Students' motivational processes and their relationship to teacher ratings in school physical education: A self-determination theory approach

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Colleges, School and Institutes


In the present study, we used a model of motivation grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan., 1985,1991; Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2000b, 2002) to examine the relationship between physical education (PE) students motivational processes and ratings of their effort and persistence as provided by their PE, teacher. Data were obtained from 394 British secondary school students (204 boys, 189 girls, 1 gender not specified; M age = 11. 97years; SD =. 89; range = 11-14 years) who responded to a multisection inventory (tapping autonomy-support, autonomy, competence, relatedness, and self-determined motivation). The students' respective PE, teachers subsequently provided ratings reflecting the effort and persistence each student exhibited in their PE classes. The hypothesized relationships among the study variables were examined via structural equation modeling analysis using latent factors. Results of maximum likelihood analysis using the bootstrapping method revealed the proposed model demonstrated a good fit to the data, chi(2) (292) = 632.68, p <.001; comparative fit index = .95; incremental fit index = .95, standardized root. mean square residual = .0 77; root mean square error of affroximation (RMSEA) = .054 (90 % confidence interval of RWSEA = .049-.060). Specifically, the model showed that students who perceived an autonomy supportive environment experienced greater levels, of autonomy, competence, and relatedness and had higher scores on an index of self-determination. Student-reported levels of self-determined motivation positively predicted teacher ratings of effort and persistence in. The findings are discussed with regard to enhancing student motivation in PE settings.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • need satisfaction, self-determined motivation, autonomy support, confirmatory factor analysis, intrinsic motivation, perceived locus, activity intentions, model, causality, internalization, sport