Participation factors in optional high school health and physical education
Pybus, Colin M.
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Student enrolment rates in optional health and physical education (HPE) classes have been steadily declining, to the point where most Ontario students stop taking HPE after completion of their one required credit, typically taken in grade nine. This study looked at factors that could contribute to HPE enrolment, sampling 227 grade ten students from five schools. These factors included selfefficacy (SE), perceived autonomy support (PAS), task value (TV), motivational regulation (autonomous, AR; controlled, CR), HPE grade average and body size discrepancy (BSD). Qualitative information was also gathered from students regarding likes and dislikes ofHPE, as well as reasons for their HPE enrolment choice. Cronbach Alpha values of each scale fell within acceptable values. ANOVA analysis revealed differences between enrolment groups in SE, TV, AR, HPE grade average, and BSD (p < .05). Reasons students reported for not taking HPE included a dislike of health classes, scheduling challenges, not needing HPE for future endeavors, concerns about social self-presentation, and a dislike of sports and/or competition. This research shows important differences between students and their HPE class choices and calls for a re-evaluation of how HPE classes are structured, advertised and scheduled by high school practitioners. Future works should look toward what other factors could be at play in students' decisions for or against optional HPE and how those factors interact with the constructs that were found to be of significance in this study. Keywords: Health and physical education, high school students, participation.