Perceived Water Competencies in Danish School Children

Stephan Emil Junggren, Sofie Koch, Lise Sohl Jeppesen, Lisbeth Runge Larsen, Tobias Marling, Thomas Skovgaard

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Perceived water competencies in Danish school children
Authors: Junggren, S. (1), Koch S. (1), Jeppesen, LS. (1), Larsen, LR. (1), Marling, T. (2), Skovgaard, T. (3)
Affiliates: 1: Research and Innovation Centre for Human Movement and Learning, University College Lillebælt and University of Southern Denmark, 2. Danish Swimming Federation, 3. Danish School Sport.
In the Danish research project Learning to Swim, launched by the Danish foundation TrygFonden and the Danish Swimming Federation, the main purpose of the research project was to develop, implement and evaluate new innovative types of swimming lesson models that promote efficient learning of basic swimming skills.

In the period of 2015 - 2017 about 2200 Danish children 5-12 years of age from 17 municipalities, who offer swimming lessons as part of physical education lessons, participated in the project. The starting point was action research and included an innovative intervention consisting of new developed swimming courses based on five different approaches to swimming. Before and after the intervention baseline and follow-up screenings of the children’s swimming skills were covered, and learning outcomes were measured at follow-up:

•Swimming skills were measured in a 15 minutes test swimming as long as possible continuously with no assistives
•Learning outcomes of the swimming lessons were registered on a modified and contextually adapted Learning Rating Scale (LRS) from 0-10, measured on four different indicators - Learning, Social, Method and Expectations
•The Perceived Water Competencies Questionnaire was registered on a modified likert-scale. The questions about the children’s perceived swimming skills related to lifesaving and self-rescuing, swimming strokes, aquatic fundamental skills and social competencies (12 questions). The questions were based on the Murcia and Perez's pictorial scale (2008), but modified to a Danish water and swimming context for the target group of children in 1st to 6th grade.

Range of the scale: “I do not learn anything in swimming lessons” (left on the scale) to “I do learn a lot in swimming lessons” (right on the scale).
Illustration 1 (not shown - see pdf of poster): Example of the Learning indicator in the modified Learning Rating Scale. Statements are translated into English.

How do you get into the water? “I jump in straight away”, “I get in quietly”, “I do not want to get into the water”

Can you swim? “I can not swim”, “I do not swim pretty well”, “Yes, I swim smoothly”

If you discover a person in an emergency situation, can you rescue the person ashore in safety? “I can not rescue the person”, “I'm not so good at rescuing”, “Yes I can”.

Illustration 2 (not shown - see pdf of poster): Examples from pictorial scale in Perceived Water Competencies Questionnaire

Preliminary results
1989 children are included in the current results. 1561 children have complete LRS-data; 1189 completed the baseline and follow-up swim test; 1083 children completed both the LRS and the swim test.

The modified Learning Rating Scale and the Perceived Water Competencies Questionnaire both have the potential to examine and gain understanding of children´s water competencies, primarily in combination with a quantitative measurement of the swimming skills of the children. Further development of the scaling in the Perceived Water Competencies Questionnaire is needed though, and caution is in general advised on the use of self-reported estimates of swimming and survival competency in the context of drowning prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date17. Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 17. Oct 2017
EventWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention 2017: Share Globally Prevent Locally - Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 17. Oct 201719. Oct 2017


ConferenceWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention 2017
LocationWestin Bayshore Hotel
Internet address

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