Self-efficacy and participation of students with and without disabilities in school-based Physical Education

This project is about how students’ perceptions of self-efficacy and participation develop during mainstream, inclusive secondary school. Relations between these concepts and student functioning and teaching skills were investigated. The study was performed over time, for three years with students 12,5-15,5 years old. Self-efficacy predicts school outcome, promotes engagement and self-efficacy may spread across subjects. Students with disabilities have lower self-efficacy in Physical Education (PE) when they start mainstream, inclusive secondary school. Like their classmates their PE specific self-efficacy increases during secondary school. They are also as relatively highly engaged during PE class as their classmates. General school self-efficacy declines in most students, but not for students with disabilities. The experience of having restricted everyday functioning accelerates in students with disabilities during this period of adolescence. This influences their self-efficacy, aptitude to participate and final PE grade negatively Students with low grades in PE and those with disabilities are the groups of students who benefit most from participating in school-based PE. Strong associations were found between spring grade year 7 and final PE grade year 9. The indication being that these students seldom receive a higher grade, despite improvement of PE knowledge and skills. Student perceived self-efficacy and participation could work as a complement to grade discussions when teachers communicate school improvement.

Project leader: Karin Bertills