National Academies Press: OpenBook

Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School (2013)

Chapter: 5 approaches to physical education in schools.

Approaches to Physical Education in Schools

Key Messages

•  Because it is guaranteed to reach virtually all children, physical education is the only sure opportunity for nearly all school-age children to access health-enhancing physical activities.

•  High-quality physical education programs are characterized by (1) instruction by certified physical education teachers, (2) a minimum of 150 minutes per week (30 minutes per day) for children in elementary schools and 225 minutes per week (45 minutes per day) for students in middle and high schools, and (3) tangible standards for student achievement and for high school graduation.

•  Students are more physically active on days on which they have physical education.

•  Quality physical education has strong support from both parents and child health professional organizations.

•  Several models and examples demonstrate that physical education scheduled during the school day is feasible on a daily basis.

•  Substantial discrepancies exist in state mandates regarding the time allocated for physical education.

•  Nearly half of school administrators (44 percent) reported cutting significant time from physical education and recess to increase time spent in reading and mathematics since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

•  Standardized national-level data on the provision of and participation, performance, and extent of engagement in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity are insufficient to allow assessment of the current status and trends in physical education in the United States.

•  Systematic research is needed on personal, curricular, and policy barriers to successful physical education.

•  The long-term impact of physical education has been understudied and should be a research priority to support the development of evidence-based policies.

P hysical education is a formal content area of study in schools that is standards based and encompasses assessment based on standards and benchmarks. It is defined in Chapter 1 as “a planned sequential K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors of healthy active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence.” As a school subject, physical education is focused on teaching school-aged children the science and methods of physically active, healthful living (NASPE, 2012). It is an avenue for engaging in developmentally appropriate physical activities designed for children to develop their fitness, gross motor skills, and health (Sallis et al., 2003; Robinson and Goodway, 2009; Robinson, 2011). This chapter (1) provides a perspective on physical education in the context of schooling; (2) elaborates on the importance of physical education to child development; (3) describes the consensus on the characteristics of quality physical education programs; (4) reviews current national, state, and local education policies that affect the quality of physical education; and (5) examines barriers to quality physical education and solutions for overcoming them.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN THE CONTEXT OF SCHOOLING

Physical education became a subject matter in schools (in the form of German and Swedish gymnastics) at the beginning of the 19th century (Hackensmith, 1966). Its role in human health was quickly recognized. By the turn of the 20th century, personal hygiene and exercise for bodily health were incorporated in the physical education curriculum as the major learning outcomes for students (Weston, 1962). The exclusive focus on health, however, was criticized by educator Thomas Wood (1913; Wood and Cassidy, 1930) as too narrow and detrimental to the development of the whole child. The education community subsequently adopted Wood’s inclusive approach to physical education whereby fundamental movements and physical skills for games and sports were incorporated as the major instructional content. During the past 15 years, physical education has once again evolved to connect body movement to its consequences (e.g., physical activity and health), teaching children the science of healthful living and skills needed for an active lifestyle (NASPE, 2004).

Sallis and McKenzie (1991) published a landmark paper stating that physical education is education content using a “comprehensive but physically active approach that involves teaching social, cognitive, and physical skills, and achieving other goals through movement” (p. 126). This perspective is also emphasized by Siedentop (2009), who states that physical education is education through the physical. Sallis and McKenzie (1991) stress two main goals of physical education: (1) prepare children and youth for a lifetime of physical activity and (2) engage them in physical activity during physical education. These goals represent the lifelong benefits of health-enhancing physical education that enable children and adolescents to become active adults throughout their lives.

Physical Education as Part of Education

In institutionalized education, the main goal has been developing children’s cognitive capacity in the sense of learning knowledge in academic disciplines. This goal dictates a learning environment in which seated learning behavior is considered appropriate and effective and is rewarded. Physical education as part of education provides the only opportunity for all children to learn about physical movement and engage in physical activity. As noted, its goal and place in institutionalized education have changed from the original focus on teaching hygiene and health to educating children about the many forms and benefits of physical movement, including sports and exercise. With a dramatic expansion of content beyond the original Swedish and German gymnastics programs of the 19th century, physical education has evolved to become a content

area with diverse learning goals that facilitate the holistic development of children (NASPE, 2004).

To understand physical education as a component of the education system, it is important to know that the education system in the United States does not operate with a centralized curriculum. Learning standards are developed by national professional organizations such as the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and/or state education agencies rather than by the federal Department of Education; all curricular decisions are made locally by school districts or individual schools in compliance with state standards. Physical education is influenced by this system, which leads to great diversity in policies and curricula. According to NASPE and the American Heart Association (2010), although most states have begun to mandate physical education for both elementary and secondary schools, the number of states that allow waivers/exemptions from or substitutions for physical education increased from 27 and 18 in 2006 to 32 and 30 in 2010, respectively. These expanded waiver and substitution policies (discussed in greater detail later in the chapter) increase the possibility that students will opt out of physical education for nonmedical reasons.

Curriculum Models

Given that curricula are determined at the local level in the United States, encompassing national standards, state standards, and state-adopted textbooks that meet and are aligned with the standards, physical education is taught in many different forms and structures. Various curriculum models are used in instruction, including movement education, sport education, and fitness education. In terms of engagement in physical activity, two perspectives are apparent. First, programs in which fitness education curricula are adopted are effective at increasing in-class physical activity (Lonsdale et al., 2013). Second, in other curriculum models, physical activity is considered a basis for students’ learning skill or knowledge that the lesson is planned for them to learn. A paucity of nationally representative data is available with which to demonstrate the relationship between the actual level of physical activity in which students are engaged and the curriculum models adopted by their schools.

Movement Education

Movement has been a cornerstone of physical education since the 1800s. Early pioneers (Francois Delsarte, Liselott Diem, Rudolf von Laban) focused on a child’s ability to use his or her body for self-expression (Abels and Bridges, 2010). Exemplary works and curriculum descriptions include those by Laban himself (Laban, 1980) and others (e.g., Logsdon et al.,

1984). Over time, however, the approach shifted from concern with the inner attitude of the mover to a focus on the function and application of each movement (Abels and Bridges, 2010). In the 1960s, the intent of movement education was to apply four movement concepts to the three domains of learning (i.e., cognitive, psychomotor, and affective). The four concepts were body (representing the instrument of the action); space (where the body is moving); effort (the quality with which the movement is executed); and relationships (the connections that occur as the body moves—with objects, people, and the environment; Stevens-Smith, 2004). The importance of movement in physical education is evidenced by its inclusion in the first two NASPE standards for K-12 physical education (NASPE, 2004; see Box 5-7 later in this chapter).

These standards emphasize the need for children to know basic movement concepts and be able to perform basic movement patterns. It is imperative for physical educators to foster motor success and to provide children with a basic skill set that builds their movement repertoire, thus allowing them to engage in various forms of games, sports, and other physical activities (see also Chapter 3 ).

Sport Education

One prevalent physical education model is the sport education curriculum designed by Daryl Siedentop (Siedentop, 1994; Siedentop et al., 2011). The goal of the model is to “educate students to be players in the fullest sense and to help them develop as competent, literate, and enthusiastic sportspersons” (2011, p. 4, emphasis in original). The model entails a unique instructional structure featuring sport seasons that are used as the basis for planning and teaching instructional units. Students are organized into sport organizations (teams) and play multiple roles as team managers, coaches, captains, players, referees, statisticians, public relations staff, and others to mimic a professional sports organization. A unit is planned in terms of a sports season, including preseason activity/practice, regular-season competition, playoffs and/or tournaments, championship competition, and a culminating event (e.g., an awards ceremony or sport festivity). Depending on the developmental level of students, the games are simplified or modified to encourage maximum participation. In competition, students play the roles noted above in addition to the role of players. A sport education unit thus is much longer than a conventional physical education unit. Siedentop and colleagues (2011) recommend 20 lessons per unit, so that all important curricular components of the model can be implemented.

Findings from research on the sport education model have been reviewed twice. Wallhead and O’Sullivan (2005) report that evidence is insufficient to support the conclusion that use of the model results in

students’ developing motor skills and fitness and learning relevant knowledge; some evidence suggests that the model leads to stronger team cohesion, more active engagement in lessons, and increased competence in game play. In a more recent review, Hastie and colleagues (2011) report on emerging evidence suggesting that the model leads to improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness (only one study) and mixed evidence regarding motor skills development, increased feeling of enjoyment in participation in physical education, increased sense of affiliation with the team and physical education, and positive development of fair-play values. The only study on in-class physical activity using the model showed that it contributed to only 36.6 percent activity at the vigorous- or moderate-intensity levels (Parker and Curtner-Smith, 2005). Hastie and colleagues caution, however, that because only 6 of 38 studies reviewed used an experimental or quasi-experimental design, the findings must be interpreted with extreme caution. The model’s merits in developing motor skills, fitness, and desired physical activity behavior have yet to be determined in studies with more rigorous research designs.

Fitness Education

Instead of focusing exclusively on having children move constantly to log activity time, a new curricular approach emphasizes teaching them the science behind why they need to be physically active in their lives. The curriculum is designed so that the children are engaged in physical activities that demonstrate relevant scientific knowledge. The goal is the development and maintenance of individual student fitness. In contrast with the movement education and sport education models, the underlying premise is that physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle and that students’ understanding of fitness and behavior change result from engagement in a fitness education program. The conceptual framework for the model is designed around the health-related components of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. A recent meta-analysis (Lonsdale et al., 2013) suggests that physical education curricula that include fitness activities can significantly increase the amount of time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity.

Several concept-based fitness education curriculum models exist for both the middle school and senior high school levels. They include Fitness for Life: Middle School (Corbin et al., 2007); Personal Fitness for You (Stokes and Schultz, 2002); Get Active! Get Fit! (Stokes and Schultz, 2009); Personal Fitness: Looking Good, Feeling Good (Williams, 2005); and Foundations of Fitness (Rainey and Murray, 2005). Activities in the curriculum are designed for health benefits, and the ultimate goal for the student is to develop a commitment to regular exercise and physical

activity. It is assumed that all children can achieve a health-enhancing level of fitness through regular engagement in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity.

Randomized controlled studies on the impact of a science-based fitness curriculum in 15 elementary schools showed that, although the curriculum allocated substantial lesson time to learning cognitive knowledge, the students were more motivated to engage in physical activities than students in the 15 control schools experiencing traditional physical education (Chen et al., 2008), and they expended the same amount of calories as their counterparts in the control schools (Chen et al., 2007). Longitudinal data from the study reveal continued knowledge growth in the children that strengthened their understanding of the science behind exercise and active living (Sun et al., 2012). What is unclear, however, is whether the enthusiasm and knowledge gained through the curriculum will translate into the children’s lives outside of physical education to help them become physically active at home.

To incorporate standards and benchmarks into a fitness education model, a committee under the auspices of NASPE (2012) developed the Instructional Framework for Fitness Education in Physical Education. It is suggested that through this proposed comprehensive framework, fitness education be incorporated into the existing physical education curriculum and embedded in the content taught in all instructional units. The entire framework, highlighted in Box 5-1 , can be viewed at http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/publications/upload/Instructional-Framework-for-Fitness-Education-in-PE-2012-2.pdf (accessed February 1, 2013).

Emergence of Active Gaming in Fitness Education

Today, active gaming and cell phone/computer applications are a part of physical activity for both youth and adults. Accordingly, fitness education in school physical education programs is being enhanced through the incorporation of active video games, also known as exergaming. Examples of active gaming programs with accompanying equipment include Konami Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Nintendo Wii, Gamebikes, Kinect XBOX, Xavix, and Hopsports. These active games have been incorporated into school wellness centers as high-tech methods of increasing student fitness levels to supplement the traditional modes for attaining vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity (Greenberg and Stokes, 2007).

Bailey and McInnis (2011) compared selected active games with treadmill walking and found that each game—DDR, LightSpace (Bug Invasion), Nintendo Wii (Boxing), Cyber Trazer (Goalie Wars), Sportwall, and Xavix (J-Mat)—raised energy expenditure above that measured at rest. Mean metabolic equivalent (MET) values for each game were comparable to or

Instructional Framework for Fitness Education in Physical Education

Technique: Demonstrate competency in techniques needed to perform a variety of moderate to vigorous physical activities.

•  Technique in developing cardiovascular fitness.

• Technique when developing muscle strength and endurance activities.

• Technique in developing flexibility.

• Safety techniques.

Knowledge: Demonstrate understanding of fitness concepts, principles, strategies, and individual differences needed to participate and maintain a health-enhancing level of fitness.

•  Benefits of physical activity/dangers of physical inactivity.

• Basic anatomy and physiology.

• Physiologic responses to physical activity.

• Components of health-related fitness.

• Training principles (overload, specificity, progression) and workout elements.

• Application of the Frequency Intensity Time Type principle. Factors that influence physical activity choices.

Physical activity: Participate regularly in fitness-enhancing physical activity.

•  Physical activity participation (e.g., aerobic, muscle strength and endurance, bone strength, flexibility, enjoyment/social/personal meaning).

• Create an individualized physical activity plan.

• Self-monitor physical activity and adhere to a physical activity plan.

Health-related fitness: Achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of health-related fitness.

•  Physical fitness assessment (including self-assessment) and analysis.

• Setting goals and create a fitness improvement plan.

• Work to improve fitness components.

• Self-monitor and adjust plan.

• Achieve goals.

Responsible personal and social behaviors: Exhibit responsible personal and social behaviors in physical activity settings.

•  Social interaction/respecting differences.

• Self-management.

• Personal strategies to manage body weight.

• Stress management.

Values and advocates: Value fitness-enhancing physical activity for disease prevention, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, self-efficacy, and/or social interaction and allocate energies toward the production of healthy environments.

•  Value physical activity.

• Advocacy.

• Fitness careers.

• Occupational fitness needs.

Nutrition: Strive to maintain healthy diet through knowledge, planning, and regular monitoring.

•  Basic nutrition and benefits of a healthy diet.

• Healthy diet recommendations.

• Diet assessment.

• Plan and maintain a healthy diet.

Consumerism: Access and evaluate fitness information, facilities, products, and services.

•  Differentiate between fact and fiction regarding fitness products.

• Make good decisions about consumer products.

SOURCE: NASPE, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

higher than those measured for walking on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour. Graf and colleagues (2009), studying boys and girls aged 10-13, found that both Wii boxing and DDR (level 2) elicited energy expenditure, heart rate, perceived exertion, and ventilatory responses that were comparable to or greater than those elicited by moderate-intensity walking on a treadmill. Similar results were found by Lanningham-Foster and colleagues (2009) among 22 children aged 10-14 and adults in that energy expenditure for both groups increased significantly when playing Wii over that expended during all sedentary activities. Staiano and colleagues (2012) explored factors that motivated overweight and obese African American high school students to play Wii during school-based physical activity opportunities. They found greater and more sustained energy expenditure over time and noted that players’ various intrinsic motivations to play also influenced their level of energy expenditure. Mellecker and McManus (2008) determined that energy expenditure and heart rate were greater during times of active play than in seated play. Fawkner and colleagues (2010) studied 20 high school–age girls and found that dance simulation games provided an opportunity for most subjects to achieve a moderate-intensity level of physical activity. The authors conclude that regular use of the games aids in promoting health through physical activity. Haddock and colleagues (2009) conducted ergometer tests with children aged 7-14 and found increased oxygen consumption and energy expenditure above baseline determinations. Maddison and colleagues (2007), studying children aged 10-14, found that active video game playing led to significant increases in energy expenditure, heart rate, and activity counts in comparison with baseline values. They conclude that playing these games for short time periods is comparable to light- to moderate-intensity conventional modes of exercise, including walking, skipping, and jogging. Mhurchu and colleagues (2008) also conclude that a short-term intervention involving active video games is likely to be an effective means of increasing children’s overall level of physical activity. Additionally, Sit and colleagues (2010), studying the effects of active gaming among 10-year-old children in Hong Kong, found the children to be significantly more physically active while playing interactive games compared with screen-based games.

Exergaming appears to increase acute physical activity among users and is being used in school settings because it is appealing to students. Despite active research in the area of exergaming and physical activity, however, exergaming’s utility for increasing acute and habitual physical activity specifically in the physical education setting has yet to be confirmed. Further, results of studies conducted in nonlaboratory and nonschool settings have been mixed (Baranowski et al., 2008). Moreover, any physical activity changes that do occur may not be sufficient to stimulate physiologic changes. For example, White and colleagues (2009) examined the effects

of Nintendo Wii on physiologic changes. Although energy expenditure was raised above resting values during active gaming, the rise was not significant enough to qualify as part of the daily 60 minutes or more of vigorous-or moderate-intensity exercise recommended for children.

While collecting data on the effects of Nintendo Wii on 11-year-olds in New Zealand, White and colleagues (2009) found that active video games generated higher energy expenditure than both resting and inactive screen watching. They determined, however, that active gaming is a “low-intensity” physical activity. Therefore, it may be helpful in reducing the amount of sedentary behavior, but it should not be used as a replacement for more conventional modes of physical activity. Sun (2012) found that active gaming can increase student motivation to engage in physical activity, but the motivation may decrease as a result of prolonged exposure to the same games. This study also found that exergaming lessons provided less physical activity for children than regular conventional physical education. For inactive children, however, the exergaming environment is conducive to more active participation in the game-based physical activities than in conventional physical education (Fogel et al., 2010). Finally, Sheehan and Katz (2012) found that among school-age children the use of active gaming added to postural stability, an important component of motor skills development.

From the research cited above, as well as ongoing research being conducted by the Health Games Research Project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, active gaming is promising as a means of providing young children an opportunity to become more physically active and helping them meet the recommended 60 or more minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per day. Different types of games may influence energy expenditure differentially, and some may serve solely as motivation. Selected games also appear to hold greater promise for increasing energy expenditure, while others invite youth to be physically active through motivational engagement. The dynamic and evolving field of active gaming is a promising area for future research as more opportunities arise to become physically active throughout the school environment.

Other Innovative Programs

While several evidence-based physical education programs—such as the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) and Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK)—are being implemented in schools, many innovative programs also have been implemented nationwide that are motivating and contribute to skills attainment while engaging youth in activities that are fun and fitness oriented. These programs include water sports, involving sailing, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, and paddle boarding; adventure activities such as Project Adventure; winter sports, such as

snow skiing and snowshoeing; and extreme sports, such as in-line skating, skateboarding, and cycling.

Differences Among Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

Instructional opportunities vary within and among school levels as a result of discrepancies in state policy mandates. Although the time to be devoted to physical education (e.g., 150 minutes per week for elementary schools and 225 minutes per week for secondary schools) is commonly included in most state mandates, actual time allocation in school schedules is uncertain and often left to the discretion of local education officials.

With respect to content, in both elementary and secondary schools, physical activity is an assumed rather than an intended outcome except in the fitness education model. The goals of skill development and knowledge growth in physical education presumably are accomplished through participation in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity. Data are lacking, however, to support the claim that physical activity offered to further the attainment of skills and knowledge is of vigorous or moderate intensity and is of sufficient duration for children to reap health benefits.

Children in Nontraditional Schools

Research on physical education, physical activity, and sports opportunities in nontraditional school settings (charter schools, home schools, and correctional facilities) is extremely limited. Two intervention studies focused on charter schools addressed issues with Mexican American children. In the first (Johnston et al., 2010), 10- to 14-year-old children were randomly assigned to either an instructor-led intervention or a self-help intervention for 2 years. The instructor-led intervention was a structured daily opportunity for the students to learn about nutrition and to engage in structured physical activities. The results indicate that the children in the instructor-led intervention lost more weight at the end of the intervention than those in the self-help condition. In the second study (Romero, 2012), 11- to 16-year-old Mexican American children from low-income families participated in a 5-week, 10-lesson, hip-hop dance physical activity intervention. In comparison with data collected prior to the intervention, the children reported greater frequency of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity, lower perceived community barriers to physical activity, and stronger self-efficacy for physical activity. Collectively, the results of these two studies suggest that a structured physical activity intervention can be effective in enhancing and enriching physical activity opportunities for Mexican American adolescents in charter schools.

Research on physical activity among home-schooled children is also limited. The only study found was published in 2004 (Welk et al., 2004). It describes differences in physical fitness, psychosocial correlates of physical activity, and physical activity between home-schooled children and their public school counterparts aged 9-16. No significant differences were found between the two groups of children on the measures used, but the researchers did note that the home-schooled children tended to be less physically active.

Research on physical education and physical activity in juvenile correction institutions is equally scarce. Munson and colleagues (1985, 1988) conducted studies on the use of physical activity programs as a behavior mediation intervention strategy and compared its impact on juvenile delinquents’ behavior change with that of other intervention strategies. They found that physical activity did not have a stronger impact than other programs on change in delinquent behavior.

