Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jim Whitehead


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between relative autonomy (autonomous versus controlled motivation), engagement in physical activity in a physical education class, and health-related fitness test scores. Participants were a total of 300 students drawn from grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 from a local Midwestern high school. Motivation, perceived competence, and self-reported physical activity levels were assessed using appropriate questionnaires. Heart rate monitors were used to record adolescent's heart rate taken during technology enhanced physical education classes to obtain a quantifiable measure of physical activity. The use of Fitnessgram assessment included a variety of health-related physical fitness tests that assessed aerobic capacity; muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility; and body composition. Scores from these assessments were compared to Healthy Fitness Zone® standards to determine students' overall physical fitness and suggest areas for improvement when appropriate. Support was shown for the conceptual links between competence feedback (fitness test scores), subsequent competence perceptions (CY-PSPP scores) and more autonomous exercise motivation (RAI scores). To some extent, these results represent support for the physical education program's curricular approach and long-term aims. Future research should try to evaluate how such approaches affect motivation over the students subsequent adult lives.