Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

First Advisor

Linda L. Griffin

Second Advisor

Patti S. Dodds

Third Advisor

Daniel S. Gerber

Subject Categories



The Tactical Games Model (TGM) is an instructional model in which the primary assumption is to facilitate students' tactical understanding of games (i.e., response-selection and execution processes). Additionally, there is speculation that tactical understanding of one game transfers to other tactically similar games (Mitchell, Oslin & Griffin, 2006, p. 20). Limited research has been conducted regarding student response selection processes, problem representations, knowledge base development, or transfer of learning in this model. Griffin and Patton (2005) called for examination of TGM through an information processing lens. Examining action, condition, and goal responses of novice physical education students could provide significant insight to students' improved game performance. Also, examining students' engagement in particular tactical problems across diverse activities in a single game category could provide insight into how and which knowledge structures transfer. The purpose of this study was to examine fifth-grade students' tactical understanding and decision-making in a net/wall unit. A second purpose was to analyze the transfer of knowledge structures across the unit. Participants included an elementary school physical educator and purposively selected students (n=16; M=8, F=8) from a fifth-grade physical education class (N=50) at a suburban elementary school in the northeastern United States. Appropriate permission was obtained from the university's Institutional Review Board. The unit consisted of 20 lessons (50 minute classes). Select students remained in a cohort, participating with and against each other throughout the unit. Data was collected using multiple sources: (a) game performance (pre-post-unit), (b) situational knowledge quiz (pre-post-unit), (c) formal, semi-structured teacher interviews/written response to structured questions (pre-post-unit), (d) descriptive field notes, (e) video-taped and audio-taped teacher/student performances, (f) student think-aloud reports during the second game of each lesson (McPherson & Thomas, 1989), and (g) student focus group interviews (post-unit). Interviews were transcribed, open, axial, and selectively coded, then triangulated to develop categories. Situational quizzes, verbal recall data, and focus group interviews were micro-analyzed using a protocol analysis developed by McPherson and Thomas (1989) to examine action, condition, and goal orientations of students. Video taped game performances were analyzed using the Game Performance Assessment Instrument (Griffin, Mitchell, & Oslin, 1997). Results contribute to the empirical support for TGM, as well as contribute to what is known about knowledge structure development and transfer of learning for 5th grade novice games players.

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