Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



International Business & Management



Publication Title

Goal Setting and Personal Development: Teachers' Perspectives, Behavioral Strategies and Impact On Performance


Histograms of push-up and curl-up performances of middle school students show that students stop at multiples of five more often than random processes suggest. The natural question arises: do students who stop at these focal outcomes settle for them or did they strive to achieve them? Erfle and Gelbaugh (2013) and Erfle (2014b) argue that the latter is true and that these students are more motivated than their less focal peers. This motivation to perform transfers across activities, especially for focal push-up performers. The present chapter examines whether students implicitly use other counting bases in their physical activity performances. The relative performance of those who count by other bases are also examined.
A performance ending in a multiple of k may not be the result of an intentional strategy of skip counting by ks. In the absence of student survey information regarding skip counting strategies we must infer intentionality to perform using a specific base from actual performance outcomes. As a result, one task is to define intentionality to attain or avoid a specific outcome. If N students complete performances and k is accounting base, then having more than N/k students who end their performance in multiples of k provides prima fascia evidence of counting by k. Similarly, having fewer than N/k students who end their performance just below multiples of k offers further evidence of counting by k. Evidence of both behaviors exists for a number of bases for both activities. Average performance profiles for those who end in multiples of k as well as those achieving a remainder of k-1 are examined as well.


Published as:
Erfle, Stephen E. "Skip Counting Bases and Autonomous Motivation." In Goal Setting and Personal Development: Teachers' Perspectives, Behavioral Strategies and Impact On Performance, edited by Bernice Higgins, 173-99. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2015.

This author pre-print is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Nova Science Publisher's Website.