Document Type



student attitude, fitness test, physical education, FITNESSGRAM, longitudinal

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to assess relationships between students’ attitudes toward physical education (PE), their perceived competence toward PE, and their fitness test performance, as well as how these relationships change over time. Measurements were conducted with validated instruments across five time points during two school years with fourth and fifth grade students across ten schools (n = 636, 48% = female). This study was developed to address a need for examining how attitudes and perceived competence change over time. Descriptive statistics and latent growth models were run with the variables of interest to investigate four research questions. We found that greater fitness scores are associated with greater competence scores at all time points and that fitness testing may have an impactful, yet brief impact on overall attitudes toward PE. Results showed that fitness test scores predicted higher levels of perceived competence but not higher positive attitudes. Greater attitude levels were predictive of higher competence. Results suggested that previous fitness test experiences shaped future attitudes over time as opposed to “in the moment” attitude scores, a finding not identified in previous research. This study used multiple data points to study PE attitudes and competence, two pillars of behavioral intention. Attitudes can shift and how previous PE content, like fitness testing, can predict future attitudes in PE. The actual relationship between competence and attitude over time is also identified. The results also point to attitude as more of a developed attribute as compared to one that changes only from one event.