Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Amelia M. Lee


The focus of this study was the examination of relationships between initial skill level, observer estimates of attention, student thoughts, quality of practice, and achievement during motor skill instruction. Specifically, the following questions were addressed: (1) What is the relationship between observed student behavior to quality of practice and achievement? (2) What is the relationship between student reports of their cognitive processes to quality of practice and achievement? (3) Does written self-report data produce the same information as data collected during stimulated recall interviews? and (4) Are student self-report data about attention consistent with observer estimates of overt student behavior? Fifty-six sixth grade students participated in a 4-day instructional unit on the forearm pass in volleyball. Prior to instruction, they completed a skill pretest and Harter's perceived competence scale. Subjects completed forms daily about the errors they made during practice. All classes were video-taped so that student behavior and quality of practice could be coded. Selected students also participated in stimulated recall interviews. At the end of the unit, all students were posttested and completed a Cognitive Processes Questionnaire (CPQ) about their attention, use of strategies, and motivation during the unit. Residual gain scores were used as the indicant of achievement. Correlation coefficients were used to assess relationships between variables of interest. Correlates of achievement were identified as the number of practice trials, the number of correct practice trials, engaged practice time, motivation as measured by the CPQ, and the ability to verbalize detection and correction of errors during practice. The results suggest that perceived competence and skill level are important factors in how students spend their time in physical education classes. It appears that motivation and attention to detection and correction of errors are closely related variables which impact the quality of practice. The interview data supported the use of the perceived competence scale, the error sampling technique, and the CPQ as methods to gather information about student thought process during instruction. In contrast to previous results, student estimates of attention were not more accurate predictors of student achievement than observer estimates of overt behavior.