Fitness Assessment

All states except Iowa have adopted state standards for physical education. However, the extent to which students achieve the standards is limited since no accountability is required.

An analysis of motor skills competency, strategic knowledge, physical activity, and physical fitness among 180 4th- and 5th-grade children demonstrated that the physical education standards in force were difficult to attain (Erwin and Castelli, 2008). Among the study participants, fewer than a half (47 percent) were deemed motor competent, 77 percent demonstrated adequate progress in knowledge, only 40 percent were in the Healthy Fitness Zone on all five components of the Fitnessgram fitness assessment, and merely 15 percent engaged in 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. Clearly most of the children failed to meet benchmark measures of performance for this developmental stage. This evidence highlights the need for additional physical activity opportunities within and beyond physical education to enhance opportunities for students to achieve the standards.

Relationships among these student-learning outcomes were further decomposed in a study of 230 children (Castelli and Valley, 2007). The authors determined that aerobic fitness and the number of fitness test scores in the Healthy Fitness Zone were the best predictors of daily engagement in physical activity relative to factors of gender, age, body mass index (BMI), motor skills competency, and knowledge. However, in-class engagement in physical activity was best predicted by aerobic fitness and motor skills competence, suggesting that knowledge and skills should not be overlooked in a balanced physical education curriculum intended to promote lifelong physical activity.

As an untested area, student assessment in physical education has been conducted on many indicators other than learning outcomes. As reported in a seminal study (Hensley and East, 1989), physical education teachers base learning assessment on participation (96 percent), effort (88 percent), attitude (76 percent), sportsmanship (75 percent), dressing out (72 percent), improvement (68 percent), attendance (58 percent), observation of skills (58 percent), knowledge tests (46 percent), skills tests (45 percent), potential (25 percent), and homework (11 percent). These data, while several years old, show that most learning assessments in physical education fail to target relevant learning objectives such as knowledge, skills, and physical activity behavior. The development of teacher-friendly learning assessments consistent with national and/or state standards is sorely needed.

Fitness assessment in the school environment can serve multiple purposes. On the one hand, it can provide both teacher and student with information about the student’s current fitness level relative to a criterion-referenced standard, yield valid information that can serve as the basis for developing a personal fitness or exercise program based on current fitness levels, motivate students to do better to achieve a minimum standard of health-related fitness where deficiencies exist, and possibly assist in the identification of potential future health problems. On the other hand, an overall analysis of student fitness assessments provides valuable data that can enable teachers to assess learner outcomes in the physical education curriculum and assess the present curriculum to determine whether it includes sufficient fitness education to allow students to make fitness gains throughout the school year. Fitness assessment also provides a unique opportunity for schools to track data on students longitudinally. The ultimate goal of assessing student fitness in the school environment should be to educate students on the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle throughout the life span.

When administering fitness assessments in the school setting, caution is essential to ensure confidentiality of the results. The results and their interpretation should be shared with students and parents/guardians to have the greatest impact. To ensure the greatest benefits from fitness assessment, NASPE (2010) developed a position statement on “Appropriate Uses of Fitness Measurement.” Table 5-1 outlines appropriate and inappropriate practices related to fitness testing in schools and other educational settings.

When fitness assessment becomes part of a quality physical education program, teaching and learning strategies will guide all students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain and improve their personal health-related fitness as part of their commitment to lifelong healthy lifestyles. Teachers who incorporate fitness education as a thread throughout all curricula will make the greatest impact in engaging and motivating

TABLE 5-1 Appropriate and Inappropriate Practices Related to Fitness Testing in Schools and Other Educational Settings

students to participate in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity in order to maintain and/or improve their personal health-related fitness. For example, the development of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program with the use of a criterion-referenced platform provides students with the educational benefits of fitness assessment knowledge (see Box 5-2 ). The emergence of one national fitness assessment, Fitnessgram, along with professional development and recognition protocols, further supports fitness education in the school environment.

Online Physical Education

Online physical education is a growing trend. Fully 59 percent of states allow required physical education credits to be earned through online courses. Only just over half of these states require that the online courses be taught by state-certified physical education teachers. Daum and Buschner (2012) report that, in general, online physical education focuses more on cognitive knowledge than physical skill or physical activity, many online courses fail to meet national standards for learning and physical activity

Presidential Youth Fitness Program

The Presidential Youth Fitness Program, launched in September 2012, is a comprehensive program that provides training and resources to schools for assessing, tracking, and recognizing youth fitness. The program promotes fitness testing as one component of a comprehensive physical education curriculum that emphasizes regular physical activity. The program includes a health-related fitness assessment, professional development, and motivational recognition. A key to the program’s success is helping educators facilitate a quality fitness assessment experience. The Presidential Youth Fitness Program was developed in partnership with the Cooper Institute; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; and the Amateur Athletic Union.

The implementation of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program aligns with the Institute of Medicine report Fitness Measures and Health Outcomes in Youth, the result of a study whose primary purpose was to evaluate the relationship between fitness components and health and develop recommendations for health-related fitness tests for a national youth survey (IOM, 2012b). The report includes guidance on fitness assessments in the school setting. It confirms that Fitnessgram, used in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, is a valid, reliable, and feasible tool for use in schools to measure health-related fitness. Use of the Fitnessgram represents a transition from the current test, which focuses on performance rather than health and is based on normative rather than criterion-referenced data, to a criterion-referenced, health-related fitness assessment instrument. Accompanying the assessment, as part of a comprehensive program, are education and training through professional development, awards, and recognition.

SOURCE: Presidential Youth Fitness Program, 2013.

guidelines, and teachers are not concerned about students’ accountability for learning.

Although online courses differ from traditional in-school physical education courses in the delivery of instruction, the standards and benchmarks for these courses must mirror those adopted by each individual state, especially when the course is taken to meet high school graduation requirements.

NASPE (2007a, p. 2) recommends that all physical education programs include “opportunity to learn, meaningful content, appropriate instruction, and student and program assessment.” If an online physical education program meets these standards, it may be just as effective as a face-to-face program. Online physical education can be tailored to each student’s needs, and it helps students learn how to exercise independently. The full NASPE position statement on online physical education can be found at http://www.ncpublic-schools.org/docs/curriculum/healthfulliving/resources/onlinepeguidelines.pdf (accessed February 1, 2013). The physical education policy of one online school, the Florida Virtual School, is presented in Box 5-3 .

Florida Virtual School’s Physical Education Policy

Sections 1001.11(7) and 1003.453(2) of the Florida Statutes require that every school district have a current version of its Physical Education Policy on the district website. This document satisfies that requirement.

Florida law defines “physical education” to mean:

“the development or maintenance of skills related to strength, agility, flexibility, movement, and stamina, including dance; the development of knowledge and skills regarding teamwork and fair play; the development of knowledge and skills regarding nutrition and physical fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle; and the development of positive attitudes regarding sound nutrition and physical activity as a component of personal well-being.

Florida Virtual School [FLVS] courses are designed to develop overall health and well-being through structured learning experiences, appropriate instruction, and meaningful content. FLVS provides a quality Physical Education program in which students can experience success and develop positive attitudes about physical activity so that they can adopt healthy and physically active lifestyles. Programs are flexible to accommodate individual student interests and activity levels in a learning environment that is developmentally appropriate, safe, and supportive.”

SOURCE: Excerpted from FLVS, 2013.

Online physical education provides another option for helping students meet the standards for physical education if they lack room in their schedule for face-to-face classes, need to make up credit, or are just looking for an alternative to the traditional physical education class. On the other hand, online courses may not be a successful mode of instruction for students with poor time management or technology skills. According to Daum and Buschner (2012), online learning is changing the education landscape despite the limited empirical research and conflicting results on its effectiveness in producing student learning. Through a survey involving 45 online high school physical education teachers, the authors found that almost three-fourths of the courses they taught failed to meet the national guideline for secondary schools of 225 minutes of physical education per week. Most of the courses required physical activity 3 days per week, while six courses required no physical activity. The teachers expressed support, hesitation, and even opposition toward online physical education.

Scheduling Decisions

Lesson scheduling is commonly at the discretion of school principals in the United States. The amount of time dedicated to each subject is often mandated by federal or state statutes. Local education agencies or school districts have latitude to make local decisions that go beyond these federal or state mandates. Often the way courses are scheduled to fill the school day is determined by the managerial skills of the administrator making the decisions or is based on a computer program that generates individual teacher schedules.

Successful curriculum change requires supportive scheduling (see Kramer and Keller, 2008, for an example of curriculum reform in mathematics). More research is needed on the effects of scheduling of physical education. In one such attempt designed to examine the impact of content and lesson length on calorie expenditure in middle school physical education, Chen and colleagues (2012) found that a lesson lasting 45-60 minutes with sport skills or fitness exercises as the major content would enable middle school students to expend more calories than either shorter (30-40 minutes) or longer (65-90 minutes) lessons. The evidence from such research can be used to guide allocation of the recommended weekly amount of physical education (150 minutes for elementary schools, 225 minutes for secondary schools) to achieve optimal health benefits for youth. Additional discussion of scheduling is provided later in this chapter in the section on solutions for overcoming the barriers to quality physical education.

IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION TO CHILD DEVELOPMENT

As discussed in Chapter 3 , there is a direct correlation between regular participation in physical activity and health in school-age children, suggesting that physical activity provides important benefits directly to the individual child (HHS, 2008). Physical activity during a school day may also be associated with academic benefits ( Chapter 4 ) and children’s social and emotional well-being (HHS, 2008; Chapter 3 ). Physical education, along with other opportunities for physical activity in the school environment (discussed in Chapter 6 ), is important for optimal health and development in school-age children. It may also serve as a preventive measure for adult conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Little has been learned about the short- and long-term effectiveness of physical education in addressing public health issues (Pate et al., 2011). Because the learning objectives of physical education have not included improvement in health status as a direct measure, indirect measures and correlates have been used as surrogates. However, some promising research, such as that conducted by Morgan and colleagues (2007), has demonstrated that students are more physically active on days when they participate in physical education classes. Further, there is no evidence of a compensatory effect such that children having been active during physical education elect not to participate in additional physical activity on that day. Accordingly, quality physical education contributes to a child’s daily accumulation of physical activity and is of particular importance for children who are overweight or who lack access to these opportunities in the home environment (NASPE, 2012).

Unlike other physical activity in school (e.g., intramural or extramural sports), physical education represents the only time and place for every child to learn knowledge and skills related to physical activity and to be physically active during the school day. It also is currently the only time and place for all children to engage in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity safely because of the structured and specialist-supervised instructional environment. It is expected that children will use the skills and knowledge learned in physical education in other physical activity opportunities in school, such as active recess, active transportation, and intramural sports. For these reasons, physical education programming has been identified as the foundation on which multicomponent or coordinated approaches incorporating other physical activity opportunities can be designed and promoted.

Coordinated approaches in one form or another have existed since the early 1900s, but it was not until the 21st century that physical education was acknowledged as the foundation for these approaches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2010), the National Association

of State Boards of Education (NASBE; 2012), and NASPE (2004, 2010) all support this view because physical education provides students with the tools needed to establish and maintain a physically active lifestyle throughout their life span. As discussed in Chapter 3 , research on motor skills development has provided evidence linking physical skill proficiency levels to participation in physical activity and fitness (Stodden et al., 2008, 2009). Exercise psychology research also has identified children’s perceived skill competence as a correlate of their motivation for participation in physical activity (Sallis et al., 2000). When school-based multicomponent interventions include physical activities experienced in physical education that are enjoyable and developmentally appropriate, such coordinated efforts are plausible and likely to be effective in producing health benefits (Corbin, 2002). Accordingly, two of the Healthy People 2020 (Healthy People 2020, 2010) objectives for physical activity in youth relate to physical education: “PA-4: Increase the proportion of the Nation’s public and private schools that require daily physical education for all students ” and “PA-5: Increase the proportion of adolescents who participate in daily school physical education.” 1

The importance of physical education to the physical, cognitive, and social aspects of child development has been acknowledged by many federal, state, and local health and education agencies. Many private entities throughout the country likewise have offered their support and recommendations for strengthening physical education. For example, the Institute of Medicine (2012a), in its report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation , points to the need to strengthen physical education to ensure that all children engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity per school day. Similarly, the National Physical Activity Plan (2010), developed by a group of national organizations at the forefront of public health and physical activity, comprises a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity in all segments of schools. The plan is intended to create a national culture that supports physically active lifestyles so that its vision that “one day, all Americans will be physically active and they will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity” can be realized. To accomplish this ultimate goal, the plan calls for improvement in the quantity and quality of physical education for students from prekindergarten through 12th grade through significant policy initiatives at the federal and state levels that guide and fund physical education and other physical activity programs. Specifically, the plan prescribes seven specific tactics presented in Box 5-4 .

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1 Available online at http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/pdfs/PhysicalActivity.pdf (accessed February 1, 2013).

Medical professional associations, such as the American Cancer Society (ACS), American Diabetes Association (ADA), and American Heart Association (AHA), have long acknowledged the importance of physical education and have endorsed policies designed to strengthen it. A position statement on physical education from the ACS Cancer Action Network, ADA, and AHA (2012) calls for support for quality physical education and endorses including physical education as an important part of a student’s comprehensive, well-rounded education program because of its positive impact on lifelong health and well-being. Further, physical education policy should make quality the priority while also aiming to increase the amount of time physical education is offered in schools.

Recently, private-sector organizations—such as the NFL through its Play60 program—have been joining efforts to ensure that youth meet the guideline of at least 60 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per day. One such initiative is Nike’s (2012) Designed to Move: A Physical Activity Action Agenda , a framework for improving access to physical activity for all American children in schools. Although the framework does not focus exclusively on physical education, it does imply the important role of physical education in the action agenda (see Box 5-5 ).

Finally, in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) launched the Let’s Move In School initiative, which takes a holistic approach to the promotion of physical activity in schools. The purpose of the initiative is to help elementary and secondary schools launch the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP), which is focused on strengthening physical education and promoting all opportunities for physical activity in school. The CSPAP in any given school is intended to accomplish two goals: (1) “provide a variety of school-based physical activity opportunities that enable all students to participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day” and (2) “provide coordination among the CSPAP components to maximize understanding, application, and practice of the knowledge and skills learned in physical education so that all students will be fully physically educated and well-equipped for a lifetime of physical activity” (AAHPERD, 2012). The five CSPAP components, considered vital for developing a physically educated and physically active child, are physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community involvement (AAHPERD, 2012). Schools are allowed to implement all or selected components.

An AAHPERD (2011) survey indicated that 16 percent of elementary schools, 13 percent of middle schools, and 6 percent of high schools (from a self-responding nationwide sample, not drawn systematically) had implemented a CSPAP since the program was launched. Although most schools

National Physical Activity Plan: Strategy 2

The National Physical Activity Plan’s Strategy 2 is as follows:

Strategy 2: Develop and implement state and school district policies requiring school accountability for the quality and quantity of physical education and physical activity programs.

1. Advocate for binding requirements for PreK-12 standards-based physical education that address state standards, curriculum time, class size, and employment of certified, highly qualified physical education teachers in accordance with national standards and guidelines, such as those published by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).

2. Advocate for local, state and national standards that emphasize provision of high levels of physical activity in physical education (e.g., 50 percent of class time in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity).

sampled (90 percent) provided physical education, the percentage declined through middle school and high school, such that only 44 percent of high schools provided physical education to seniors. In most schools (92 percent), classes were taught by teachers certified to teach physical education.

More than 76 percent of elementary schools provided daily recess for children, and 31 percent had instituted a policy prohibiting teachers from withholding children from participating in recess for disciplinary reasons. In 56 percent of elementary schools that had implemented a CSPAP, physical activity was encouraged between lessons/classes; in 44 percent it was integrated into academic lessons; and in 43 percent the school day started with physical activity programs.

The percentage of schools that offered intramural sports clubs to at least 25 percent of students declined from 62 percent of middle schools to

3. Enact federal legislation, such as the FIT Kids Act, to require school accountability for the quality and quantity of physical education and physical activity programs.

4. Provide local, state, and national funding to ensure that schools have the resources (e.g., facilities, equipment, appropriately trained staff) to provide high-quality physical education and activity programming. Designate the largest portion of funding for schools that are underresourced. Work with states to identify areas of greatest need.

5. Develop and implement state-level policies that require school districts to report on the quality and quantity of physical education and physical activity programs.

6. Develop and implement a measurement and reporting system to determine the progress of states toward meeting this strategy. Include in this measurement and reporting system data to monitor the benefits and adaptations made or needed for children with disabilities.

7. Require school districts to annually collect, monitor, and track students’ health-related fitness data, including body mass index.

SOURCE: National Physical Activity Plan, 2010.

50 percent of high school for males, and from 53 to 40 percent, respectively, for females. Interscholastic sports were offered in 89 percent of high schools. Among them, approximately 70 percent involved at least 25 percent of the male student population participating and 58 percent involved at least 25 percent of the female student population participating. Sixty-five percent of high schools had “cut” policies, which could limit the enrollment of students in interscholastic sports.

CHARACTERISTICS OF QUALITY PHYSICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

As noted, a high-quality physical education program can help youth meet the guideline of at least 60 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per day. This increase in physical activity should be bal-

Nike’s Designed to Move: A Physical Activity Action Agenda

1. Universal access: Design programs that are effective for every child, including those who face the most barriers to participating in physical activity.

2. Age appropriate: Physical activities and tasks that are systematically designed for a child’s physical, social, and emotional development, as well as his or her physical and emotional safety, are a non-negotiable component of good program design.

3. Dosage and duration: Maximum benefit for school-aged children and adolescents comes from group-based activity for at least 60 minutes per day that allows for increased mastery and skill level over time.

4. Fun: Create early positive experiences that keep students coming back for more, and let them have a say in what “fun” actually is.

5. Incentives and motivation: Focus on the “personal best” versus winning or losing.

6. Feedback to kids: Successful programs build group and individual goal setting and feedback into programs.

7. Teaching, coaching, and mentorship: Teachers of physical education, coaches, and mentors can make or break the experience for students. They should be prepared through proper training and included in stakeholder conversations. A well-trained physical activity workforce shares a common commitment and principles that promote physical activity among children. Great leaders create positive experiences and influence all learners.

SOURCE: Excerpted from Nike, 2012.

anced with appropriate attention to skill development and to national education standards for quality physical education (see Box 5-6 ). In a recent literature review, Bassett and colleagues (2013) found that physical education contributes to children achieving an average of 23 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity daily. However, the time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity could be increased by 6 minutes if the physical education curriculum were to incorporate a standardized curriculum such as SPARK (discussed in detail below) (Bassett et al., 2013). Thus, it is possible for physical education to contribute to youth meeting at least half (30 minutes) of their daily requirement for vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity. To help children grow holistically, however, physical education needs to achieve other learning goals when children are active. To this end, physical education programs must possess the quality characteristics specified by NASPE (2007b, 2009b,c) (see Box 5-6 ). Designing and implementing a physical education program with these characteristics in mind should ensure that the time and curricular materials of the program enable students to achieve the goals of becoming knowledgeable exercisers and skillful movers who value and adopt a physically active, healthy lifestyle.

Findings from research on effective physical education support these characteristics as the benchmarks for quality programs. In an attempt to understand what effective physical education looks like, Castelli and Rink (2003) conducted a mixed-methods comparison of 62 physical education programs in which a high percentage of students achieved the state physical education learning standards with programs whose students did not achieve the standards. Comprehensive data derived from student performance, teacher surveys, and onsite observations demonstrated that highly effective physical education programs were housed in cohesive, long-standing departments that experienced more facilitators (e.g., positive policy, supportive administration) than inhibitors (e.g., marginalized status as a subject matter within the school). Further, effective programs made curricular changes prior to the enactment of state-level policy, while ineffective programs waited to make changes until they were told to do so. The teachers in ineffective programs had misconceptions about student performance and, in general, lower expectations of student performance and behavior.

Examples of Evidence-Based Physical Education Curricular Programs

Two large-scale intervention studies—SPARK and CATCH—are discussed in this section as examples of how programs can be structured to increase vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity in physical education classes.

NASPE’s Characteristics of a High-Quality Physical Education Program

Opportunity to learn

  • All students are required to take physical education.
  • Instructional periods total 150 minutes per week (elementary schools) and 225 minutes per week (middle and secondary schools).
  • Physical education class size is consistent with that of other subject areas.
  • A qualified physical education specialist provides a developmentally appropriate program.
  • Equipment and facilities are adequate and safe.

