Do Refinement Tasks Influence Students' Daily Practice and Overall Achievement in a Sports Skill Unit?

Article excerpt

Many teachers who want to help students improve motor performance develop the content of lessons using Rink's (1985) framework for content development. This framework includes teachers' ability to blend three types of tasks (extension, application, and refinement) into lessons. Extension tasks deal with manipulating the complexity of practice, while application tasks shift practice focus from how to do a movement to how to use a movement in a self-testing or competitive way. Refinement tasks are used to emphasize proper mechanics and quality practice without changing task complexity. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of refinement tasks on learners' daily practice success and overall achievement.

Participants in this study were 200 female seventh- and eighth-grade students who were enrolled in six intact physical education classes. These students were involved in an 11-day volleyball unit which focused on the underhand pass, overhead set, and underhand serve. Intact classes were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (a) control group; (b) group receiving extension, refinement, and application tasks (E/R/A group); or (c) group receiving only extension and application tasks (E/A group). The control group participated in an aerobics unit and had no instruction in volleyball. The treatment groups were taught by the same physical education teacher, who used standardized lesson plans to ensure that both groups received the same lesson content and practice opportunities.

The researchers were interested in measuring overall achievement and daily practice success for the underhand pass, overhead set, and underhand serve. Overall achievement was measured through pretests and posttests on all three skills. Daily practice success was measured through analysis of videotapes of each lesson. One researcher viewed, coded, and tallied the practice trials (correct or incorrect) of each student during each task for each skill. …