Teachers' and students' conceptions of ability in elementary physical education. Academic Article uri icon


  • Using Nicholl's (1989) and Dweck 's (1999, 2002) theories on ability as conceptual frameworks, this study explored teachers' and students' conceptions of ability in elementary physical education. Participants were 8 physical education specialists from five public schools and 160 students from their second- and fourth-grade classes. Teacher and student interviews and questionnaires were used for data collection. When asked to describe the "best" and "poorest" students in their physical education classes, teachers defined or referenced student status solely in terms of class behavior and effort, such as participation and working hard. In contrast, students primarily used ability-related indicators, such as task mastery and social comparison along with class behavior as criteria of their own ability. Overall, teachers and students had different views of "good" students in elementary physical education. In an era of standards-based learning and accountability in education, teachers may need to focus more on a task-involved climate by taking into account student learning and achievement.

published proceedings

  • Res Q Exerc Sport

author list (cited authors)

  • Xiang, P., Solmon, M. A., & McBride, R. E.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Xiang, Ping||Solmon, Melinda A||McBride, Ron E

publication date

  • January 2006