Upper Elementary School Students’ Attitudes Toward Physical Education in Skill-Themes and Multiactivity Approaches


  • Michael Gosset Hostos Community College
  • Stephen Silverman Teachers College, Columbia University




student attitude, physical education approaches, skill themes


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of the physical education curricular approach used in teaching upper elementary school students on students’ attitude toward physical education. An Approach Guide was developed to assist in categorizing school approaches as skill-themes (ST) or multiactivity (MA). Twenty schools meeting designated participation criteria were selected. An attitude instrument (Phillips & Silverman, 2012) was administered to fourth- or fifth-grade students (N = 313) in physical education classes in schools, 10 schools in each approach category. Multivariate analyses of variance were performed with the class as the unit of analysis for attitude sub-factor variables and attitude main factors, each using approach as the independent variable. A t-test was completed for overall attitude between the two approaches. Means and standard deviations were calculated for the sub-factors, main factors, and total attitude by curriculum, school, grade, gender, and approach. Analyses suggest that fourth- and fifth-grade students enjoy physical education and think it is important. No significant differences were found between grades, genders, or approaches. The range of attitude scores within the schools was wider in the MA approach than in the ST approach and may be a result of teacher influence. Larger standard deviations within schools using the MA approach may also indicate more varied attitudes toward physical education than in schools using the ST approach.

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Author Biographies

Michael Gosset, Hostos Community College

Michael Gosset, Ed.D.

Lecturer, Coordinator, Physical Education Unit,

                            Education Department

Stephen Silverman, Teachers College, Columbia University

Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Studies