Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Heather Schugar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Selen Razon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paula Voshell, Ed.D.


The purpose of this mixed methods study was to measure students’ mindsets about fifth-grade physical education. In particular, this study examined students’ perceptions of growth mindset versus fixed mindset, examined differences between students’ beliefs about changeability of fitness ability and movement skill ability, and analyzed factors such as family, friends, self, teachers, and athletes as to how they contributed to students’ mindset. Data were collected through two primary methods: student surveys and student focus group interviews.

Analysis of the qualitative focus group interviews concentrated on student perception of growth mindset in regular education and physical education, gender differences, the collective value of effort over ability, fitness ability compared to movement skill ability, and different influencers contributing to a growth mindset. Of the 62 student participants, 58 students (93.5%) self-reported a growth mindset in fitness and movement ability. Of the 62 participants, 35 were boys (M = 4.84, SD = 0.91) and 27 were girls (M = 5.15, SD = 0.60). Analysis of the quantitative student surveys revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between fitness average and movement average (p < .001). However, the survey data also showed that there was not a statistically significant between gender scores for fitness ability (p = 0.58) or for movement skill ability (p = 0.33).