practice are discussed.

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Tao Zhang, Melinda A. Solmon and Xiangli Gu

Examining how teachers’ beliefs and behaviors predict students’ motivation and achievement outcomes in physical education is an area of increasing research interest. Guided by the expectancy-value model and self-determination theory, the major purpose of this study was to examine the predictive strength of teachers’ autonomy, competence, and relatedness support toward students’ expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, concentration, and persistence/effort in physical education. Participants were 273 middle school students (143 girls, 130 boys) enrolled in a southeastern suburban public school. They completed previously validated questionnaires assessing their perceived teachers’ support for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, concentration, and self-reported persistence/effort during their regular classes. The results highlight the importance of teachers’ competence support and autonomy support in fostering students’ motivational constructs and achievement outcomes in physical education. The findings demonstrate that a supportive environment and high levels of expectancy-related beliefs and subjective task values are positively associated with students’ achievement outcomes in physical education.