Meaningful content

  • A written, sequential curriculum for grades PreK-12 is based on state and/or national standards for physical education.
  • Instruction in a variety of motor skills is designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social/emotional development of every child.
  • Fitness education and assessment are designed to help children understand, improve, and/or maintain physical well-being.
  • Curriculum fosters the development of cognitive concepts about motor skill and fitness.
  • Opportunities are provided to improve emerging social and cooperative skills and gain a multicultural perspective.
  • Curriculum promotes regular amounts of appropriate physical activity now and throughout life.

The aim of SPARK, a research-based curriculum, is to improve the health, fitness, and physical activity levels of youth by creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness. Each SPARK program “fosters environmental and behavioral change by providing a coordinated package of highly active curriculum, on-site teacher training, extensive follow-up support, and content-matched equipment focused on the development of healthy lifestyles, motor skills and movement knowledge, and social and personal skills” (SPARK, 2013).

Appropriate instruction

  • Full inclusion of all students.
  • Maximum practice opportunities for class activities.
  • Well-designed lessons that facilitate student learning.
  • Out-of-school assignments that support learning and practice.
  • Physical activity not assigned or withheld as punishment.
  • Regular assessment to monitor and reinforce student learning.

Student and program assessment

  • Assessment is an ongoing, vital part of the physical education program.
  • Formative and summative assessments of student progress are conducted.
  • Student assessments are aligned with state/national physical education standards and the written physical education curriculum.
  • Assessment of program elements that support quality physical education is conducted.
  • Stakeholders periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the total physical education program.

SOURCE: Adapted from NASPE, 2009c.

Research supports the use of SPARK as a platform for improving the quality of physical activity instruction in schools. The SPARK curriculum has demonstrated the ability to improve student activity levels, increase the number of minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity for students, and provide sustainable and positive change in a school district (Myers-Schieffer and Thomas, 2012). In one study, researchers found that “the children were positive about this specific curriculum. This is gratifying because one of the goals of the program was to engender positive feeling

in the students toward physical activity” (McKenzie et al., 1994, p. 213). In another study, a SPARK intervention is credited with exposing students to an increase in motor skills drills, which in turn led to a higher level of manipulative motor skills acquisition (McKenzie et al., 1998). As a result of improved activity levels, students who participated in the SPARK curriculum improved their times in the 1-mile run and sit-up tests (Sallis et al., 1997). Finally, System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) classroom observations revealed that students in SPARK classes increased their time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per class from 17.8 to up to 40.2 minutes compared with students in non-SPARK classes, who engaged in 17.8 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per class. Teachers involved in the SPARK intervention offered increased levels of fitness promotion and provided students with an increased amount of general instruction and increased minutes of attention per week (McKenzie et al., 1997; Myers-Schieffer and Thomas, 2012).

The CATCH program teaches children in grades K-8 how to be healthy throughout their lifetimes through a coordinated approach that involves engaging the community, families, and educators to work together. The goal of CATCH is to impact children’s health behaviors positively, improve the school health environment, and influence and change school health policies and practices in order to reduce and eliminate health risk factors and risk-related behaviors of students (Perry et al., 1990). CATCH significantly increases the physical activity levels of students during physical education class and provides a wide range of learning experiences for students of all abilities.

CATCH began as a clinical trial from 1991 to 1994 in four regional sites: Tulane University in New Orleans; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; and the University of Texas in Houston. The participants were elementary school children in grades 3 through 5 and included children from multiethnic backgrounds. Upon completion of the main trial, CATCH had succeeded in producing positive and lasting changes in children’s behaviors, including decreasing fat consumption and increasing physical activity (Luepker et al., 1996). The changes were maintained for 3 years postintervention (Nader et al., 1999).

National Standards

Because physical education is part of the curriculum in schools, its quality should be judged only by whether and to what extent children have learned and benefited from it. In a landmark document on learning goals, Moving into the Future: National Standards for Physical Education , NASPE (2004) proposes six student learning standards specifying both conceptual and behavioral characteristics that a physically educated person must pos-

sess and display (see Box 5-7 ). These characteristics encompass knowledge, skill, behavior, and confidence critical to the development and maintenance of health and to the enjoyment of a physically active, healthful lifestyle.

Certified Physical Education Specialists as the Main Teaching Force

If standards are the gauge for quality, teachers make the difference in a particular school in terms of the extent to which students can achieve the standards. Research has made clear that certified physical education specialists can provide more and longer opportunities for students to meet physical activity guidelines compared with classroom teachers trained to teach physical education (McKenzie et al., 2001). Moreover, when teachers are taught strategies to encourage vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity in physical education class, a significant increase in physical activity can be expected (Lonsdale et al., 2013). The role of certified physical

Standards for a Physically Educated Person

education specialists in health-enhancing physical education has become increasingly critical (McKenzie, 2007). The evidence is unequivocal regarding the need for a continued effort to train physical education specialists and the need for schools to continue to employ them as the main teaching force designing and implementing health-enhancing physical education programs to the fullest extent.

Aside from serving as the instructional leader for physical education, physical education specialists can serve as expert resources for classroom teachers in the implementation of classroom physical activity breaks and recess (discussed in detail in Chapter 6 ). Their expertise in age-appropriate physical activity helps ensure that students are participating in activities that are fun and engaging. Additionally, as the catalyst for a healthy school environment, the physical education specialist can assist in the design and delivery of intramural programs provided before and after school, as well as serve as a community outreach specialist for onsite activity partnerships. For physical education specialists interested in a more formal role as a physical activity leader at their school, NASPE has developed a director of physical activity certification program.

It is a commonly held notion of society that to maintain the quality of education, schools should hire teachers certified to teach in the subject matter areas in which they are licensed. Unfortunately, in the United States, not all physical education classes are taught by certified physical education specialists. Indeed, 68 percent of elementary schools allow classroom teachers (generalists) to teach physical education (NASPE, 2012). Certification or licensure of middle/junior high school and high school physical education teachers is required in only 82 percent and 90 percent of states (NASPE, 2012), respectively. Only 37 states (72 percent) have a requirement for professional development and continuing education hours/credit for physical education teachers to maintain or renew their certification, with renewal time ranging from 3 to 5 years (NASPE, 2012). Twenty-eight states (55 percent) allow temporary/emergency certificates to teach physical education that are valid for 1 to 3 years (NASPE, 2012). The basic requirements for emergency certification include a bachelor’s degree in teaching or in any area except physical education. Only 31 states (60 percent) support physical education teachers going through the national board certification process, and only New York requires each school district to have a licensed physical education specialist serving as a physical education coordinator (NASPE, 2012).

Preservice Education for Teachers

Teaching physical education to children effectively and safely requires specific knowledge about children and their physical/mental development,

body composition (anatomy) and functions (physiology and biomechanics), and motor skills development and acquisition. In addition, teaching physical education requires substantial knowledge and skill in pedagogy—the science and art of teaching. Box 5-8 lists the NASPE standards for beginning physical education teachers who have completed a bachelor’s teacher training program and those who have completed advanced (master’s-level) training.

These standards are accompanied by measurement rubrics (unacceptable, acceptable, and target, with target being exemplary) developed jointly by NASPE and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for evaluating physical education teacher education programs across the country (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico). NCATE identified a total of 133 physical education teacher education programs as “nationally recognized.” The committee was unable to determine how many programs nationwide have met the minimum standards (not at the nationally recognized level) or locate reliable information on the total number of physical education teacher education programs. A Web search using the term “physical education” resulted in two different but relatively reliable statistics: 720 (College Board, 2013) and 1,945 (Peterson’s, 2013). But the data sources did not distinguish between physical education teaching majors and other kinesiology concentrations (e.g., sports medicine, exercise physiology/fitness). Statistics on the number of physical education teacher education programs and their quality based on the NASPE standards are needed.

The current wave of effort to curb physical inactivity among youth has begun to influence teacher education programs. According to a national survey study (Kulinna et al., 2010), current teacher candidates believe that helping K-12 students become physically active and fit is the first priority of physical education, followed by helping them actualize their own goals, develop motor skills, and become responsible. These data appear to suggest that physical education teacher education programs are beginning to turn from a traditionally sports- and skills-centered model to a more comprehensive, physical activity– and health-centered model. This change is important in that the role of both current and future physical education teachers extends beyond merely teaching their classes to advancing public health goals (McKenzie, 2007).

In many universities, however, teacher education programs in physical education have either been reduced or eliminated because of the decline in physical education requirements, which has resulted in a decrease in the number of physical education teachers being employed. Concomitantly, physical education teacher education programs are experiencing an unprecedented crisis. A recent report indicates that, in school year 2008-2009, only 23 doctorate-granting kinesiology departments offered doctoral programs

National Association for Sport and Physical Education Standards for Beginning Physical Education Teachers

Initial Standards

1. Scientific and theoretical knowledge: Physical education teacher candidates know and apply discipline-specific scientific and theoretical concepts critical to the development of physically educated individuals.

2. Skill-based and fitness-based competence: Physical education teacher candidates are physically educated individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to demonstrate competent movement performance and health-enhancing fitness as delineated in the NASPE K-12 standards.

3. Planning and implementation: Physical education teacher candidates plan and implement developmentally appropriate learning experiences aligned with local, state, and national standards to address the diverse needs of all students.

4. Instructional delivery and management: Physical education teacher candidates use effective communication and pedagogical skills and strategies to enhance student engagement and learning.

that were training future teacher educators (Boyce and Rikard, 2011a). A total of 140 doctoral students were receiving training offered by 114 professors (including part-time), and 11 percent of those professors were planning to retire. Boyce and Rikard (2011a) report that in the past 13 years, 479 doctoral students graduated as physical education teacher educators—36.8 each year on average—89 percent of whom were able to find positions in colleges and universities. During the same period, 61 positions were open, only 39 of which were filled (64 percent), with an applicant pool of 38 candidates with earned degrees and 13 who completed the doctoral course-work but did not complete the dissertation research (Boyce and Rikard, 2011b). Clearly there is a shortage of physical education teacher educators

5. Impact on student learning: Physical education teacher candidates use assessments and reflection to foster student learning and inform decisions about instruction.

6. Professionalism: Physical education teacher candidates demonstrate dispositions essential to becoming effective professionals.

Advanced Standards

1. Professional knowledge: Advanced physical education teacher candidates come to understand disciplinary content knowledge, the application of content knowledge to teaching physical education, and modes of inquiry that form the bases for physical education programs and instruction.

2. Professional practice: Advanced physical education teacher candidates (AC) use content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) to design and conduct appropriate learning experiences that facilitate and enhance the growth of learners.

3. Professional leadership: Advanced physical education teacher candidates are continuous, collaborative learners who further their own professional development and use their abilities to contribute to the profession.

SOURCE: Excerpted from NASPE, 2009a.

in higher education institutions. Because of a lack of national tracking data on physical education graduates, the extent to which the teacher educator shortage has impacted and will impact the need to supply quality physical education teachers to the nation is unclear.

Professional Development

In all educational settings, professional development for teachers and administrators is a continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills that relate to an educator’s profession or academic subject area, job responsibilities, or work environment. Professional development is essential for improving classroom instruction and student achievement (Ball and

Cohen, 1999; Cohen and Hill, 2000). Through a variety of delivery methods, professional development activities may include credit or noncredit courses, classroom or online venues, workshops, seminars, teleconferences, and webinars, with the ultimate goal of improving the delivery of instruction to enhance student achievement.

Yoon and colleagues (2007) assert that a strong link exists among professional development, teacher learning and practice, and student achievement. Figure 5-1 , which aligns with the research on effective professional development (Kennedy, 1998; Loucks-Horsley and Matsumoto, 1999; Cohen and Hill, 2000; Garet et al., 2001; Fishman et al., 2003; Guskey and Sparks, 2004), illustrates how (1) professional development enhances teacher knowledge and skills, (2) better knowledge and skills improve classroom teaching, and (3) improved teaching raises student achievement.

The most impactful statement of government policy on the preparation and professional development of teachers was the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Whitehurst, 2002), known as the No Child Left Behind Act. While Title I of the act places highly qualified teachers in the classroom, Title II addresses the same goal by funding professional development for teachers. The importance of quality professional development is well documented in the act.

Professional development, according to the No Child Left Behind Act, should be offered to improve teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter they teach, strengthen their classroom management skills, advance their understanding and implementation of effective teaching strategies, and build their capabilities to address disparities in education. The act states that high-quality professional development programs should have the characteristics listed in Box 5-9 .

Although there is a substantial literature on professional development, only a few high-quality studies relate teachers’ professional development experiences to student outcomes. Recommendations for high-quality professional development tend to emphasize the importance of

image

FIGURE 5-1 Logic model of the impact of professional development on student achievement.

Characteristics of a High-Quality Professional Development Program

1. It is sustained, intensive, and content-focused to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction and teacher performance.

2. It is aligned with and directly related to state academic content standards, student achievement standards, and assessments.

3. It improves and increases teachers’ knowledge of the subjects they teach.

4. It advances teachers’ understanding of effective instructional strategies founded on scientifically based research.

5. It is regularly evaluated for effects on teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Intensive and focused in-service training.

SOURCE: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Public Law 107-110, 115 stat. 1425 (2002).

intense, content-focused experiences, as well as opportunities for peer collaboration and structured induction experiences for new teachers. Wiley and Yoon (1995) and Kennedy (1998) suggest that teaching practice and student achievement are likely to improve when professional development is focused on academic content and curriculum that are aligned with standards-based reform.

Kulinna (2012) used Guskey and Sparks’ (2004) Model of Teacher Change to determine whether students’ physical activity and BMI changed after their teacher underwent a 1-year professional development program. Significant increases in students’ physical activity levels were found, but no significant changes in BMI. Looking at the effect of professional development on changes in behavior among physical education teachers, Martin and colleagues (2008) found that, following a variety of professional development experiences and follow-up sessions, teachers showed increases in their efficacy in attaining motor skills objectives, physical activity and fitness knowledge objectives, and personal and social objectives. These

results lend support to the value of professional development in enhancing teachers’ perceptions of self-efficacy for teaching the curriculum. McCaughtry and colleagues (2006) explored the factors that make teacher professional development successful and what success might mean in terms of teachers’ instructional practices and feelings about change. Results indicated that after teachers completed professional development the resources they gained enabled them to improve their instruction by teaching more content, maximizing student learning opportunities, teaching diverse learners, teaching to development, and increasing classroom safety.

Learning Forward (formerly known as the National Staff Development Council) provides research-based guidelines to assist districts in aligning local professional development programs with qualitative standards. Its Standards for Professional Learning were revised in 2011 and are guided by the relationship between professional learning and student results (see Box 5-10 ). According to Learning Forward (2012):

• When professional learning is standards based, it has greater potential to change what educators know, are able to do, and believe.

• When educators’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions change, they have a broader repertoire of effective strategies to use in adapting their practices to meet performance expectations and students’ learning needs.

• When educator practices improve, students have a greater likelihood of achieving results.

• When student results improve, the cycle repeats for continuous improvement.

• Professional learning standards provide a foundation on which to design professional learning experiences at the district or school level that will assist educators in acquiring the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools.

As a recognized means of providing physical education teachers with the tools necessary to enhance student achievement, quality professional development should be provided on a regular basis with follow-up support, along with a method for determining its effectiveness in meeting both curricular and pedagogical standards. Furthermore, to enhance the fitness achievement of students, school-based professional development should provide instruction on the integration of fitness testing into a curriculum and should include training in protocols, the interpretation and communication of results, and the setting and achievement of fitness goals and recommendations for developing healthy living habits for both students and their parents (IOM, 2012a).

Standards for Professional Learning

Learning communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment.

Leadership: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.

Resources: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.

Data: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.

Learning designs: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.

Implementation: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change.

Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.

SOURCE: Learning Forward, 2012.

POLICIES THAT AFFECT THE QUALITY OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Instructional opportunities for physical activity and physical education are mandated by most states. In comparison with data prior to 2006, more states have developed mandates for physical education at both the elementary and secondary school levels. However, most mandates lack a specified time allocation that ensures meeting the NASPE recommendation of 150 and 225 minutes per week for elementary and secondary schools, respectively (McCullick et al., 2012), despite the fact that physical education has been considered a cornerstone for developing schoolwide multicomponent interventions to address the issue of physical inactivity in schools. Some obstacles to the implementation of quality physical activity are listed in Box 5-11 .

According to Title IX of the No Child Left Behind Act (Part A Sec 9101-11), core academic subjects include “English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, eco-

Obstacles to Implementation of Quality Physical Education

1. Class periods dedicated to physical education are declining at all school levels.

2. Existing discrepancies between policy and implementation with respect to specific time allocation contribute to a reduction in actual instructional time for physical education.

3. There is a potential shortage of physical education specialists to influence the design and maintenance of quality physical education programs.

4. Reductions in active learning time and opportunities in physical education contribute to potential student underachievement on national standards.

5. Disparities may exist in instructional opportunities for children in nontraditional learning settings.

nomics, arts, history, and geography.” If physical education were designated as a core academic subject, it would receive much-needed policy attention that would enhance its overall quality with respect to content offerings, instruction, and accountability. In support of the inclusion of physical education as a core subject, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) reintroduced the Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (PHYSICAL) Act on February 27, 2013, to support and encourage the health and well-being of elementary and secondary school students.

With physical education not being considered a core subject, and amid growing concern regarding the increase in childhood obesity and physical inactivity, several national studies and reports have emphasized the importance of implementing state statutes, laws, and regulations both mandating time requirements for physical education and monitoring compliance. Yet although several national governmental, nongovernmental, private industry, and public health organizations have recommended specific day and time/minute requirements for physical education, no standardized state policy has emerged.

Analysis of State Statutes and Administrative Codes

In the United States, school policies on curriculum and school-based activities are determined by local education agencies according to state laws governing educational activities. Decisions about what to teach, who will teach it, and what level of resources will be provided are made by the state, county or district, and school administration. To better understand the status of state statutes, administrative codes, and policies impacting physical education in schools, the committee analyzed NASBE’s State School Health Policy Database (NASBE, 2012; www.nasbe.org/healthy_schools [accessed February 1, 2013]). Of importance to this analysis is the distinction made between state statutes and administrative codes, which accords with the definition proffered by Perna and colleagues (2012): “At the state level, the 2 primary official public policy levers referred to as ‘codified law’ used for developing school-based physical education policy are 1) statutory laws (laws enacted by the given State legislature); and 2) administrative laws (rule and regulations by state executive branch agencies, such as the Department of Education)” (p. 1594). A second point to note is that in descriptions of physical education graduation requirements, it is impossible to differentiate among “credit,” “Carnegie unit,” and “course” so as to determine the exact time requirements for graduation.

Using the NASBE database, the committee performed an overall analysis of policies on physical education and physical activity of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis revealed that 45 states (88 percent) mandate physical education; 22 states (23 percent) require it

with mandatory minutes, while 25 states (49 percent) have no mandatory minutes and 4 (0.07 percent) leave the required number of minutes up to local decision makers. A majority of states allow for waivers or substitutions for physical education (see the discussion below). Fitness assessment is required in 15 states (29 percent), and other curricular assessments are required in 4 states (0.07 percent). Twenty-six states (53 percent) require physical education grades to be included in a student’s grade point average. Forty-three states (84 percent) require some degree of physical education for high school graduation, with a range of 0.5 to 3.75 credits. One state (0.02 percent) requires K-12 physical education but does not require 4 years of physical education for high school graduation.

Although no federal policies requiring physical education presently exist, the above evidence shows that the majority of states require physical education. However, the number of days and time required vary greatly by state and local school district, as does the amount of physical education required for high school graduation. Given the reduced time for physical activity in school through recess, and absent the implementation of stronger policies, schools have not only the opportunity but also the responsibility to nurture in youth the skills, knowledge, and confidence to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The consensus among states indicated by the mandates for physical education summarized above, together with the discrepancies in specific policies, may suggest the need for general guidelines or a federal-level mandate that can serve to guide a collective effort to address the prevalence of childhood inactivity and obesity.

Policies That Support Physical Education

In addition to policies that directly require offering physical education in schools, other policies support physical education opportunities in schools. In 2004 the U.S. government issued a mandate, under the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, requiring school districts that receive funds under this act to establish local school wellness policies. These policies were to include provisions for physical activity and healthy eating, thus expanding schools’ responsibility for providing physical activity to school-age children. The enactment of this mandates made schools “the central element in a community system that ensures that students participate in enough physical activity to develop healthy lifestyles” (Pate et al., 2006, p. 1215). Several government agencies and organizations have recommended embedding a specific number of days and minutes of physical education into each school’s or district’s wellness policy. Although school districts are required to include goals for physical activity in their local school wellness policies, they are not required to address physical education specifically.

