Physical activity (PA) is important for lifelong health; however, participation is lower in rural compared with metropolitan areas and declines during adolescence, particularly for girls. It is likely that this decline is related to the number of life transitions that occur during adolescence. This qualitative study examined the views of active rural living girls regarding the factors affecting their sport and PA participation, using the socioecological model. Twenty-seven girls aged 16-17 from four schools participated in semi-structured focus group discussions. Content and thematic analysis was conducted from verbatim transcripts using NVivo. The girls enjoyed involvement in community club sport with friends and they reported living in communities where participation in sport was a major form of social interaction. However, the desire to succeed educationally was a critical factor affecting their participation in sport and PA and influenced their movement from structured club sport to more flexible, but socially isolated individual activities. It is recommended that future longitudinal research should track rural living adolescent females as they complete secondary school, in order to better understand the influence of educational priorities upon sport and PA participation and to identify practical strategies for both schools and community organizations to foster continuing participation throughout this crucial period of life transition.
This article reports research conducted on students’ perceptions of assessment in science classes in Queensland and Western Australia. A specially developed instrument, the Student Perceptions of Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ) which assesses Congruence with Planned Learning, Authenticity, Student Consultation, Transparency, and Diversity was used to collect data from 3,055 students. Hierarchical cluster analysis resulted in a four cluster solution being accepted. While one cluster of 799 students held positive perceptions of assessment, another cluster of 640 students held negative views. The SPAQ allows for a greater focus on classroom-based perceptions of assessment rather than crude external accountability measures that decontextualise classroom assessment.