The expectancy-value theory: A meta-analysis of its application in physical education



The purpose of motivating students is to enhance their learning achievement. The expectancy-value theory (EVT) has demonstrated its efficacy in motivating students in classrooms and in gymnasia. Understanding student motivation in physical education is needed. This meta-analysis review aimed to reveal the determinants and functions of EVT by evaluating the evidence in physical education research.


We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines to identify and meta-analyze the current research literature published from January 2010 to December 2020 by generating and analyzing the effect sizes from the studies.


A total of 31 studies were included. The results show that social support, motivation of teachers and peers, and positive class climate can predict student EVT motivation. EVT motivation predicts student learning behaviors, situational interests, fitness performance, health behavior function, out-of-school physical activity, and physical skill development.


EVT motivation could facilitate learning behaviours and situational interest development in the gymnasium. It might lead to fitness enhancement, health behavior change, out-of-school physical activity participation, and physical skill development. Fostering a learning environment with a mastery-centered and/or student autonomy approach where students perceived success and the task values can enhance and maximize student EVT motivation and learning achievement.