Policies That Hinder Physical Education

Some policies have contributed to the substantial reduction in the opportunities for school-age children to be physically active, such as by shortening or eliminating physical education classes. These reductions can be attributed to budget cuts and increased pressure for schools to meet academic standards imposed by the federal government.

No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that states develop assessment and accountability measures to verify performance improvements in the subject areas of reading and mathematics (P.L. No. 107-110, Section 115). Specifically, federal funding is now dependent on schools making adequate progress in reading and mathematics. No Child Left Behind requires all public schools receiving federal funding to administer statewide standardized annual tests for all students. Schools that receive Title I funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 must make adequate yearly progress in test scores (e.g., each year 5th graders must do better on standardized tests than the previous year’s 5th graders). If required improvements are not made, schools are penalized through decreased funding. If a school produces poor results for 2 consecutive years, improvement plans must be developed for the school. If a school does not make adequate progress for 5 consecutive years, a full restructuring of the school is mandated.

Under the act, physical education, music, and art are considered “nonessential” subjects and are not a main focus of the school learning environment. In response to the act, schools have devoted more time in the school day to instruction in reading and mathematics. Since the act was passed, 62 percent of elementary schools and 20 percent of middle schools have increased instructional time in reading/language arts and mathematics (Center on Education Policy, 2008). Unfortunately, 44 percent of school administrators reported that these increases in instructional time for reading and mathematics were achieved at the expense of time devoted to physical education, recess, art, music, and other subjects (Center on Education Policy, 2007, 2008) (see Table 5-2 ).

The emphasis on high-stakes testing and pressure for academic achievement in the core subjects has had unintended consequences for other subjects throughout the school day. In developing master schedules, school site administrators have been forced to make difficult decisions regarding the allotment of time for “nonessential” subjects. The average reduction in instructional time in these “nonessential” subjects has been 145 minutes per week. As discussed earlier, however, no evidence suggests that physical education and physical activity have a negative effect on student achievement

TABLE 5-2 Changes in Time Allocation in Elementary Schools Since 2001-2002

SOURCE: Center on Education Policy, 2007, District Survey, item 19 (revised Tables IT-2A, IT-16, and IT-17).

or academic outcomes (CDC, 2010). On the contrary, positive academic-related outcomes (e.g., improved on-task classroom behavior, cognitive development, academic performance) have been associated with physical education and physical activity (see Chapter 4 ).

The Center on Education Policy (2007) conducted an analysis of 2006-2007 survey data from 349 school districts on the amount of time devoted to specific subjects to determine the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act. Shifts in instructional time toward English language arts and mathematics and away from other subjects were relatively large in a majority of school districts that made these types of changes. Sixty-two percent of districts reported increasing time in elementary schools in English language arts and/or mathematics since 2001-2002. A higher proportion of urban districts (76 percent) than rural districts (54 percent) reported such increases.

Districts that increased instructional time for English language arts and/or mathematics did so by 43 percent on average. Districts that also reduced instructional time in other subjects reported total reductions of 32 percent, on average. Eight of 10 districts that reported increasing time for English language arts did so by at least 75 minutes per week, and more than half (54 percent) did so by 150 minutes or more per week. Among districts that reported adding time for mathematics, 63 percent added at least 75 minutes per week, and 19 percent added 150 minutes or more per week.

Most districts that increased time for English language arts or mathematics also reported substantial cuts in time for other subjects or periods, including social studies, science, art and music, physical education, recess,

and lunch. Among the districts that reported both increasing time for English language arts or mathematics and reducing time in other subjects, 72 percent indicated that they reduced the time for one or more of these other subjects by a total of at least 75 minutes per week. For example, more than half (53 percent) of these districts cut instructional time by at least 75 minutes per week in social studies, and the same percentage (53 percent) cut time by at least 75 minutes per week in science (Center on Education Policy, 2007).

Districts that reported an increase in instructional time for elementary school English language arts spent an average of 378 minutes per week on this subject before No Child Left Behind was enacted. After the act became law, they spent 520 minutes per week. The average increase for English language arts was 141 minutes per week, or a 47 percent increase over the level prior to the act (Center on Education Policy, 2007; see district survey items 18 and 19 in Table IT-18A). Table 5-3 shows the specific amounts of time cut from various subjects in districts that reported decreases.

Districts with at least one school identified as “in need of improvement” under the act were far more likely than districts not in need of improvement to decrease time in certain subjects so as to devote more time to English language arts and mathematics (78 versus 57 percent). For example, 51 percent of districts with a school in need of improvement reported decreased time in social studies, compared with 31 percent of districts with no school in need of improvement (Center on Education Policy, 2007).

TABLE 5-3 Time Cut from Subjects or Periods in Districts Reporting Decreases in Instructional Time

NOTE: * = sample size too small to allow reporting of data on minutes per week; NCLB = No Child Left Behind. SOURCE: Center on Education Policy, 2007, District Survey items 18 and 19 (Table IT-18B).

Exemptions from Physical Education Requirements

The 2012 Shape of the Nation Report includes documentation of the multiple reasons students may be exempt from physical education classes. Thirty-three states permit school districts or schools to allow students to substitute other activities for physical education. The most common substitutions are Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), inter-scholastic sports, marching band, cheerleading, and community sports. Twenty-eight states allow schools and school districts to grant exemptions/waivers from physical education time or credit requirements. Reasons for exemptions/waivers include health, physical disability, religious belief, and early graduation; six states leave the reasons to the local schools or school districts. Although it would seem reasonable that some substitution programs such as JROTC or cheerleading might accrue physical activity comparable to that from physical education, these programs do not necessarily offer students opportunities to learn the knowledge and skills needed for lifelong participation in health-enhancing physical activities. Research on the impact of exemptions/waivers from physical education is lacking. No evidence currently exists showing that students receive any portion of the recommended 60 minutes or more of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity through substituted activities sanctioned by their schools.

BARRIERS TO QUALITY PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SOLUTIONS

Barriers other than the policies detailed above hinder efforts to improve and maintain high-quality physical education. This section reviews these barriers, along with some solutions for overcoming them.

Morgan and Hanson (2008) classify barriers that hinder schools from implementing quality physical education programs as either institutional (outside the teacher’s control) or teacher related (arising from teacher behavior). Table 5-4 lists institutional and teacher-related as well as student-related barriers identified by various authors.

Dwyer and colleagues (2003) examined Toronto teachers’ perspectives on why children were not engaged in daily physical education. They identified three categories of barriers: lower priority for physical education relative to other subjects, lack of performance measures for physical activity, and lack of sufficient infrastructure. Jenkinson and Benson (2010) surveyed 270 secondary school physical education teachers in Victoria, Australia, and asked them to rank order the barriers they perceived to providing quality physical education. The results are shown in Table 5-5 . The institutional

TABLE 5-4 Barriers to the Delivery of Physical Education and Physical Activity Programs to Primary and Secondary School Students

NOTES: PA = physical activity; PE = physical education; sport = sport education. SOURCES: a Barroso et al., 2005; b Boyle et al., 2008; c Dagkas and Stathi, 2007; d DeCorby et al., 2005; e Dwyer et al., 2003; f Dwyer et al., 2006; g Morgan and Bourke, 2005; h Morgan and Hansen, 2008; i Mowling et al., 2004; j Salvy et al., 2009; k Sherar et al., 2009; l Xiang et al., 2002.

TABLE 5-5 Physical Education Teachers’ Ranking of Barriers to Providing Quality Physical Education (PE) in Victorian State Secondary Schools

NOTE: I = institutional barrier; SD = standard deviation. SOURCE: Jenkinson and Benson, 2010.

barriers listed in this table are similar to those identified for U.S. schools in Table 5-4 .

Jenkinson and Benson (2010) also presented teachers with a list of barriers to student participation in physical education and physical activity in three categories: institutional, teacher-related, and student-related. The teachers were asked to rank the top five barriers they perceived. Results are presented in Table 5-6 .

Finally, Gallo and colleagues (2006) found that the greatest process barriers to assessing students in physical education were grading students on skill levels and abilities; time constraints; class size; and record keeping, especially when assessing students on skills, cognitive knowledge, and fitness.

Two key barriers to physical education identified in the studies summarized above are staffing and funding. These barriers reflect a lack of support structure in schools for quality physical education.

TABLE 5-6 Perceived Barriers to Student Participation in Physical Education and Physical Activity in Victorian State Secondary Schools: Physical Education Teachers’ Ranking (from most [“5”] to least [“1”] influential)

NOTE: a Ranking = based on most frequently ranked as number 1 barrier; b I = institutional barrier, T = teacher-related barrier, S = student-related barrier; c PE = physical education; d PA = physical activity; e Sport = sport education. SOURCE: Jenkinson and Benson, 2010.

As noted earlier in this chapter, physical education is short staffed. State mandates have placed pressure on schools to preserve instructional resources for the high-stakes tested core subject areas at the expense of non-core subjects. For example, when a state mandates a maximum class size of 20 students per teacher in all core subjects, with noncompliance resulting in some form of penalty, an elementary school with an average of 25 students per teacher is forced to hire additional teachers in these subjects to meet the state mandate. Consequently, the school must shrink its teaching force in noncore subjects, such as physical education, to balance its budget. If noncore classes are to be preserved, their class sizes must increase, with fewer teachers serving more students. As a result, it becomes difficult to implement a quality program, and physical education teachers perceive their programs as being undervalued.

According to the Government Accountability Office report K-12 Education: School-Based Physical Education and Sports Programs (GAO, 2012), school officials cite budget cuts and inadequate facilities as major challenges to providing physical education opportunities for students. Budget cuts have affected schools’ ability to hire physical education teachers, maintain appropriate class sizes, and purchase sufficient equipment. As noted earlier, lack of equipment and limited access to facilities are cited as top barriers in the study by Jenkinson and Benson (2010) (see Tables 5-5 and 5-6 ). Limited budgets have a negative impact on a school’s ability to purchase enough physical education equipment to engage all students in increasingly large class sizes and cause physical education teachers to abandon quality evidence-based physical education programs and resort to large-group games and “throw out the ball” activities. Students disengaged as a result of such practices may prefer sedentary activities to more active lifestyles. A NASPE (2009a) survey found that the median physical education budget for physical education programs nationally was $764 per school ($460 per elementary school, $900 per middle school, and $1,370 per high school).

Solutions for Overcoming the Barriers

For many adolescents who have few opportunities to be active outside of the school day, quality physical education becomes the only option for physical activity. For students in large urban communities, physical education classes serve as a safe environment in which to be physically active under adult supervision in a structured environment. For students with dis-

abilities in particular, physical education classes are one of the only outlets for physical activity. For these reasons, it is crucial to overcome the above barriers to quality physical education. Some school districts have found ways to do so and provide robust physical education programs.

The barrier of limited time during the school day can be overcome through creative scheduling that makes use of every minute of the day in a constructive manner. For example, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the United States, in a large urban minority-majority community with large budgetary shortfalls and attention in schools being diverted to academic requirements. Yet the district has always had daily physical education in its elementary schools taught by a certified physical education teacher. This is accomplished by scheduling physical education during the classroom teacher’s planning time. In addition, students receive school board–mandated recess for either 20 minutes two times per week or 15 minutes three times per week. Figures 5-2 and 5-3 show examples of elementary school teacher schedules that demonstrate how 150 minutes of time for physical education can be incorporated successfully into any master schedule.

Other positive examples, identified in the report Physical Education Matters (San Diego State University, 2007), include successful case studies from low-resource California schools. The report acknowledges, however, that advancing such opportunities will require policy changes at the state, district, and local levels. These changes include securing grant funds with which to implement high-tech physical education wellness centers, staff commitment to professional development, administrative support, physical education being made a priority, community support, use of certified physical education teachers, and district support. Identifying the need to reform physical education guided by evidence-based findings, the report concludes that (1) curriculum matters, (2) class size matters, (3) qualified teachers matter, (4) professional development matters, and (5) physical environment matters. If programs are to excel and students are to achieve, delivery of the curriculum must be activity based; class sizes must be commensurate with those for other subject areas; highly qualified physical education specialists, as opposed to classroom teachers, must be hired to deliver instruction; professional development in activity-focused physical education must be delivered; and school physical education facilities, such as playing fields and indoor gym space and equipment, must be available.

A separate report, Physical Education Matters: Success Stories from California Low Resource Schools That Have Achieved Excellent Physical Education Programs (San Diego State University, 2007), notes that when funding from a variety of grant resources, including federal funding, became available, schools were able to transition to high-quality programs using innovative instructional strategies. Those strategies included well-

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FIGURE 5-2 Example of a schedule demonstrating time for 150 minutes per week of physical education. NOTE: Sample is taken from a teacher schedule in a traditional elementary school. SOURCE: Large Urban Public School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

ness centers and active gaming, which engaged students in becoming more physically active. Administrative support was found to be a key factor in turning programs around, along with staff commitment and professional development. Having certified physical education teachers and making physical education a priority in the schools were other key factors. External factors further strengthened programs, including having school district support, having a physical education coordinator, and using state standards to provide accountability. Additional ways to overcome the barriers to quality physical education include scheduling time for physical education, ensuring reasonable class size, providing nontraditional physical education activities, making classes more active and fun for all students, and acknowledging the importance of role modeling and personal investment and involvement in participation in physical activity among staff.

Still another way to overcome the barriers to quality physical education is to assist administrative decision makers and policy makers in understand-

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FIGURE 5-3 Example of a schedule demonstrating time for 150 minutes per week of physical education. NOTES: Sample is taken from a teacher schedule in a combination special education and disabilities (SPED)/Spanish-language elementary class. PE = physical education; S.S. = social studies. SOURCE: Large Urban Public School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

ing the correlation between physical education and academic achievement (see Chapter 4 ). The report Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance by Active Living Research (Trost, 2009) cites evidence that “children who are physically active and fit tend to perform better in the classroom and that daily physical education does not adversely affect academic performance. Schools can provide outstanding learning environments while improving children’s health through physical education.” The findings reported include the following (p. 6):

  • “In some cases, more time in physical education leads to improved grades and standardized test scores.”
  • “Physically active and fit children tend to have better academic achievement.”
  • “Evidence links higher levels of physical fitness with better school attendance and fewer disciplinary problems.”
  • “There are several possible mechanisms by which physical education and regular physical activity may improve academic achievement, including enhanced concentration skills and classroom behavior.”
  • “Additional research is needed to determine the impact of physical activity on academic performance among those children who are at highest risk for obesity in the United States, including black, Latino, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Asian-American and Pacific Islander children, as well as children living in lower-income communities.”

Physical education is a formal content area of study in schools, it is standards based, and it encompasses assessment according to standards and benchmarks. Select curriculum-based physical education programs have been described in this chapter to show the potential of high-quality physical education in developing children into active adults. Such models provide the only opportunity for all school-age children to access health-enhancing physical activities. Curriculum models for physical education programs include movement education, which emphasizes the importance of fundamental motor skills competence as a prerequisite for engagement in physical activity throughout the life span; sport education, which emphasizes helping students become skillful players in lifetime sports of their choosing; and fitness education, which imparts physical fitness concepts to students, including the benefits and scientific principles of exercise, with the goal of developing and maintaining individual fitness and positive lifestyle change. The emergence of a technology-focused fitness education curriculum and the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program offer further motivational opportunities for students to engage in lifelong physical activities.

Because quality physical education programs are standards based and assessed, they are characterized by (1) instruction by certified physical education teachers, (2) a minimum of 150 minutes per week for elementary schools and 225 minutes per week for middle and high schools, and (3) tangible standards for student achievement and for high school graduation. Quality professional development programs are an essential component for both novice and veteran teachers to ensure the continued delivery of quality physical education.

An analysis of datasets from NASPE, NASBE, and Bridging the Gap reveals that the implementation of supportive physical education policies varies from state to state and from school to school. Since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, several studies and reports have identi-

fied a decline in physical education resulting from the shifting of time to academic subjects. Because physical education is not a high-stakes tested content area, the implementation of supportive policies often is hindered by other education priorities. Although the above analysis indicates that 30 states (74.5 percent) mandate physical education, most policies do not require specific amounts of instructional time, and more than half allow for waivers or exemptions. In addition, an unintended consequence of the No Child Left Behind Act has been disparities in access to physical education and physical activity opportunities during the school day for Hispanic students and those of lower socioeconomic status. In high school, relying on students to elect physical education after meeting the minimum required credit hours (one credit in all states but one) appears to be unfruitful.

Strengthening of school physical education has received support from the public, health agencies, and parents. Parents recently surveyed expressed favorable views of physical education. Specifically:

  • A majority of parents (54-84 percent) believe that physical education is at least as important as other academic subjects (CDC, 2010).
  • Ninety-one percent believe that there should be more physical education in schools (Harvard School of Public Health, 2003).
  • Seventy-six percent think that more school physical education could help control or prevent childhood obesity (NASPE, 2009a).
  • Ninety-five percent believe that regular daily physical activity helps children do better academically and should be a part of the school curriculum for all students in grades K-12 (NASPE, 2003).

Additionally, many public and private organizations have proposed initiatives aimed at developing a comprehensive school-based strategy centered on curriculum physical education. As the largest institution where children spend more than half of their waking hours on school days, schools can play a pivotal role in increasing students’ physical activity levels by providing access for all to quality physical education, along with physical activities throughout the school environment, the subject of Chapter 7 .

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Physical inactivity is a key determinant of health across the lifespan. A lack of activity increases the risk of heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression and others diseases. Emerging literature has suggested that in terms of mortality, the global population health burden of physical inactivity approaches that of cigarette smoking. The prevalence and substantial disease risk associated with physical inactivity has been described as a pandemic.

The prevalence, health impact, and evidence of changeability all have resulted in calls for action to increase physical activity across the lifespan. In response to the need to find ways to make physical activity a health priority for youth, the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment was formed. Its purpose was to review the current status of physical activity and physical education in the school environment, including before, during, and after school, and examine the influences of physical activity and physical education on the short and long term physical, cognitive and brain, and psychosocial health and development of children and adolescents.

Educating the Student Body makes recommendations about approaches for strengthening and improving programs and policies for physical activity and physical education in the school environment. This report lays out a set of guiding principles to guide its work on these tasks. These included: recognizing the benefits of instilling life-long physical activity habits in children; the value of using systems thinking in improving physical activity and physical education in the school environment; the recognition of current disparities in opportunities and the need to achieve equity in physical activity and physical education; the importance of considering all types of school environments; the need to take into consideration the diversity of students as recommendations are developed.

This report will be of interest to local and national policymakers, school officials, teachers, and the education community, researchers, professional organizations, and parents interested in physical activity, physical education, and health for school-aged children and adolescents.

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Home / Essay Samples / Education / Studying Process / Physical Education

The Importance of Physical Education in Schools

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Education , Nursing & Health

Studying Process , Healthy Living

Physical Education , Physical Exercise

  • Words: 522 (1 page)

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Introduction, benefits of physical education, challenges and solutions, fostering lifelong healthy habits, integration with overall education.

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Children's Health

Why Physical Education Is Important

Teenagers playing sports

You already know that physical activity is an important part of your child’s health. But the benefits of physical education in schools go beyond the advantages of physical activity. Read on for some of the ways that physical education can improve your child’s health, happiness and overall well-being.

Physical Education Explained

Physical education, or PE, is a school subject that follows a curriculum based on the national standards for physical education for each grade level. In addition to giving kids a designated time to get exercise during the school day, PE also contributes to developing their cognitive skills, motor skills and emotional health. Studies have shown that kids who regularly attend PE are almost three times as likely to be physically active outside of school and nearly twice as likely to be active in adulthood.

Physical Benefits

Guidelines recommend that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and PE is a great way to help get those minutes in. Regular exercise builds strong bones and muscles as well as burns calories, and developing the habit when kids are young makes them much more likely to continue to take good care of themselves when they are adults. Exercising regularly can prevent obesity and decrease the likelihood of developing serious illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.

Classroom Benefits

Studies have shown that kids who participate in PE have improved concentration, memory and classroom behavior. These perks lead to better academic performance, including higher grades and standardized test scores. Plus, kids who are physically active miss fewer days of school and have better long-term academic success.

Emotional Benefits

Kids who stay active are happier than those who don’t. This is because exercise builds confidence, promotes better sleep and produces endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. This can give kids a more positive outlook on life and help them to feel good about themselves.

If your physically active child experiences an injury, Augusta Health is here to help. Contact a provider at Pediatric Sports Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia at Augusta University .  

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Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the only facility in the area dedicated exclusively to children. It staffs the largest team of pediatric specialists in the region who deliver out- and in- patient care for everything from common childhood illnesses to life-threatening conditions like heart disorders, cancer and neurological diseases.

