Fourth-grade students' motivational changes in an elementary physical education running program.
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Achievement goal theory and the expectancy-value model of achievement choice were used to examine fourth-grade students' motivational changes in an elementary physical education running program. In fall and spring of the school year, participants (N = 113; 66 boys, 47 girls) completed questionnaires assessing achievement goals, expectancy beliefs, subjective task values, and intention for future running participation. They also completed a timed 1-mile (1.6 km) run. The number of laps they ran/walked during the school year was used to assess students' persistence/effort. Results indicated the students improved their run but became less motivated about running while participating in a year-long running program. Children's beliefs about how good they were in the running program (i.e., expectancy beliefs) and their perceptions of how interesting and fun it was (i.e., interest) emerged as the strongest positive predictors of their motivation for running over time. These findings provide strong empirical evidence that expectancy beliefs and interest are essential to children's motivation in elementary physical education.