A study of cross-age tumbling teaching to first grade students
Grimes, Donald Randolf
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Much has been written about the potential resource that tutors might represent in our present educational system. However, very little scientific research could be found on this topic in the physical education field. This lack of evidence concerning the potential usefulness and effectiveness of tutors in physical education, particularly at the elementary school level, provided the impetus to conduct the present study. The purposes of this study were: 1) To investigate the effects of four factors, tutee sex, tutor sex, tutor grade level, and tutor tumbling ability, on a cross-age tumbling teaching program for first grade students. In addition, all first order factor interactions were studied for effect. And, 2) To compare the skill gains of those subjects taught by an upper grade tutor, fourth and sixth, to the gains of those taught by a physical education specialist. The data were collected during the spring of the 1976-77 academic year at W. H. Keister Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Seventy-two first grade subjects participated in the study, with boys and girls equally represented. Eight upper grade tutors were selected for the study according to the eight various combinations of the three tutor factors studied for effect; male-female, fourth-sixth grade, and low-high tumbling ability. The seventy-two subjects were pretested for the ability to perform the three tumbling skills of forward roll, headstand, and cartwheel through the use of the Jarvis Tumbling Test (1967). The performances were recorded by a video cassette recorder and scored by two judges. Subjects were randomly assigned to either one of the eight tutors' groups or to the specialist's group and given instruction on the three skills three days a week for six weeks. After which, they were post-tested for skill gain. A six-week cross-age instructional program in tumbling skills was found to increase proficiency in performing the skills, with some increases more pronounced than others. For all subjects, the test score increase percentages from pre- to post-test were 38 percent for the forward roll, 155 percent for the headstand, and 209 percent for the cartwheel. A four-way factorial MANCOVA was applied to the data in order to investigate the effects of the four factors upon mean score change from pre- to post-test, using the .05 level of confidence for significance. Factor one was tutee sex, factor two was tutor sex, factor three was tutor grade level, and factor four was tutor tumbling ability. The analysis of data revealed that the only factor to have a significant effect was tutor grade level. Those subjects with a sixth grade tutor scored significantly higher on the tests than those with a fourth grade tutor. None of the first order interactions between the four factors produced any significant effects on the groups' test scores. A one-way ANOVA was used to analyze data for any significant group differences in test score gains between the eight tutors' groups and one specialist's group. No significant difference was found between the tutors' groups' performances and those of the specialist's group.
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