Comparison of Self-Report Knowledge of Lifetime Fitness/Wellness and Exam Scores

Friday, April 3, 2009
Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Diana E. Avans, Dale E. Campbell and Silvie Grote, Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

Many universities require a Lifetime Fitness/Wellness course as part of the general education curriculum. The attitude among the students is often one of complacency; a feeling that they already know the subject matter. At the end of the semester, students are often surprised by a lower than expected grade. Students often state that they did not take the class seriously enough. The purpose of this study was to determine how the students rate their current knowledge of the Lifetime Fitness/Wellness course content, and the students' score on a preliminary knowledge exam.


A questionnaire containing each course topic using a 1-5 scale; 1 indicating little or no knowledge of the subject; 3 having adequate knowledge; 5 being extremely knowledgeable was completed, at the beginning of the semester, along with an exam compiled from a test bank of questions used in the course.


Frequency analyses were conducted and the results showed the majority (>62%) of the students (N = 135) rated their knowledge as at least adequate on every topic. For nine out of the 12 topics, “good knowledge” or above was stated by ~55% of the respondents. If adequate knowledge is considered to be equivalent to 70%, good- 80%; extremely knowledgeable- 90% on a grading scale, a comparison to the students' exams could be made. The average score was 48.3%. No individual topic percentage was over 70%. The two highest scored topics were Flexibility (66%) and Stress Management (62%). The two lowest scores were Cardiovascular Disease and Muscle Fitness (29.7%, 36.1%). The students' self-reported that their knowledge was highest in Alcohol, Weight Management, Tobacco, and Nutrition (>87% at least “adequate knowledge”). The average scores for these topics were 43.5%. Self-reported areas of least knowledge were Cardiovascular Disease, Body Composition, and Cancer, Diabetes, Osteoporosis (although ~67% reported adequate knowledge). The lowest exam scores were in CVD (29.7%), Muscle Fitness (36.1%), and Tobacco (40.6%). The top responses to a question on how to improve learning were to have more class/ group discussions; integrate more hands-on learning experiences and demonstrations.


The goal of this research is to provide evidence to the students about their knowledgeable of fitness and health and motivate the students to take the course seriously; to guide curriculum changes to better meet the needs of the students; and with a repeated measure at the end of the semester- a means of assessing and reporting gains in knowledge.

  • AAHPERD 2009. Avans.doc (31.5 kB)