Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Erwin


Physical activity (PA) in youth is significant as it begins to lay the fountain for a healthier lifestyle as children age. The benefits of being regularly physically active are plentiful as it improves muscle strength, cardiovascular, fitness, and cognitive functions (Rodgers, 2008). However, oftentimes in physical education classes, the voice of the student tends to go unheard. The purpose of this study was to determine how the perception or preference to be physically active differs by age, gender, and/or ethnicity in a middle school setting. The goal of this study is to shed ligt on how building a more inclusive and student-driven (PE) curriculum may improve participation. The significance of this study would be the potential to improve students’ PA levels through enjoyment and awareness of activities. Focusing on activities students prefer to participate in during class may lead to a more positive perception of PA, potentially, leading to lifelong PA engagement.

Participants completed the validated PEAS (Orlic et al., 2017), modified for this study, along with a list of the activities offered in their regular PE curriculum. The surveys used a 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly prefer (5) the activity/statement to strongly dislike (1) the activity/statement. Data were analyzed using SPSS to provide descriptive statistics via a Chi-Square Test. Data were grouped by age, gender, or ethnicity using the different activities or statements to compare and contrast. The PEAS measured four dimensions: Satisfaction, Comfort, Activity, and Teacher, while the second survey divided items into three groups: Team sports, Individual Sports, and Leisure activities.

The results when determined using Chi- Square resigns to show significance in multiple areas, the most prominent being in gender and ethnicity. Gender played a large role in students feeling uncomfortable and be unsatisfied with their current PE classes. Ethnicity was mainly a factor in students preferring individual sports above all else.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)