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Essay on Physical Education in School for Students 1000+ Words

Essay on Physical Education in School for Students in 1000+ Words

In this article, we have published an essay on physical education in school. It includes its meaning, importance, and benefits. Also, how is physical education good for our  health?

Table of Contents

Essay on Physical Education in School (1000 Words)

Physical education is essential because it improves the fitness of youngsters, makes them  disciplined  and active. It helps them to find out teamwork, test their decision-making capabilities too.

Education  should be mandatory in every school, from preschools, primary, elementary to secondary school and also in colleges, hostels. But we should always not force them to try to do it, and they ought to be made conscious of its benefits.

The goal of education is to assist students in developing healthy habits that can serve them within the long term. In today’s world, things have become easy due to technology, and we are enjoying the facilities like no other generation.

Adults spend their whole day in air-cooled offices; they eat food, don’t find time to exercise. It’s getting to be very tough for our generation.

If we get  good healthy  habits now, once we are within the school, it’ll help us now and within the future. It’s a dire need of your time.

The education system should be proactive and make it mandatory in schools. So allow us to see why do children need physical education?

Healthy Habits

With education, children can improve their  fitness,  body posture, and ultimately it’ll boost their confidence.

It helps students to make good habits from an early age. Running, jogging, weight training, eating, and sleeping on time are a few habits that can help them in the future.

One of the essential aspects of education is  discipline . It’ll help them to plan their studies, finances, and life generally.

They’re going to be ready to allot time to studies and for fun too. Alongside academics, children should get time to be children; it’s the most uncomplicated phase of human life.

Interpersonal Skills & Team Work

Physical education and  sports  improve the interpersonal skills of youngsters. These skills are very crucial at work and within the relationship.

Physical education teaches the way to communicate messages effectively and the way to figure them together.

Stress Buster

Education comes with exams, assignments, projects, and homework, which can stress students.

Alongside this, they even have parents’ expectations burden, Financial worries. In today’s time, the overuse of  social media  makes them suffer from social anxiety, envy, and FOMO.

In this case, education becomes an excellent outlet. It cuts them from these worries and situations. Due to it, they’re going to be ready to focus more on studies and life generally.

Makes you Confident

With improved interpersonal skills, relaxed and calm composure, and healthy habits, one becomes more confident. Physical education plays a notable role during this too.

Alternate Career Opportunity

Everyone is different; not all students will be great at academics, and there is no such rule. Children find themselves in trouble with  selecting a career . Education can help them during this also. One might find the internet in sports and games.

Physical education may be an excellent opportunity to scout for potential athletic talent also. They were within the suitable career matters tons.

If one gets to try to do a thing they like to do, their lives will be happier. Physical education can help them to seek out that or a minimum of narrow down the alternatives.

Health is Wealth

Our current generation is affected by obesity from an early age. They also get spectacles at an old age. Obesity comes with related illnesses too.

An obese child is susceptible to diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stress, vital sign, etc. Habits formed with education will make them fit from infancy. It’ll encourage them to enhance and maintain their health in the future.

Children inculcate with the importance of physical education for maintaining a healthy body and teach them the importance of regular fitness activity in daily routine, which successively keeps them happy and energized.

It helps the youngsters to take care of their fitness, develop their muscular strength, and increase their stamina.

Research has proven that children who regularly play different types of sports lead to high self-confidence, which is essential for building a person’s character.

Education instills the will to participate, enjoy the victory, and take defeat positively, developing the character’s general personality.

By making children participate in sports, especially team sports, education also imbibes in them a way of solidarity. Children find out how to figure as a team member, organize themselves, and perform together towards attaining a goal.

It successively improves a child’s overall communication skills and, therefore, urges alongside different people.

Physical education helps one gain knowledge about the general aspects of physical health. Teenagers face many health-related problems like obesity, anemia, bulimia, and even diabetes, which are rampant amongst teenagers.

Through education, teachers can promote the advantages of healthy and nutritious food and discourage them from having food by highlighting their ill effects. They will easily promote sound eating practices and guidelines for nutrition.

Physical education also teaches about the importance of private hygiene and the importance of  cleanliness . They guide the scholars by informing them about the essential hygiene practices for maintaining health and well-being throughout life.

Additionally, to the present, the education classes also cover a crucial aspect that the youngsters need to affect at puberty.

Apart from the health and knowledge benefits that students get from education, they also learn how to unwind and relieve themselves of stress and anxiety. Sports and other fitness activities offered within the education classes are a welcome break for the scholars.

It won’t be wrong to mention that children, who learn the importance of health and hygiene at an early age, tend to get older to be responsible and healthy adults who are conscious of the advantages of a healthy lifestyle.

Children who provided good education are more likely to become responsible adults who know the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Anti-Depressant

It is proven that physical activities help us to alleviate stress. Though we all know its importance, we make all possible excuses to avoid it.

Physical education helps us to take care of a timely schedule of physical activities. Students become calmer composed; then, they will focus more on their goals.

The Bottom Line

Physical education leads to a more focused, active, composed, and  happy in life . It makes us disciplined and arranged.

Habits formed with the assistance of education tend to remain with us for an extended time. We should bring skilled coaches and needed equipment to colleges.

Students should know its benefits. There are real advantages of education and in the present situation, children, also as adults, need it the foremost.

The opportunity to participate in physical activity daily in schools may increase the probability of adopting a physically active lifestyle.

Choosing to measure a physically active lifestyle is vital to health and wellness. A school’s education department is responsible for assisting students in being involved in and adopting a private lifestyle of regular physical activity.

I hope you liked this essay on physical education in school for students and children.

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The Benefits of Physical Education: Develop Skills & Confidence

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Works Cited

  • Carlson, J. A., Engelberg, J. K., Cain, K. L., Conway, T. L., Mignano, A. M., Bonilla, E. A., & Sallis, J. F. (2015). Implementing classroom physical activity breaks: Associations with student physical activity and classroom behavior. Preventive medicine, 81, 67-72.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/pecat/index.htm.
  • Chomitz, V. R., Slining, M. M., McGowan, R. J., Mitchell, S. E., Dawson, G. F., & Hacker, K. A. (2009). Is there a relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement? Positive results from public school children in the northeastern United States. Journal of School Health, 79(1), 30-37.
  • Dobbins, M., Husson, H., DeCorby, K., LaRocca, R. L., & School Health Equity Steering Committee. (2013). School-based physical activity programs for promoting physical activity and fitness in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).
  • Fisher, A., Boyle, J. M., Paton, J. Y., & Tomporowski, P. D. (2011). Effects of a physical education intervention on cognitive function in young children: randomized controlled pilot study. BMC pediatrics, 11(1), 97.
  • Institute of Medicine. (2013). Educating the student body: Taking physical activity and physical education to school. National Academies Press.
  • Pate, R. R., O'Neill, J. R., & Lobelo, F. (2008). The evolving definition of" sedentary". Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 36(4), 173-178.
  • Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2018). 2nd ed. US Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf.
  • Sallis, J. F., McKenzie, T. L., Alcaraz, J. E., Kolody, B., Faucette, N., & Hovell, M. F. (1997). The effects of a 2-year physical education program (SPARK) on physical activity and fitness in elementary school students. American Journal of Public Health, 87(8), 1328-1334.
  • Strong, W. B., Malina, R. M., Blimkie, C. J., Daniels, S. R., Dishman, R. K., Gutin, B., ... & Trudeau, F. (2005). Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. Journal of Pediatrics, 146(6), 732-737.

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what is physical education essay

What is Physical Education, Meaning, Definition, Essay_00.1

What is Physical Education, Meaning and Definition

What is Physical Education, Meaning, Definition- Physical education is taught to promote health and physical fitness by encouraging learning through movement exploration.

What is Physical Education, Meaning, Definition, Essay_30.1

Table of Contents

What is Physical Education Meaning

Physical education (Phys Ed. or P.E.) is a subject that is taught in schools all around the world. It is commonly taught in primary and secondary schools, and it promotes health and physical fitness by encouraging psychomotor learning through play and movement exploration. Football, netball, hockey, rounders, cricket, four square, racing, and a variety of other children’s games are among the activities offered in P.E. Nutrition, healthy behaviours, and individuality of needs are also taught in physical education.

What is Physical Education Definition?

Physical education programs differ from country to country. P.E. class, when taught properly, can have a good impact on students’ health, behavior, and academic performance. The main goals of modern physical education are to provide active role models, individualise duration, intensity, and type of activity, encourage self-reporting and monitoring of exercise, teach skills to maintain a lifetime of fitness and health, and expose children and teens to a wide variety of exercise and healthy activities. P.E. is one of the few options for children to engage in good and healthful activities because it is available to nearly all of them. Aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening, and stretching are the four main types of physical activity. Each one works in a distinct way to maintain your body trim and healthy. Stretching targets joints and promotes flexibility, while aerobic benefits your heart and lungs the most.

Define Physical Education Benefits

Children and teenagers can reap a slew of health benefits if they are educated correctly and in a good manner. Reduced metabolic disease risk, improved cardiological fitness, and improved mental health are just a few of the benefits. There is also a link between brain growth and physical activity, according to research. Physical education can also help students achieve academic success. In 2007, researchers discovered a significant increase in English Arts standardised exam results among kids who had 56 hours of physical education in a year compared to those who had 28 hours.

The Use of Technology in Physical Education

Many physical education classrooms use technology to help their students exercise effectively. A simple video recorder is one of the most affordable and often used equipment. Students can use this to record themselves and then review the recordings to see what faults they are doing in activities like throwing or swinging. Students find this more helpful than having someone try to explain what they’re doing wrong and then try to remedy it, according to studies. Educators can also employ technology like pedometers and heart rate monitors to help kids set step and heart rate objectives. Video projectors and GPS systems are two other technologies that can be employed in a physical education context.

Physical Education: Syllabus

Physical education is a school-based subject that emphasises the development of physical fitness and the capacity to perform and enjoy everyday physical activities. Kids get the skills they need to engage in a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, and swimming. Physical educators must promote and strengthen growing motor skills, as well as equip children and teenagers with a fundamental skill set that expands their movement repertory, allowing them to participate in a variety of games, sports, and other physical activities throughout their lives. These objectives can be met in a variety of ways. National, state, and municipal criteria often specify which physical education standards must be taught. The subject presented, the credentials required of instructors, and the textbooks and materials that must be utilised are all determined by these criteria.

These methods and curricula are based on pioneers in physical education, such as Francois Delsarte, Liselott Diem, and Rudolf von Laban, who emphasised on a child’s ability to utilise their body for self-expression in the 1800s. This, together with 1960s techniques (which included the use of the body, spatial awareness, effort, and relationships), gave birth to modern physical education teaching.

What is Physical Education in Hindi?

शारीरिक शिक्षा क्या है? – परिभाषा

शारीरिक शिक्षा (फिजिक्स एड या पीई) एक ऐसा विषय है जो दुनिया भर के स्कूलों में पढ़ाया जाता है। यह आमतौर पर प्राथमिक और माध्यमिक विद्यालयों में पढ़ाया जाता है, और यह खेल और आंदोलन की खोज के माध्यम से साइकोमोटर सीखने को प्रोत्साहित करके स्वास्थ्य और शारीरिक फिटनेस को बढ़ावा देता है। फुटबॉल, नेटबॉल, हॉकी, राउंडर, क्रिकेट, चार वर्ग, रेसिंग, और कई अन्य बच्चों के खेल पीई में दी जाने वाली गतिविधियों में से हैं। शारीरिक शिक्षा में पोषण, स्वस्थ व्यवहार और आवश्यकताओं की वैयक्तिकता भी सिखाई जाती है।

What is Physical Education Essay in Hindi?

शारीरिक शिक्षा कार्यक्रम हर देश में अलग-अलग होते हैं। पी.ई. कक्षा, जब ठीक से पढ़ाया जाता है, छात्रों के स्वास्थ्य, व्यवहार और शैक्षणिक प्रदर्शन पर अच्छा प्रभाव डाल सकता है। आधुनिक शारीरिक शिक्षा के मुख्य लक्ष्य सक्रिय रोल मॉडल प्रदान करना, अवधि, तीव्रता और गतिविधि के प्रकार को अलग करना, व्यायाम की आत्म-रिपोर्टिंग और निगरानी को प्रोत्साहित करना, जीवन भर फिटनेस और स्वास्थ्य बनाए रखने के लिए कौशल सिखाना और बच्चों और किशोरों को उजागर करना है। व्यायाम और स्वस्थ गतिविधियों की एक विस्तृत विविधता। पी.ई. बच्चों के लिए अच्छी और स्वस्थ गतिविधियों में संलग्न होने के कुछ विकल्पों में से एक है क्योंकि यह लगभग सभी के लिए उपलब्ध है। एरोबिक, मांसपेशियों को मजबूत करना, हड्डियों को मजबूत करना और खींचना चार मुख्य प्रकार की शारीरिक गतिविधि हैं। आपके शरीर को सुडौल और स्वस्थ बनाए रखने के लिए हर एक अलग तरीके से काम करता है। स्ट्रेचिंग जोड़ों को लक्षित करता है और लचीलेपन को बढ़ावा देता है, जबकि एरोबिक आपके दिल और फेफड़ों को सबसे ज्यादा फायदा पहुंचाता है।

शारीरिक शिक्षा के लाभ

यदि बच्चों और किशोरों को सही तरीके से और अच्छी तरह से शिक्षित किया जाए तो वे कई स्वास्थ्य लाभ प्राप्त कर सकते हैं। चयापचय रोग के जोखिम में कमी, कार्डियोलॉजिकल फिटनेस में सुधार और मानसिक स्वास्थ्य में सुधार कुछ ही लाभ हैं। शोध के अनुसार, मस्तिष्क के विकास और शारीरिक गतिविधि के बीच एक कड़ी भी है। शारीरिक शिक्षा भी छात्रों को अकादमिक सफलता प्राप्त करने में मदद कर सकती है। 2007 में, शोधकर्ताओं ने उन बच्चों के बीच अंग्रेजी कला मानकीकृत परीक्षा परिणामों में उल्लेखनीय वृद्धि की खोज की, जिनके पास 28 घंटे की तुलना में एक वर्ष में 56 घंटे की शारीरिक शिक्षा थी।

शारीरिक शिक्षा में प्रौद्योगिकी का उपयोग

कई शारीरिक शिक्षा कक्षाएं अपने छात्रों को प्रभावी ढंग से व्यायाम करने में मदद करने के लिए प्रौद्योगिकी का उपयोग करती हैं। एक साधारण वीडियो रिकॉर्डर सबसे किफायती और अक्सर उपयोग किए जाने वाले उपकरणों में से एक है। छात्र इसका उपयोग खुद को रिकॉर्ड करने के लिए कर सकते हैं और फिर रिकॉर्डिंग की समीक्षा करके देख सकते हैं कि वे फेंकने या झूलने जैसी गतिविधियों में क्या दोष कर रहे हैं। अध्ययन के अनुसार, छात्रों को यह समझाने की कोशिश करने से ज्यादा मददगार लगता है कि वे क्या गलत कर रहे हैं और फिर इसे ठीक करने का प्रयास करें। बच्चों को कदम और हृदय गति के उद्देश्यों को निर्धारित करने में मदद करने के लिए शिक्षक पेडोमीटर और हृदय गति मॉनिटर जैसी तकनीक का भी उपयोग कर सकते हैं। वीडियो प्रोजेक्टर और जीपीएस सिस्टम दो अन्य प्रौद्योगिकियां हैं जिन्हें शारीरिक शिक्षा के संदर्भ में नियोजित किया जा सकता है।

शारीरिक शिक्षा: पाठ्यक्रम

शारीरिक शिक्षा एक स्कूल-आधारित विषय है जो शारीरिक फिटनेस के विकास और रोजमर्रा की शारीरिक गतिविधियों को करने और आनंद लेने की क्षमता पर जोर देता है। बच्चों को फ़ुटबॉल, बास्केटबॉल और तैराकी सहित विभिन्न प्रकार के खेलों में शामिल होने के लिए आवश्यक कौशल प्राप्त होते हैं। शारीरिक शिक्षकों को बढ़ते मोटर कौशल को बढ़ावा देना और मजबूत करना चाहिए, साथ ही बच्चों और किशोरों को एक मौलिक कौशल सेट से लैस करना चाहिए जो उनके आंदोलन प्रदर्शनों का विस्तार करता है, जिससे उन्हें अपने पूरे जीवन में विभिन्न प्रकार के खेल, खेल और अन्य शारीरिक गतिविधियों में भाग लेने की अनुमति मिलती है। इन उद्देश्यों को विभिन्न तरीकों से पूरा किया जा सकता है। राष्ट्रीय, राज्य और नगरपालिका मानदंड अक्सर निर्दिष्ट करते हैं कि कौन से शारीरिक शिक्षा मानकों को पढ़ाया जाना चाहिए। प्रस्तुत विषय, प्रशिक्षकों के लिए आवश्यक साख, और पाठ्यपुस्तकों और सामग्रियों का उपयोग किया जाना चाहिए जो सभी इन मानदंडों द्वारा निर्धारित किए जाते हैं।

ये तरीके और पाठ्यक्रम शारीरिक शिक्षा में अग्रदूतों पर आधारित हैं, जैसे कि फ्रेंकोइस डेल्सर्ट, लिसेलॉट डायम और रुडोल्फ वॉन लाबान, जिन्होंने 1800 के दशक में आत्म-अभिव्यक्ति के लिए अपने शरीर का उपयोग करने की एक बच्चे की क्षमता पर जोर दिया था। इसने 1960 के दशक की तकनीकों (जिसमें शरीर का उपयोग, स्थानिक जागरूकता, प्रयास और संबंध शामिल थे) के साथ मिलकर आधुनिक शारीरिक शिक्षा शिक्षण को जन्म दिया।

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What is Physical Education: QNAs

Ques. What are the 4 types of physical education?

Ans. Aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening, and stretching are the four main types of physical activity. Each one works in a distinct way to maintain your body trim and healthy. Stretching targets joints and promotes flexibility, while aerobic benefits your heart and lungs the most.

Ques. What is physical education for students?

Ans. Physical education is a school-based subject that emphasises the development of physical fitness and the capacity to perform and enjoy everyday physical activities. Kids get the skills they need to engage in a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, and swimming.

Ques. What is the aim of physical education?

Ans. The main goals of modern physical education are to provide active role models, individualise duration, intensity, and type of activity, encourage self-reporting and monitoring of exercise, teach skills to maintain a lifetime of fitness and health, and expose children and teens to a wide variety of exercise and healthy activities. P.E. is one of the few options for children to engage in good and healthful activities because it is available to nearly all of them.

Ques. What are 5 benefits of physical activity?

Ans. The following are five advantages of engaging in physical activities: 1. Exercise helps you lose weight. Exercising can help you avoid gaining weight or keep it off once you’ve lost it. 2. Exercise helps to prevent and treat illnesses and diseases. 3. Exercise elevates one’s mood. 4. Exercise gives you more energy. 5. Exercise helps you sleep better.

Ques. What are the types of exercise?

Ans. It’s crucial to obtain all four forms of exercise, according to research: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each one works in a distinct way to maintain your body trim and healthy. Stretching targets joints and promotes flexibility, while aerobic benefits your heart and lungs the most.

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71 Physical Education Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best physical education topic ideas & essay examples, 🔎 interesting topics to write about physical education, 📑 good research topics about physical education, 💯 free physical education essay topic generator.

  • Effects of Physical Education on Brain These neurons are usually created in a place called the hippocampus, which happens to be the section of the brain involved in learning and storage of memory.
  • Physical Education and Its Benefits Schools in particular know the benefits of physical education in a student’s life and should be able to fight for the children’s rights.
  • Role of Parents in Physical Education and Sport The involvement of parents in physical education and sports is viewed differently in regard to how it affects the child’s participation in sports even later in life.
  • Physical Education within Elementary Schools One of the benefits of the physical education is the level of physical fitness that it induces to the students. The manner in which these students are introduced to physical education and the way that […]
  • Should Public Schools Be Required to Restore Physical Education Classes to the Curriculum? The occurrence of obesity prevalence in children, in the U S, can be associated with the removal of physical education courses in public school curriculum.
  • The Nature and Values of Physical Education In the past, physical education was considered to consist of only physical and practical activities, however, the recent research has justified that physical education can be included in the curriculum on the basis of scientific […]
  • The Usefulness of Physical Education in Modern Education Varied criticism adds to the debate on the usefulness of PE in modern education and the need to change current approaches. This indicates the need to focus the debate on the meaning of PE to […]
  • Keeping Physical Education in Schools Apart from participating in the physical education programs, the students need to be taught on the importance of the various exercises so that they inculcate the culture of physical fitness into their life-time fitness programs.

  • Physical Education Curriculum Physical education has significantly contributed towards the realization of the school philosophy as it helps in the development of the physical aspects of the students.
  • Physical Educators Attitude to Special Needs Children Sue Combs, together with her colleagues from the University of North Carolina, investigated the attitudes of the physical education teachers towards the inclusion of children with special needs in their lessons.
  • Increase of Physical Education Classes Children are the future of any nation, and their health and well-being are the essential preconditions for the successful development of the United States.
  • Health Teaching and Physical Education Lesson Plan Students will be able to dribble a ball with a hand paying attention to such principles as dribbling on the side, waist-high, pushing the ball down, and eyes lookup.
  • Physical Education: Personal Physical Exercise Plan Given the necessity of taking fluids, it is good to identify and avail the same before starting a physical exercise session.
  • British Development of Sport and Physical Education in the Last 25 Years Sport England wishes to increase participation in sports through community sports activities, sporting completions providing and training coaches and officiators, and closely working with the Youth Sport Trust and UK Sports formed in 1996 to […]
  • Effectiveness of Physical Education Provisions in the UK School The vital need for health promotion, especially in terms of secondary education has been highlighted by the science of epidemiology the study of factors that influence the health and illnesses of people.
  • Bodies in Physical Education The purpose of this study is to investigate how students view the construction of their bodies in relation to physical education and how students’ meanings of their bodies affect their participation or resistance to physical […]
  • Physical Education: Effect of Phototherapy Therefore, it is evident that the intensity of an exercise directly influences one’s heart rate, breathing rate, skin coloration, sweating, and recovery.
  • Adaptive Physical Education The value of the brochure developed for the informational purpose is attributed to the need to communicate the importance of APE and point out the value that it could bring to children with special needs.
  • Race and Gender in Physical Education and Sports These factors create the diversity of cultures and nations, and inclusiveness, giving access to the best talents and disclosing the individual’s potential, abilities, and strengths.
  • Physical Education Is an Academic Subject These aspects make physical activity one of the core subjects at school, including for younger students who need a surge of emotions and energy.
  • Reducing Physical Education Classes The teaching process has a significant amount of waste regarding the excess number of teachers dedicated to sports training compared to math and technical subjects.
  • Elementary School Curriculum and Physical Education
  • Should Physical Education Be a Required Class in College?
  • Physical Education Class: The Perfect Place to Be Bullied
  • Pros and Cons of Physical Education
  • How Physical Education Should Be Taught
  • Physical Education for Elementary School Students
  • Weight-Related Barriers for Overweight Students in an Elementary Physical Education Classroom
  • Physical Education Lesson Plan and Activity Ideas
  • Motivation, Discipline, and Academic Performance in Physical Education
  • Adaptive Physical Education for Students With Special Needs
  • Physical Education Should Not Be Mandated
  • How Technology Enhances the Physical Education Curriculum
  • Physical Education: Standards, Cooperative Skills, and Learning Theories
  • Physical Education’s Contribution to Public Health
  • Physical Education Importance for Child Development
  • Reasons to Keep Physical Education in the National Curriculum
  • Ethical Relativism and Its Impact on Physical Education
  • Inclusive School Physical Education and Physical Activity
  • History and Benefits of Physical Education: Why I Want to Be a P.E. Teacher
  • Physical Education Beyond the Middle School
  • The Importance of Physical Education in Childhood Obesity
  • Physical Activity Promotion and School Physical Education
  • Implementing the TARGET Model in Physical Education: Effects on Perceived Psychobiosocial and Motivational States in Girls
  • Teaching the Nuts and Bolts of Physical Education
  • Health-Related Intensity Profiles for Physical Education Classes
  • Anticipated Benefits From a Basic College Physical Education Activity Course
  • Physical Education Should Be Graded on Effort, Not Ability
  • Motivation and Intention to Be Physically Active in Physical Education Students
  • Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education
  • Why Physical Education Should Be Included in the School Curriculum
  • Attitude and Teacher’s Qualification as Factors Affecting Students’ Participation in Physical Education Activities
  • Burnout in Physical Education Teachers
  • What Benefits Physical Activity Has on Academic Performance
  • SPARK Physical Education Curriculum Program
  • Changing the National Curriculum for Physical Education
  • Physical Education: Official School Policy
  • How Physical Education Helps to Develop Your Personality
  • Early Childhood Development: Physical Education Program Effects
  • Fun Physical Education Games for High School Students
  • How Extracurricular Sports Should Satisfy State Physical Education Requirements
  • One’s Readiness to Self-Development Through Physical Education
  • Would More Physical Education Reduce Obesity in the Youths?
  • Goal-Directed Physical Education for Learners With Disabilities
  • Health and Physical Education: Volleyball
  • Managing the Physical Education Classroom
  • Strategies to Accommodate Autism Spectrum Disorder Students in General Physical Education
  • Physical Education vs. School Sports: What’s the Difference?
  • The Impact of School Budgetary Cuts on Physical Education
  • Teaching Health and Physical Education in Australian Schools
  • Positive Reinforcement Techniques in Physical Education
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

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Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment; Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine; Kohl HW III, Cook HD, editors. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 Oct 30.

Cover of Educating the Student Body

Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School.

  • Hardcopy Version at National Academies Press

5 Approaches to Physical Education in Schools

Key messages.

  • Because it is guaranteed to reach virtually all children, physical education is the only sure opportunity for nearly all school-age children to access health-enhancing physical activities.
  • High-quality physical education programs are characterized by (1) instruction by certified physical education teachers, (2) a minimum of 150 minutes per week (30 minutes per day) for children in elementary schools and 225 minutes per week (45 minutes per day) for students in middle and high schools, and (3) tangible standards for student achievement and for high school graduation.
  • Students are more physically active on days on which they have physical education.
  • Quality physical education has strong support from both parents and child health professional organizations.
  • Several models and examples demonstrate that physical education scheduled during the school day is feasible on a daily basis.
  • Substantial discrepancies exist in state mandates regarding the time allocated for physical education.
  • Nearly half of school administrators (44 percent) reported cutting significant time from physical education and recess to increase time spent in reading and mathematics since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Standardized national-level data on the provision of and participation, performance, and extent of engagement in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity are insufficient to allow assessment of the current status and trends in physical education in the United States.
  • Systematic research is needed on personal, curricular, and policy barriers to successful physical education.
  • The long-term impact of physical education has been understudied and should be a research priority to support the development of evidence-based policies.

Physical education is a formal content area of study in schools that is standards based and encompasses assessment based on standards and benchmarks. It is defined in Chapter 1 as “a planned sequential K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors of healthy active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence.” As a school subject, physical education is focused on teaching school-aged children the science and methods of physically active, healthful living ( NASPE, 2012 ). It is an avenue for engaging in developmentally appropriate physical activities designed for children to develop their fitness, gross motor skills, and health ( Sallis et al., 2003 ; Robinson and Goodway, 2009 ; Robinson, 2011 ). This chapter (1) provides a perspective on physical education in the context of schooling; (2) elaborates on the importance of physical education to child development; (3) describes the consensus on the characteristics of quality physical education programs; (4) reviews current national, state, and local education policies that affect the quality of physical education; and (5) examines barriers to quality physical education and solutions for overcoming them.

  • PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN THE CONTEXT OF SCHOOLING

Physical education became a subject matter in schools (in the form of German and Swedish gymnastics) at the beginning of the 19th century ( Hackensmith, 1966 ). Its role in human health was quickly recognized. By the turn of the 20th century, personal hygiene and exercise for bodily health were incorporated in the physical education curriculum as the major learning outcomes for students ( Weston, 1962 ). The exclusive focus on health, however, was criticized by educator Thomas Wood (1913 ; Wood and Cassidy, 1930 ) as too narrow and detrimental to the development of the whole child. The education community subsequently adopted Wood's inclusive approach to physical education whereby fundamental movements and physical skills for games and sports were incorporated as the major instructional content. During the past 15 years, physical education has once again evolved to connect body movement to its consequences (e.g., physical activity and health), teaching children the science of healthful living and skills needed for an active lifestyle ( NASPE, 2004 ).

Sallis and McKenzie (1991) published a landmark paper stating that physical education is education content using a “comprehensive but physically active approach that involves teaching social, cognitive, and physical skills, and achieving other goals through movement” (p. 126). This perspective is also emphasized by Siedentop (2009) , who states that physical education is education through the physical. Sallis and McKenzie (1991) stress two main goals of physical education: (1) prepare children and youth for a lifetime of physical activity and (2) engage them in physical activity during physical education. These goals represent the lifelong benefits of health-enhancing physical education that enable children and adolescents to become active adults throughout their lives.

Physical Education as Part of Education

In institutionalized education, the main goal has been developing children's cognitive capacity in the sense of learning knowledge in academic disciplines. This goal dictates a learning environment in which seated learning behavior is considered appropriate and effective and is rewarded. Physical education as part of education provides the only opportunity for all children to learn about physical movement and engage in physical activity. As noted, its goal and place in institutionalized education have changed from the original focus on teaching hygiene and health to educating children about the many forms and benefits of physical movement, including sports and exercise. With a dramatic expansion of content beyond the original Swedish and German gymnastics programs of the 19th century, physical education has evolved to become a content area with diverse learning goals that facilitate the holistic development of children ( NASPE, 2004 ).

To understand physical education as a component of the education system, it is important to know that the education system in the United States does not operate with a centralized curriculum. Learning standards are developed by national professional organizations such as the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and/or state education agencies rather than by the federal Department of Education; all curricular decisions are made locally by school districts or individual schools in compliance with state standards. Physical education is influenced by this system, which leads to great diversity in policies and curricula. According to NASPE and the American Heart Association (2010), although most states have begun to mandate physical education for both elementary and secondary schools, the number of states that allow waivers/exemptions from or substitutions for physical education increased from 27 and 18 in 2006 to 32 and 30 in 2010, respectively. These expanded waiver and substitution policies (discussed in greater detail later in the chapter) increase the possibility that students will opt out of physical education for nonmedical reasons.

Curriculum Models

Given that curricula are determined at the local level in the United States, encompassing national standards, state standards, and state-adopted textbooks that meet and are aligned with the standards, physical education is taught in many different forms and structures. Various curriculum models are used in instruction, including movement education, sport education, and fitness education. In terms of engagement in physical activity, two perspectives are apparent. First, programs in which fitness education curricula are adopted are effective at increasing in-class physical activity ( Lonsdale et al., 2013 ). Second, in other curriculum models, physical activity is considered a basis for students' learning skill or knowledge that the lesson is planned for them to learn. A paucity of nationally representative data is available with which to demonstrate the relationship between the actual level of physical activity in which students are engaged and the curriculum models adopted by their schools.

Movement Education

Movement has been a cornerstone of physical education since the 1800s. Early pioneers (Francois Delsarte, Liselott Diem, Rudolf von Laban) focused on a child's ability to use his or her body for self-expression ( Abels and Bridges, 2010 ). Exemplary works and curriculum descriptions include those by Laban himself ( Laban, 1980 ) and others (e.g., Logsdon et al., 1984 ). Over time, however, the approach shifted from concern with the inner attitude of the mover to a focus on the function and application of each movement ( Abels and Bridges, 2010 ). In the 1960s, the intent of movement education was to apply four movement concepts to the three domains of learning (i.e., cognitive, psychomotor, and affective). The four concepts were body (representing the instrument of the action); space (where the body is moving); effort (the quality with which the movement is executed); and relationships (the connections that occur as the body moves—with objects, people, and the environment; Stevens-Smith, 2004 ). The importance of movement in physical education is evidenced by its inclusion in the first two NASPE standards for K-12 physical education ( NASPE, 2004 ; see Box 5-7 later in this chapter).

Standards for a Physically Educated Person. SOURCE: NASPE, 2004.

These standards emphasize the need for children to know basic movement concepts and be able to perform basic movement patterns. It is imperative for physical educators to foster motor success and to provide children with a basic skill set that builds their movement repertoire, thus allowing them to engage in various forms of games, sports, and other physical activities (see also Chapter 3 ).

Sport Education

One prevalent physical education model is the sport education curriculum designed by Daryl Siedentop ( Siedentop, 1994 ; Siedentop et al., 2011 ). The goal of the model is to “educate students to be players in the fullest sense and to help them develop as competent, literate, and enthusiastic sportspersons” (2011, p. 4, emphasis in original). The model entails a unique instructional structure featuring sport seasons that are used as the basis for planning and teaching instructional units. Students are organized into sport organizations (teams) and play multiple roles as team managers, coaches, captains, players, referees, statisticians, public relations staff, and others to mimic a professional sports organization. A unit is planned in terms of a sports season, including preseason activity/practice, regular-season competition, playoffs and/or tournaments, championship competition, and a culminating event (e.g., an awards ceremony or sport festivity). Depending on the developmental level of students, the games are simplified or modified to encourage maximum participation. In competition, students play the roles noted above in addition to the role of players. A sport education unit thus is much longer than a conventional physical education unit. Siedentop and colleagues (2011) recommend 20 lessons per unit, so that all important curricular components of the model can be implemented.

Findings from research on the sport education model have been reviewed twice. Wallhead and O'Sullivan (2005) report that evidence is insufficient to support the conclusion that use of the model results in students' developing motor skills and fitness and learning relevant knowledge; some evidence suggests that the model leads to stronger team cohesion, more active engagement in lessons, and increased competence in game play. In a more recent review, Hastie and colleagues (2011) report on emerging evidence suggesting that the model leads to improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness (only one study) and mixed evidence regarding motor skills development, increased feeling of enjoyment in participation in physical education, increased sense of affiliation with the team and physical education, and positive development of fair-play values. The only study on in-class physical activity using the model showed that it contributed to only 36.6 percent activity at the vigorous- or moderate-intensity levels ( Parker and Curtner-Smith, 2005 ). Hastie and colleagues caution, however, that because only 6 of 38 studies reviewed used an experimental or quasi-experimental design, the findings must be interpreted with extreme caution. The model's merits in developing motor skills, fitness, and desired physical activity behavior have yet to be determined in studies with more rigorous research designs.

Fitness Education

Instead of focusing exclusively on having children move constantly to log activity time, a new curricular approach emphasizes teaching them the science behind why they need to be physically active in their lives. The curriculum is designed so that the children are engaged in physical activities that demonstrate relevant scientific knowledge. The goal is the development and maintenance of individual student fitness. In contrast with the movement education and sport education models, the underlying premise is that physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle and that students' understanding of fitness and behavior change result from engagement in a fitness education program. The conceptual framework for the model is designed around the health-related components of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. A recent meta-analysis ( Lonsdale et al., 2013 ) suggests that physical education curricula that include fitness activities can significantly increase the amount of time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity.

Several concept-based fitness education curriculum models exist for both the middle school and senior high school levels. They include Fitness for Life: Middle School ( Corbin et al., 2007 ); Personal Fitness for You ( Stokes and Schultz, 2002 ); Get Active! Get Fit! ( Stokes and Schultz, 2009 ); Personal Fitness: Looking Good, Feeling Good ( Williams, 2005 ); and Foundations of Fitness ( Rainey and Murray, 2005 ). Activities in the curriculum are designed for health benefits, and the ultimate goal for the student is to develop a commitment to regular exercise and physical activity. It is assumed that all children can achieve a health-enhancing level of fitness through regular engagement in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity.

Randomized controlled studies on the impact of a science-based fitness curriculum in 15 elementary schools showed that, although the curriculum allocated substantial lesson time to learning cognitive knowledge, the students were more motivated to engage in physical activities than students in the 15 control schools experiencing traditional physical education ( Chen et al., 2008 ), and they expended the same amount of calories as their counterparts in the control schools ( Chen et al., 2007 ). Longitudinal data from the study reveal continued knowledge growth in the children that strengthened their understanding of the science behind exercise and active living ( Sun et al., 2012 ). What is unclear, however, is whether the enthusiasm and knowledge gained through the curriculum will translate into the children's lives outside of physical education to help them become physically active at home.

To incorporate standards and benchmarks into a fitness education model, a committee under the auspices of NASPE (2012) developed the Instructional Framework for Fitness Education in Physical Education. It is suggested that through this proposed comprehensive framework, fitness education be incorporated into the existing physical education curriculum and embedded in the content taught in all instructional units. The entire framework, highlighted in Box 5-1 , can be viewed at http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/publications/upload/Instructional-Framework-for-Fitness-Education-in-PE-2012-2.pdf (accessed February 1, 2013).

Instructional Framework for Fitness Education in Physical Education. Technique: Demonstrate competency in techniques needed to perform a variety of moderate to vigorous physical activities. Technique in developing cardiovascular fitness.

Emergence of Active Gaming in Fitness Education

Today, active gaming and cell phone/computer applications are a part of physical activity for both youth and adults. Accordingly, fitness education in school physical education programs is being enhanced through the incorporation of active video games, also known as exergaming. Examples of active gaming programs with accompanying equipment include Konami Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Nintendo Wii, Gamebikes, Kinect XBOX, Xavix, and Hopsports. These active games have been incorporated into school wellness centers as high-tech methods of increasing student fitness levels to supplement the traditional modes for attaining vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity ( Greenberg and Stokes, 2007 ).

Bailey and McInnis (2011) compared selected active games with treadmill walking and found that each game—DDR, LightSpace (Bug Invasion), Nintendo Wii (Boxing), Cyber Trazer (Goalie Wars), Sportwall, and Xavix (J-Mat)—raised energy expenditure above that measured at rest. Mean metabolic equivalent (MET) values for each game were comparable to or higher than those measured for walking on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour. Graf and colleagues (2009) , studying boys and girls aged 10-13, found that both Wii boxing and DDR (level 2) elicited energy expenditure, heart rate, perceived exertion, and ventilatory responses that were comparable to or greater than those elicited by moderate-intensity walking on a treadmill. Similar results were found by Lanningham-Foster and colleagues (2009) among 22 children aged 10-14 and adults in that energy expenditure for both groups increased significantly when playing Wii over that expended during all sedentary activities. Staiano and colleagues (2012) explored factors that motivated overweight and obese African American high school students to play Wii during school-based physical activity opportunities. They found greater and more sustained energy expenditure over time and noted that players' various intrinsic motivations to play also influenced their level of energy expenditure. Mellecker and McManus (2008) determined that energy expenditure and heart rate were greater during times of active play than in seated play. Fawkner and colleagues (2010) studied 20 high school–age girls and found that dance simulation games provided an opportunity for most subjects to achieve a moderate-intensity level of physical activity. The authors conclude that regular use of the games aids in promoting health through physical activity. Haddock and colleagues (2009) conducted ergometer tests with children aged 7-14 and found increased oxygen consumption and energy expenditure above baseline determinations. Maddison and colleagues (2007) , studying children aged 10-14, found that active video game playing led to significant increases in energy expenditure, heart rate, and activity counts in comparison with baseline values. They conclude that playing these games for short time periods is comparable to light- to moderate-intensity conventional modes of exercise, including walking, skipping, and jogging. Mhurchu and colleagues (2008) also conclude that a short-term intervention involving active video games is likely to be an effective means of increasing children's overall level of physical activity. Additionally, Sit and colleagues (2010) , studying the effects of active gaming among 10-year-old children in Hong Kong, found the children to be significantly more physically active while playing interactive games compared with screen-based games.

Exergaming appears to increase acute physical activity among users and is being used in school settings because it is appealing to students. Despite active research in the area of exergaming and physical activity, however, exergaming's utility for increasing acute and habitual physical activity specifically in the physical education setting has yet to be confirmed. Further, results of studies conducted in nonlaboratory and nonschool settings have been mixed ( Baranowski et al., 2008 ). Moreover, any physical activity changes that do occur may not be sufficient to stimulate physiologic changes. For example, White and colleagues (2009) examined the effects of Nintendo Wii on physiologic changes. Although energy expenditure was raised above resting values during active gaming, the rise was not significant enough to qualify as part of the daily 60 minutes or more of vigorous-or moderate-intensity exercise recommended for children.

While collecting data on the effects of Nintendo Wii on 11-year-olds in New Zealand, White and colleagues (2009) found that active video games generated higher energy expenditure than both resting and inactive screen watching. They determined, however, that active gaming is a “low-intensity” physical activity. Therefore, it may be helpful in reducing the amount of sedentary behavior, but it should not be used as a replacement for more conventional modes of physical activity. Sun (2012) found that active gaming can increase student motivation to engage in physical activity, but the motivation may decrease as a result of prolonged exposure to the same games. This study also found that exergaming lessons provided less physical activity for children than regular conventional physical education. For inactive children, however, the exergaming environment is conducive to more active participation in the game-based physical activities than in conventional physical education ( Fogel et al., 2010 ). Finally, Sheehan and Katz (2012) found that among school-age children the use of active gaming added to postural stability, an important component of motor skills development.

From the research cited above, as well as ongoing research being conducted by the Health Games Research Project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, active gaming is promising as a means of providing young children an opportunity to become more physically active and helping them meet the recommended 60 or more minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per day. Different types of games may influence energy expenditure differentially, and some may serve solely as motivation. Selected games also appear to hold greater promise for increasing energy expenditure, while others invite youth to be physically active through motivational engagement. The dynamic and evolving field of active gaming is a promising area for future research as more opportunities arise to become physically active throughout the school environment.

Other Innovative Programs

While several evidence-based physical education programs—such as the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) and Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK)—are being implemented in schools, many innovative programs also have been implemented nationwide that are motivating and contribute to skills attainment while engaging youth in activities that are fun and fitness oriented. These programs include water sports, involving sailing, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, and paddle boarding; adventure activities such as Project Adventure; winter sports, such as snow skiing and snowshoeing; and extreme sports, such as in-line skating, skateboarding, and cycling.

Differences Among Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

Instructional opportunities vary within and among school levels as a result of discrepancies in state policy mandates. Although the time to be devoted to physical education (e.g., 150 minutes per week for elementary schools and 225 minutes per week for secondary schools) is commonly included in most state mandates, actual time allocation in school schedules is uncertain and often left to the discretion of local education officials.

With respect to content, in both elementary and secondary schools, physical activity is an assumed rather than an intended outcome except in the fitness education model. The goals of skill development and knowledge growth in physical education presumably are accomplished through participation in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity. Data are lacking, however, to support the claim that physical activity offered to further the attainment of skills and knowledge is of vigorous or moderate intensity and is of sufficient duration for children to reap health benefits.

Children in Nontraditional Schools

Research on physical education, physical activity, and sports opportunities in nontraditional school settings (charter schools, home schools, and correctional facilities) is extremely limited. Two intervention studies focused on charter schools addressed issues with Mexican American children. In the first ( Johnston et al., 2010 ), 10- to 14-year-old children were randomly assigned to either an instructor-led intervention or a self-help intervention for 2 years. The instructor-led intervention was a structured daily opportunity for the students to learn about nutrition and to engage in structured physical activities. The results indicate that the children in the instructor-led intervention lost more weight at the end of the intervention than those in the self-help condition. In the second study ( Romero, 2012 ), 11- to 16-year-old Mexican American children from low-income families participated in a 5-week, 10-lesson, hip-hop dance physical activity intervention. In comparison with data collected prior to the intervention, the children reported greater frequency of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity, lower perceived community barriers to physical activity, and stronger self-efficacy for physical activity. Collectively, the results of these two studies suggest that a structured physical activity intervention can be effective in enhancing and enriching physical activity opportunities for Mexican American adolescents in charter schools.

Research on physical activity among home-schooled children is also limited. The only study found was published in 2004 ( Welk et al., 2004 ). It describes differences in physical fitness, psychosocial correlates of physical activity, and physical activity between home-schooled children and their public school counterparts aged 9-16. No significant differences were found between the two groups of children on the measures used, but the researchers did note that the home-schooled children tended to be less physically active.

Research on physical education and physical activity in juvenile correction institutions is equally scarce. Munson and colleagues (1985 , 1988 ) conducted studies on the use of physical activity programs as a behavior mediation intervention strategy and compared its impact on juvenile delinquents' behavior change with that of other intervention strategies. They found that physical activity did not have a stronger impact than other programs on change in delinquent behavior.

Fitness Assessment

All states except Iowa have adopted state standards for physical education. However, the extent to which students achieve the standards is limited since no accountability is required.

An analysis of motor skills competency, strategic knowledge, physical activity, and physical fitness among 180 4th- and 5th-grade children demonstrated that the physical education standards in force were difficult to attain ( Erwin and Castelli, 2008 ). Among the study participants, fewer than a half (47 percent) were deemed motor competent, 77 percent demonstrated adequate progress in knowledge, only 40 percent were in the Healthy Fitness Zone on all five components of the Fitnessgram fitness assessment, and merely 15 percent engaged in 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. Clearly most of the children failed to meet benchmark measures of performance for this developmental stage. This evidence highlights the need for additional physical activity opportunities within and beyond physical education to enhance opportunities for students to achieve the standards.

Relationships among these student-learning outcomes were further decomposed in a study of 230 children ( Castelli and Valley, 2007 ). The authors determined that aerobic fitness and the number of fitness test scores in the Healthy Fitness Zone were the best predictors of daily engagement in physical activity relative to factors of gender, age, body mass index (BMI), motor skills competency, and knowledge. However, in-class engagement in physical activity was best predicted by aerobic fitness and motor skills competence, suggesting that knowledge and skills should not be overlooked in a balanced physical education curriculum intended to promote lifelong physical activity.

As an untested area, student assessment in physical education has been conducted on many indicators other than learning outcomes. As reported in a seminal study ( Hensley and East, 1989 ), physical education teachers base learning assessment on participation (96 percent), effort (88 percent), attitude (76 percent), sportsmanship (75 percent), dressing out (72 percent), improvement (68 percent), attendance (58 percent), observation of skills (58 percent), knowledge tests (46 percent), skills tests (45 percent), potential (25 percent), and homework (11 percent). These data, while several years old, show that most learning assessments in physical education fail to target relevant learning objectives such as knowledge, skills, and physical activity behavior. The development of teacher-friendly learning assessments consistent with national and/or state standards is sorely needed.

Fitness assessment in the school environment can serve multiple purposes. On the one hand, it can provide both teacher and student with information about the student's current fitness level relative to a criterion-referenced standard, yield valid information that can serve as the basis for developing a personal fitness or exercise program based on current fitness levels, motivate students to do better to achieve a minimum standard of health-related fitness where deficiencies exist, and possibly assist in the identification of potential future health problems. On the other hand, an overall analysis of student fitness assessments provides valuable data that can enable teachers to assess learner outcomes in the physical education curriculum and assess the present curriculum to determine whether it includes sufficient fitness education to allow students to make fitness gains throughout the school year. Fitness assessment also provides a unique opportunity for schools to track data on students longitudinally. The ultimate goal of assessing student fitness in the school environment should be to educate students on the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle throughout the life span.

When administering fitness assessments in the school setting, caution is essential to ensure confidentiality of the results. The results and their interpretation should be shared with students and parents/guardians to have the greatest impact. To ensure the greatest benefits from fitness assessment, NASPE (2010) developed a position statement on “Appropriate Uses of Fitness Measurement.” Table 5-1 outlines appropriate and inappropriate practices related to fitness testing in schools and other educational settings.

TABLE 5-1. Appropriate and Inappropriate Practices Related to Fitness Testing in Schools and Other Educational Settings.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Practices Related to Fitness Testing in Schools and Other Educational Settings.

When fitness assessment becomes part of a quality physical education program, teaching and learning strategies will guide all students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain and improve their personal health-related fitness as part of their commitment to lifelong healthy lifestyles. Teachers who incorporate fitness education as a thread throughout all curricula will make the greatest impact in engaging and motivating students to participate in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity in order to maintain and/or improve their personal health-related fitness. For example, the development of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program with the use of a criterion-referenced platform provides students with the educational benefits of fitness assessment knowledge (see Box 5-2 ). The emergence of one national fitness assessment, Fitnessgram, along with professional development and recognition protocols, further supports fitness education in the school environment.

Presidential Youth Fitness Program. The Presidential Youth Fitness Program, launched in September 2012, is a comprehensive program that provides training and resources to schools for assessing, tracking, and recognizing youth fitness. The program promotes (more...)

Online Physical Education

Online physical education is a growing trend. Fully 59 percent of states allow required physical education credits to be earned through online courses. Only just over half of these states require that the online courses be taught by state-certified physical education teachers. Daum and Buschner (2012) report that, in general, online physical education focuses more on cognitive knowledge than physical skill or physical activity, many online courses fail to meet national standards for learning and physical activity guidelines, and teachers are not concerned about students' accountability for learning.

Although online courses differ from traditional in-school physical education courses in the delivery of instruction, the standards and benchmarks for these courses must mirror those adopted by each individual state, especially when the course is taken to meet high school graduation requirements. NASPE (2007a , p. 2) recommends that all physical education programs include “opportunity to learn, meaningful content, appropriate instruction, and student and program assessment.” If an online physical education program meets these standards, it may be just as effective as a face-to-face program. Online physical education can be tailored to each student's needs, and it helps students learn how to exercise independently. The full NASPE position statement on online physical education can be found at http://www.ncpublic-schools.org/docs/curriculum/healthfulliving/resources/onlinepeguidelines.pdf (accessed February 1, 2013). The physical education policy of one online school, the Florida Virtual School, is presented in Box 5-3 .

Florida Virtual School's Physical Education Policy. Sections 1001.11(7) and 1003.453(2) of the Florida Statutes require that every school district have a current version of its Physical Education Policy on the district website. This document satisfies (more...)

Online physical education provides another option for helping students meet the standards for physical education if they lack room in their schedule for face-to-face classes, need to make up credit, or are just looking for an alternative to the traditional physical education class. On the other hand, online courses may not be a successful mode of instruction for students with poor time management or technology skills. According to Daum and Buschner (2012) , online learning is changing the education landscape despite the limited empirical research and conflicting results on its effectiveness in producing student learning. Through a survey involving 45 online high school physical education teachers, the authors found that almost three-fourths of the courses they taught failed to meet the national guideline for secondary schools of 225 minutes of physical education per week. Most of the courses required physical activity 3 days per week, while six courses required no physical activity. The teachers expressed support, hesitation, and even opposition toward online physical education.

Scheduling Decisions

Lesson scheduling is commonly at the discretion of school principals in the United States. The amount of time dedicated to each subject is often mandated by federal or state statutes. Local education agencies or school districts have latitude to make local decisions that go beyond these federal or state mandates. Often the way courses are scheduled to fill the school day is determined by the managerial skills of the administrator making the decisions or is based on a computer program that generates individual teacher schedules.

Successful curriculum change requires supportive scheduling (see Kramer and Keller, 2008 , for an example of curriculum reform in mathematics). More research is needed on the effects of scheduling of physical education. In one such attempt designed to examine the impact of content and lesson length on calorie expenditure in middle school physical education, Chen and colleagues (2012) found that a lesson lasting 45-60 minutes with sport skills or fitness exercises as the major content would enable middle school students to expend more calories than either shorter (30–40 minutes) or longer (65–90 minutes) lessons. The evidence from such research can be used to guide allocation of the recommended weekly amount of physical education (150 minutes for elementary schools, 225 minutes for secondary schools) to achieve optimal health benefits for youth. Additional discussion of scheduling is provided later in this chapter in the section on solutions for overcoming the barriers to quality physical education.

  • IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION TO CHILD DEVELOPMENT

As discussed in Chapter 3 , there is a direct correlation between regular participation in physical activity and health in school-age children, suggesting that physical activity provides important benefits directly to the individual child ( HHS, 2008 ). Physical activity during a school day may also be associated with academic benefits ( Chapter 4 ) and children's social and emotional well-being ( HHS, 2008 ; Chapter 3 ). Physical education, along with other opportunities for physical activity in the school environment (discussed in Chapter 6 ), is important for optimal health and development in school-age children. It may also serve as a preventive measure for adult conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Little has been learned about the short- and long-term effectiveness of physical education in addressing public health issues ( Pate et al., 2011 ). Because the learning objectives of physical education have not included improvement in health status as a direct measure, indirect measures and correlates have been used as surrogates. However, some promising research, such as that conducted by Morgan and colleagues (2007) , has demonstrated that students are more physically active on days when they participate in physical education classes. Further, there is no evidence of a compensatory effect such that children having been active during physical education elect not to participate in additional physical activity on that day. Accordingly, quality physical education contributes to a child's daily accumulation of physical activity and is of particular importance for children who are overweight or who lack access to these opportunities in the home environment ( NASPE, 2012 ).

Unlike other physical activity in school (e.g., intramural or extramural sports), physical education represents the only time and place for every child to learn knowledge and skills related to physical activity and to be physically active during the school day. It also is currently the only time and place for all children to engage in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity safely because of the structured and specialist-supervised instructional environment. It is expected that children will use the skills and knowledge learned in physical education in other physical activity opportunities in school, such as active recess, active transportation, and intramural sports. For these reasons, physical education programming has been identified as the foundation on which multicomponent or coordinated approaches incorporating other physical activity opportunities can be designed and promoted.

Coordinated approaches in one form or another have existed since the early 1900s, but it was not until the 21st century that physical education was acknowledged as the foundation for these approaches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2010) , the National Association of State Boards of Education ( NASBE; 2012 ), and NASPE (2004 , 2010 ) all support this view because physical education provides students with the tools needed to establish and maintain a physically active lifestyle throughout their life span. As discussed in Chapter 3 , research on motor skills development has provided evidence linking physical skill proficiency levels to participation in physical activity and fitness ( Stodden et al., 2008 , 2009 ). Exercise psychology research also has identified children's perceived skill competence as a correlate of their motivation for participation in physical activity ( Sallis et al., 2000 ). When school-based multicomponent interventions include physical activities experienced in physical education that are enjoyable and developmentally appropriate, such coordinated efforts are plausible and likely to be effective in producing health benefits ( Corbin, 2002 ). Accordingly, two of the Healthy People 2020 ( Healthy People 2020, 2010 ) objectives for physical activity in youth relate to physical education: “PA-4: Increase the proportion of the Nation's public and private schools that require daily physical education for all students ” and “PA-5: Increase the proportion of adolescents who participate in daily school physical education.” 1

The importance of physical education to the physical, cognitive, and social aspects of child development has been acknowledged by many federal, state, and local health and education agencies. Many private entities throughout the country likewise have offered their support and recommendations for strengthening physical education. For example, the Institute of Medicine (2012a), in its report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation , points to the need to strengthen physical education to ensure that all children engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity per school day. Similarly, the National Physical Activity Plan (2010) , developed by a group of national organizations at the forefront of public health and physical activity, comprises a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity in all segments of schools. The plan is intended to create a national culture that supports physically active lifestyles so that its vision that “one day, all Americans will be physically active and they will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity” can be realized. To accomplish this ultimate goal, the plan calls for improvement in the quantity and quality of physical education for students from prekindergarten through 12th grade through significant policy initiatives at the federal and state levels that guide and fund physical education and other physical activity programs. Specifically, the plan prescribes seven specific tactics presented in Box 5-4 .

National Physical Activity Plan: Strategy 2. The National Physical Activity Plan's Strategy 2 is as follows: Strategy 2: Develop and implement state and school district policies requiring school accountability for the quality and quantity of physical (more...)

Medical professional associations, such as the American Cancer Society (ACS), American Diabetes Association (ADA), and American Heart Association (AHA), have long acknowledged the importance of physical education and have endorsed policies designed to strengthen it. A position statement on physical education from the ACS Cancer Action Network, ADA, and AHA (2012) calls for support for quality physical education and endorses including physical education as an important part of a student's comprehensive, well-rounded education program because of its positive impact on lifelong health and well-being. Further, physical education policy should make quality the priority while also aiming to increase the amount of time physical education is offered in schools.

Recently, private-sector organizations—such as the NFL through its Play60 program—have been joining efforts to ensure that youth meet the guideline of at least 60 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per day. One such initiative is Nike's (2012) Designed to Move: A Physical Activity Action Agenda , a framework for improving access to physical activity for all American children in schools. Although the framework does not focus exclusively on physical education, it does imply the important role of physical education in the action agenda (see Box 5-5 ).

Nike's Designed to Move: A Physical Activity Action Agenda. Universal access: Design programs that are effective for every child, including those who face the most barriers to participating in physical activity. Age appropriate: Physical activities and (more...)

Finally, in response to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) launched the Let's Move In School initiative, which takes a holistic approach to the promotion of physical activity in schools. The purpose of the initiative is to help elementary and secondary schools launch the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP), which is focused on strengthening physical education and promoting all opportunities for physical activity in school. The CSPAP in any given school is intended to accomplish two goals: (1) “provide a variety of school-based physical activity opportunities that enable all students to participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day” and (2) “provide coordination among the CSPAP components to maximize understanding, application, and practice of the knowledge and skills learned in physical education so that all students will be fully physically educated and well-equipped for a lifetime of physical activity” ( AAHPERD, 2012 ). The five CSPAP components, considered vital for developing a physically educated and physically active child, are physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community involvement ( AAHPERD, 2012 ). Schools are allowed to implement all or selected components.

An AAHPERD (2011) survey indicated that 16 percent of elementary schools, 13 percent of middle schools, and 6 percent of high schools (from a self-responding nationwide sample, not drawn systematically) had implemented a CSPAP since the program was launched. Although most schools sampled (90 percent) provided physical education, the percentage declined through middle school and high school, such that only 44 percent of high schools provided physical education to seniors. In most schools (92 percent), classes were taught by teachers certified to teach physical education.

More than 76 percent of elementary schools provided daily recess for children, and 31 percent had instituted a policy prohibiting teachers from withholding children from participating in recess for disciplinary reasons. In 56 percent of elementary schools that had implemented a CSPAP, physical activity was encouraged between lessons/classes; in 44 percent it was integrated into academic lessons; and in 43 percent the school day started with physical activity programs.

The percentage of schools that offered intramural sports clubs to at least 25 percent of students declined from 62 percent of middle schools to 50 percent of high school for males, and from 53 to 40 percent, respectively, for females. Interscholastic sports were offered in 89 percent of high schools. Among them, approximately 70 percent involved at least 25 percent of the male student population participating and 58 percent involved at least 25 percent of the female student population participating. Sixty-five percent of high schools had “cut” policies, which could limit the enrollment of students in interscholastic sports.

  • CHARACTERISTICS OF QUALITY PHYSICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

As noted, a high-quality physical education program can help youth meet the guideline of at least 60 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per day. This increase in physical activity should be balanced with appropriate attention to skill development and to national education standards for quality physical education (see Box 5-6 ). In a recent literature review, Bassett and colleagues (2013) found that physical education contributes to children achieving an average of 23 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity daily. However, the time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity could be increased by 6 minutes if the physical education curriculum were to incorporate a standardized curriculum such as SPARK (discussed in detail below) ( Bassett et al., 2013 ). Thus, it is possible for physical education to contribute to youth meeting at least half (30 minutes) of their daily requirement for vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity. To help children grow holistically, however, physical education needs to achieve other learning goals when children are active. To this end, physical education programs must possess the quality characteristics specified by NASPE (2007b , 2009b , c ) (see Box 5-6 ). Designing and implementing a physical education program with these characteristics in mind should ensure that the time and curricular materials of the program enable students to achieve the goals of becoming knowledgeable exercisers and skillful movers who value and adopt a physically active, healthy lifestyle.

NASPE's Characteristics of a High-Quality Physical Education Program. All students are required to take physical education. Instructional periods total 150 minutes per week (elementary schools) and 225 minutes per week (middle and secondary schools).

Findings from research on effective physical education support these characteristics as the benchmarks for quality programs. In an attempt to understand what effective physical education looks like, Castelli and Rink (2003) conducted a mixed-methods comparison of 62 physical education programs in which a high percentage of students achieved the state physical education learning standards with programs whose students did not achieve the standards. Comprehensive data derived from student performance, teacher surveys, and onsite observations demonstrated that highly effective physical education programs were housed in cohesive, long-standing departments that experienced more facilitators (e.g., positive policy, supportive administration) than inhibitors (e.g., marginalized status as a subject matter within the school). Further, effective programs made curricular changes prior to the enactment of state-level policy, while ineffective programs waited to make changes until they were told to do so. The teachers in ineffective programs had misconceptions about student performance and, in general, lower expectations of student performance and behavior.

Examples of Evidence-Based Physical Education Curricular Programs

Two large-scale intervention studies—SPARK and CATCH—are discussed in this section as examples of how programs can be structured to increase vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity in physical education classes.

The aim of SPARK, a research-based curriculum, is to improve the health, fitness, and physical activity levels of youth by creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness. Each SPARK program “fosters environmental and behavioral change by providing a coordinated package of highly active curriculum, on-site teacher training, extensive follow-up support, and content-matched equipment focused on the development of healthy lifestyles, motor skills and movement knowledge, and social and personal skills” ( SPARK, 2013 ).

Research supports the use of SPARK as a platform for improving the quality of physical activity instruction in schools. The SPARK curriculum has demonstrated the ability to improve student activity levels, increase the number of minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity for students, and provide sustainable and positive change in a school district ( Myers-Schieffer and Thomas, 2012 ). In one study, researchers found that “the children were positive about this specific curriculum. This is gratifying because one of the goals of the program was to engender positive feeling in the students toward physical activity” ( McKenzie et al., 1994 , p. 213). In another study, a SPARK intervention is credited with exposing students to an increase in motor skills drills, which in turn led to a higher level of manipulative motor skills acquisition ( McKenzie et al., 1998 ). As a result of improved activity levels, students who participated in the SPARK curriculum improved their times in the 1-mile run and sit-up tests ( Sallis et al., 1997 ). Finally, System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) classroom observations revealed that students in SPARK classes increased their time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per class from 17.8 to up to 40.2 minutes compared with students in non-SPARK classes, who engaged in 17.8 minutes of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity per class. Teachers involved in the SPARK intervention offered increased levels of fitness promotion and provided students with an increased amount of general instruction and increased minutes of attention per week ( McKenzie et al., 1997 ; Myers-Schieffer and Thomas, 2012 ).

The CATCH program teaches children in grades K-8 how to be healthy throughout their lifetimes through a coordinated approach that involves engaging the community, families, and educators to work together. The goal of CATCH is to impact children's health behaviors positively, improve the school health environment, and influence and change school health policies and practices in order to reduce and eliminate health risk factors and risk-related behaviors of students ( Perry et al., 1990 ). CATCH significantly increases the physical activity levels of students during physical education class and provides a wide range of learning experiences for students of all abilities.

CATCH began as a clinical trial from 1991 to 1994 in four regional sites: Tulane University in New Orleans; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; and the University of Texas in Houston. The participants were elementary school children in grades 3 through 5 and included children from multiethnic backgrounds. Upon completion of the main trial, CATCH had succeeded in producing positive and lasting changes in children's behaviors, including decreasing fat consumption and increasing physical activity ( Luepker et al., 1996 ). The changes were maintained for 3 years postintervention ( Nader et al., 1999 ).

National Standards

Because physical education is part of the curriculum in schools, its quality should be judged only by whether and to what extent children have learned and benefited from it. In a landmark document on learning goals, Moving into the Future: National Standards for Physical Education , NASPE (2004) proposes six student learning standards specifying both conceptual and behavioral characteristics that a physically educated person must possess and display (see Box 5-7 ). These characteristics encompass knowledge, skill, behavior, and confidence critical to the development and maintenance of health and to the enjoyment of a physically active, healthful lifestyle.

Certified Physical Education Specialists as the Main Teaching Force

If standards are the gauge for quality, teachers make the difference in a particular school in terms of the extent to which students can achieve the standards. Research has made clear that certified physical education specialists can provide more and longer opportunities for students to meet physical activity guidelines compared with classroom teachers trained to teach physical education ( McKenzie et al., 2001 ). Moreover, when teachers are taught strategies to encourage vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity in physical education class, a significant increase in physical activity can be expected ( Lonsdale et al., 2013 ). The role of certified physical education specialists in health-enhancing physical education has become increasingly critical ( McKenzie, 2007 ). The evidence is unequivocal regarding the need for a continued effort to train physical education specialists and the need for schools to continue to employ them as the main teaching force designing and implementing health-enhancing physical education programs to the fullest extent.

Aside from serving as the instructional leader for physical education, physical education specialists can serve as expert resources for classroom teachers in the implementation of classroom physical activity breaks and recess (discussed in detail in Chapter 6 ). Their expertise in age-appropriate physical activity helps ensure that students are participating in activities that are fun and engaging. Additionally, as the catalyst for a healthy school environment, the physical education specialist can assist in the design and delivery of intramural programs provided before and after school, as well as serve as a community outreach specialist for onsite activity partnerships. For physical education specialists interested in a more formal role as a physical activity leader at their school, NASPE has developed a director of physical activity certification program.

It is a commonly held notion of society that to maintain the quality of education, schools should hire teachers certified to teach in the subject matter areas in which they are licensed. Unfortunately, in the United States, not all physical education classes are taught by certified physical education specialists. Indeed, 68 percent of elementary schools allow classroom teachers (generalists) to teach physical education ( NASPE, 2012 ). Certification or licensure of middle/junior high school and high school physical education teachers is required in only 82 percent and 90 percent of states ( NASPE, 2012 ), respectively. Only 37 states (72 percent) have a requirement for professional development and continuing education hours/credit for physical education teachers to maintain or renew their certification, with renewal time ranging from 3 to 5 years ( NASPE, 2012 ). Twenty-eight states (55 percent) allow temporary/emergency certificates to teach physical education that are valid for 1 to 3 years ( NASPE, 2012 ). The basic requirements for emergency certification include a bachelor's degree in teaching or in any area except physical education. Only 31 states (60 percent) support physical education teachers going through the national board certification process, and only New York requires each school district to have a licensed physical education specialist serving as a physical education coordinator ( NASPE, 2012 ).

Preservice Education for Teachers

Teaching physical education to children effectively and safely requires specific knowledge about children and their physical/mental development, body composition (anatomy) and functions (physiology and biomechanics), and motor skills development and acquisition. In addition, teaching physical education requires substantial knowledge and skill in pedagogy—the science and art of teaching. Box 5-8 lists the NASPE standards for beginning physical education teachers who have completed a bachelor's teacher training program and those who have completed advanced (master's-level) training.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education Standards for Beginning Physical Education Teachers. Scientific and theoretical knowledge: Physical education teacher candidates know and apply discipline-specific scientific and theoretical concepts (more...)

These standards are accompanied by measurement rubrics (unacceptable, acceptable, and target, with target being exemplary) developed jointly by NASPE and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for evaluating physical education teacher education programs across the country (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico). NCATE identified a total of 133 physical education teacher education programs as “nationally recognized.” The committee was unable to determine how many programs nationwide have met the minimum standards (not at the nationally recognized level) or locate reliable information on the total number of physical education teacher education programs. A Web search using the term “physical education” resulted in two different but relatively reliable statistics: 720 ( College Board, 2013 ) and 1,945 ( Peterson's, 2013 ). But the data sources did not distinguish between physical education teaching majors and other kinesiology concentrations (e.g., sports medicine, exercise physiology/fitness). Statistics on the number of physical education teacher education programs and their quality based on the NASPE standards are needed.

The current wave of effort to curb physical inactivity among youth has begun to influence teacher education programs. According to a national survey study ( Kulinna et al., 2010 ), current teacher candidates believe that helping K-12 students become physically active and fit is the first priority of physical education, followed by helping them actualize their own goals, develop motor skills, and become responsible. These data appear to suggest that physical education teacher education programs are beginning to turn from a traditionally sports- and skills-centered model to a more comprehensive, physical activity– and health-centered model. This change is important in that the role of both current and future physical education teachers extends beyond merely teaching their classes to advancing public health goals ( McKenzie, 2007 ).

In many universities, however, teacher education programs in physical education have either been reduced or eliminated because of the decline in physical education requirements, which has resulted in a decrease in the number of physical education teachers being employed. Concomitantly, physical education teacher education programs are experiencing an unprecedented crisis. A recent report indicates that, in school year 2008–2009, only 23 doctorate-granting kinesiology departments offered doctoral programs that were training future teacher educators ( Boyce and Rikard, 2011a ). A total of 140 doctoral students were receiving training offered by 114 professors (including part-time), and 11 percent of those professors were planning to retire. Boyce and Rikard (2011a) report that in the past 13 years, 479 doctoral students graduated as physical education teacher educators—36.8 each year on average—89 percent of whom were able to find positions in colleges and universities. During the same period, 61 positions were open, only 39 of which were filled (64 percent), with an applicant pool of 38 candidates with earned degrees and 13 who completed the doctoral course-work but did not complete the dissertation research ( Boyce and Rikard, 2011b ). Clearly there is a shortage of physical education teacher educators in higher education institutions. Because of a lack of national tracking data on physical education graduates, the extent to which the teacher educator shortage has impacted and will impact the need to supply quality physical education teachers to the nation is unclear.

Professional Development

In all educational settings, professional development for teachers and administrators is a continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills that relate to an educator's profession or academic subject area, job responsibilities, or work environment. Professional development is essential for improving classroom instruction and student achievement ( Ball and Cohen, 1999 ; Cohen and Hill, 2000 ). Through a variety of delivery methods, professional development activities may include credit or noncredit courses, classroom or online venues, workshops, seminars, teleconferences, and webinars, with the ultimate goal of improving the delivery of instruction to enhance student achievement.

Yoon and colleagues (2007) assert that a strong link exists among professional development, teacher learning and practice, and student achievement. Figure 5-1 , which aligns with the research on effective professional development ( Kennedy, 1998 ; Loucks-Horsley and Matsumoto, 1999 ; Cohen and Hill, 2000 ; Garet et al., 2001 ; Fishman et al., 2003 ; Guskey and Sparks, 2004 ), illustrates how (1) professional development enhances teacher knowledge and skills, (2) better knowledge and skills improve classroom teaching, and (3) improved teaching raises student achievement.

Logic model of the impact of professional development on student achievement.

The most impactful statement of government policy on the preparation and professional development of teachers was the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ( Whitehurst, 2002 ), known as the No Child Left Behind Act. While Title I of the act places highly qualified teachers in the classroom, Title II addresses the same goal by funding professional development for teachers. The importance of quality professional development is well documented in the act.

Professional development, according to the No Child Left Behind Act, should be offered to improve teachers' knowledge of the subject matter they teach, strengthen their classroom management skills, advance their understanding and implementation of effective teaching strategies, and build their capabilities to address disparities in education. The act states that high-quality professional development programs should have the characteristics listed in Box 5-9 .

Characteristics of a High-Quality Professional Development Program. It is sustained, intensive, and content-focused to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction and teacher performance. It is aligned with and directly related to state (more...)

Although there is a substantial literature on professional development, only a few high-quality studies relate teachers' professional development experiences to student outcomes. Recommendations for high-quality professional development tend to emphasize the importance of intense, content-focused experiences, as well as opportunities for peer collaboration and structured induction experiences for new teachers. Wiley and Yoon (1995) and Kennedy (1998) suggest that teaching practice and student achievement are likely to improve when professional development is focused on academic content and curriculum that are aligned with standards-based reform.

Kulinna (2012) used Guskey and Sparks' (2004) Model of Teacher Change to determine whether students' physical activity and BMI changed after their teacher underwent a 1-year professional development program. Significant increases in students' physical activity levels were found, but no significant changes in BMI. Looking at the effect of professional development on changes in behavior among physical education teachers, Martin and colleagues (2008) found that, following a variety of professional development experiences and follow-up sessions, teachers showed increases in their efficacy in attaining motor skills objectives, physical activity and fitness knowledge objectives, and personal and social objectives. These results lend support to the value of professional development in enhancing teachers' perceptions of self-efficacy for teaching the curriculum. McCaughtry and colleagues (2006) explored the factors that make teacher professional development successful and what success might mean in terms of teachers' instructional practices and feelings about change. Results indicated that after teachers completed professional development the resources they gained enabled them to improve their instruction by teaching more content, maximizing student learning opportunities, teaching diverse learners, teaching to development, and increasing classroom safety.

Learning Forward (formerly known as the National Staff Development Council) provides research-based guidelines to assist districts in aligning local professional development programs with qualitative standards. Its Standards for Professional Learning were revised in 2011 and are guided by the relationship between professional learning and student results (see Box 5-10 ). According to Learning Forward (2012) :

Standards for Professional Learning. Learning communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and (more...)

  • When professional learning is standards based, it has greater potential to change what educators know, are able to do, and believe.
  • When educators' knowledge, skills, and dispositions change, they have a broader repertoire of effective strategies to use in adapting their practices to meet performance expectations and students' learning needs.
  • When educator practices improve, students have a greater likelihood of achieving results.
  • When student results improve, the cycle repeats for continuous improvement.
  • Professional learning standards provide a foundation on which to design professional learning experiences at the district or school level that will assist educators in acquiring the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools.

As a recognized means of providing physical education teachers with the tools necessary to enhance student achievement, quality professional development should be provided on a regular basis with follow-up support, along with a method for determining its effectiveness in meeting both curricular and pedagogical standards. Furthermore, to enhance the fitness achievement of students, school-based professional development should provide instruction on the integration of fitness testing into a curriculum and should include training in protocols, the interpretation and communication of results, and the setting and achievement of fitness goals and recommendations for developing healthy living habits for both students and their parents ( IOM, 2012a ).

  • POLICIES THAT AFFECT THE QUALITY OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Instructional opportunities for physical activity and physical education are mandated by most states. In comparison with data prior to 2006, more states have developed mandates for physical education at both the elementary and secondary school levels. However, most mandates lack a specified time allocation that ensures meeting the NASPE recommendation of 150 and 225 minutes per week for elementary and secondary schools, respectively ( McCullick et al., 2012 ), despite the fact that physical education has been considered a cornerstone for developing schoolwide multicomponent interventions to address the issue of physical inactivity in schools. Some obstacles to the implementation of quality physical activity are listed in Box 5-11 .

Obstacles to Implementation of Quality Physical Education. Class periods dedicated to physical education are declining at all school levels. Existing discrepancies between policy and implementation with respect to specific time allocation contribute to (more...)

According to Title IX of the No Child Left Behind Act (Part A Sec 9101–11), core academic subjects include “English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.” If physical education were designated as a core academic subject, it would receive much-needed policy attention that would enhance its overall quality with respect to content offerings, instruction, and accountability. In support of the inclusion of physical education as a core subject, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) reintroduced the Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (PHYSICAL) Act on February 27, 2013, to support and encourage the health and well-being of elementary and secondary school students.

With physical education not being considered a core subject, and amid growing concern regarding the increase in childhood obesity and physical inactivity, several national studies and reports have emphasized the importance of implementing state statutes, laws, and regulations both mandating time requirements for physical education and monitoring compliance. Yet although several national governmental, nongovernmental, private industry, and public health organizations have recommended specific day and time/minute requirements for physical education, no standardized state policy has emerged.

Analysis of State Statutes and Administrative Codes

In the United States, school policies on curriculum and school-based activities are determined by local education agencies according to state laws governing educational activities. Decisions about what to teach, who will teach it, and what level of resources will be provided are made by the state, county or district, and school administration. To better understand the status of state statutes, administrative codes, and policies impacting physical education in schools, the committee analyzed NASBE's State School Health Policy Database ( NASBE, 2012 ; www.nasbe.org/healthy_schools [accessed February 1, 2013]). Of importance to this analysis is the distinction made between state statutes and administrative codes, which accords with the definition proffered by Perna and colleagues (2012) : “At the state level, the 2 primary official public policy levers referred to as ‘codified law’ used for developing school-based physical education policy are 1) statutory laws (laws enacted by the given State legislature); and 2) administrative laws (rule and regulations by state executive branch agencies, such as the Department of Education)” (p. 1594). A second point to note is that in descriptions of physical education graduation requirements, it is impossible to differentiate among “credit,” “Carnegie unit,” and “course” so as to determine the exact time requirements for graduation.

Using the NASBE database, the committee performed an overall analysis of policies on physical education and physical activity of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis revealed that 45 states (88 percent) mandate physical education; 22 states (23 percent) require it with mandatory minutes, while 25 states (49 percent) have no mandatory minutes and 4 (0.07 percent) leave the required number of minutes up to local decision makers. A majority of states allow for waivers or substitutions for physical education (see the discussion below). Fitness assessment is required in 15 states (29 percent), and other curricular assessments are required in 4 states (0.07 percent). Twenty-six states (53 percent) require physical education grades to be included in a student's grade point average. Forty-three states (84 percent) require some degree of physical education for high school graduation, with a range of 0.5 to 3.75 credits. One state (0.02 percent) requires K-12 physical education but does not require 4 years of physical education for high school graduation.

Although no federal policies requiring physical education presently exist, the above evidence shows that the majority of states require physical education. However, the number of days and time required vary greatly by state and local school district, as does the amount of physical education required for high school graduation. Given the reduced time for physical activity in school through recess, and absent the implementation of stronger policies, schools have not only the opportunity but also the responsibility to nurture in youth the skills, knowledge, and confidence to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The consensus among states indicated by the mandates for physical education summarized above, together with the discrepancies in specific policies, may suggest the need for general guidelines or a federal-level mandate that can serve to guide a collective effort to address the prevalence of childhood inactivity and obesity.

Policies That Support Physical Education

In addition to policies that directly require offering physical education in schools, other policies support physical education opportunities in schools. In 2004 the U.S. government issued a mandate, under the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, requiring school districts that receive funds under this act to establish local school wellness policies. These policies were to include provisions for physical activity and healthy eating, thus expanding schools' responsibility for providing physical activity to school-age children. The enactment of this mandates made schools “the central element in a community system that ensures that students participate in enough physical activity to develop healthy lifestyles” ( Pate et al., 2006 , p. 1215). Several government agencies and organizations have recommended embedding a specific number of days and minutes of physical education into each school's or district's wellness policy. Although school districts are required to include goals for physical activity in their local school wellness policies, they are not required to address physical education specifically.

Policies That Hinder Physical Education

Some policies have contributed to the substantial reduction in the opportunities for school-age children to be physically active, such as by shortening or eliminating physical education classes. These reductions can be attributed to budget cuts and increased pressure for schools to meet academic standards imposed by the federal government.

No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that states develop assessment and accountability measures to verify performance improvements in the subject areas of reading and mathematics (P.L. No. 107-110, Section 115). Specifically, federal funding is now dependent on schools making adequate progress in reading and mathematics. No Child Left Behind requires all public schools receiving federal funding to administer statewide standardized annual tests for all students. Schools that receive Title I funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 must make adequate yearly progress in test scores (e.g., each year 5th graders must do better on standardized tests than the previous year's 5th graders). If required improvements are not made, schools are penalized through decreased funding. If a school produces poor results for 2 consecutive years, improvement plans must be developed for the school. If a school does not make adequate progress for 5 consecutive years, a full restructuring of the school is mandated.

Under the act, physical education, music, and art are considered “nonessential” subjects and are not a main focus of the school learning environment. In response to the act, schools have devoted more time in the school day to instruction in reading and mathematics. Since the act was passed, 62 percent of elementary schools and 20 percent of middle schools have increased instructional time in reading/language arts and mathematics ( Center on Education Policy, 2008 ). Unfortunately, 44 percent of school administrators reported that these increases in instructional time for reading and mathematics were achieved at the expense of time devoted to physical education, recess, art, music, and other subjects ( Center on Education Policy, 2007 , 2008 ) (see Table 5-2 ).

TABLE 5-2. Changes in Time Allocation in Elementary Schools Since 2001–2002.

Changes in Time Allocation in Elementary Schools Since 2001–2002.

The emphasis on high-stakes testing and pressure for academic achievement in the core subjects has had unintended consequences for other subjects throughout the school day. In developing master schedules, school site administrators have been forced to make difficult decisions regarding the allotment of time for “nonessential” subjects. The average reduction in instructional time in these “nonessential” subjects has been 145 minutes per week. As discussed earlier, however, no evidence suggests that physical education and physical activity have a negative effect on student achievement or academic outcomes ( CDC, 2010 ). On the contrary, positive academic-related outcomes (e.g., improved on-task classroom behavior, cognitive development, academic performance) have been associated with physical education and physical activity (see Chapter 4 ).

The Center on Education Policy (2007) conducted an analysis of 2006–2007 survey data from 349 school districts on the amount of time devoted to specific subjects to determine the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act. Shifts in instructional time toward English language arts and mathematics and away from other subjects were relatively large in a majority of school districts that made these types of changes. Sixty-two percent of districts reported increasing time in elementary schools in English language arts and/or mathematics since 2001–2002. A higher proportion of urban districts (76 percent) than rural districts (54 percent) reported such increases.

Districts that increased instructional time for English language arts and/or mathematics did so by 43 percent on average. Districts that also reduced instructional time in other subjects reported total reductions of 32 percent, on average. Eight of 10 districts that reported increasing time for English language arts did so by at least 75 minutes per week, and more than half (54 percent) did so by 150 minutes or more per week. Among districts that reported adding time for mathematics, 63 percent added at least 75 minutes per week, and 19 percent added 150 minutes or more per week.

Most districts that increased time for English language arts or mathematics also reported substantial cuts in time for other subjects or periods, including social studies, science, art and music, physical education, recess, and lunch. Among the districts that reported both increasing time for English language arts or mathematics and reducing time in other subjects, 72 percent indicated that they reduced the time for one or more of these other subjects by a total of at least 75 minutes per week. For example, more than half (53 percent) of these districts cut instructional time by at least 75 minutes per week in social studies, and the same percentage (53 percent) cut time by at least 75 minutes per week in science ( