Using Achievement Goal Theory to Assess an Elementary Physical Education Running Program



ABSTRACT: Using Achievement Goal Theory as a theoretical framework, this study examined an elementary physical education running program called Roadrunners and assessed relationships among achievement goals, perceived motivational climate, and student achievement behavior. Roadrunners promotes cardiovascular health, physical active lifestyles, and mastery behaviors such as persistence and effort. Students were required to run/walk once a week during the school year in their regularly scheduled physical education classes. Participants included 116 fourth graders (67 boys, 49 girls), who participated in Roadrunners since kindergarten. Near the end of spring semester, students completed a 36-item questionnaire assessing achievement goals and perceived motivational climate of Roadrunners. Student persistence/effort was assessed by the number of run/walk laps over the year-long program. Performance was measured by a timed, one-mile run. Results revealed the mastery goal related positively to student persistence/effort for Roadrunners and to their one-mile run performance. Interaction between the mastery goal and perception of a mastery-focused climate emerged as a positive predictor of student one-mile run performance. Results provided additional empirical support for mastery goals and perceptions of a mastery-focused climate as beneficial to student motivation and learning.