This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Secondary Physical Educators’ Grading Outcomes and the Influence of the Environment




Morris, Michael

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The aim of this investigation was to deploy an ecological examination (Ecological Systems Framework) to account for the role the total school environment influences physical educator’s grading outcomes. The framework illuminates the multi-layered influences that negotiate with individuals more specifically physical educators within their work environment. We ask, what are physical educators’ uses of grading, and how does the total school environment influence grading outcomes in physical education? We do so to understand if the total school environment encourages physical educators to utilize non-achievement factors in their outcomes. Utilizing an explanatory mixed methods approach, we show that non-achievement factors may make up over half of the students’ grades in physical education. The ecological model detailed the specific interactions in the total school environment that leads to formulation of a physical educator official grading criteria. Except for one participant, both proximal and distal influences discouraged physical educators from grading students objectively or on achievement factors. The significance of this study is that there are numerous influences that inspire physical educators to utilize non achievement factors, and stakeholders are not holding physical educator’s accountable in their profession. Therefore, the recommended practices of grading should be communicated to stakeholders. Furthermore, physical educator’s may lack the knowledge or skill to implement objective grading practices regardless of their environment. Although this was outside the scope of the research, there is a need to further study whether physical educators possess the ability to grade objectively. Moreover, there is a need to investigate the if national or state physical education policies are communicated to the district, then administration, and the classroom. Physical Education presents outcomes that reflect the affective, psychomotor, and cognitive domains of learning. The significance of genuine learning prepares students for all facets of work. Yet the weighing non achievement factors, like dress, participation, and effort in students’ grades sells the profession short. Ultimately, total school environment as well as physical educators must work to uphold the integrity of their profession.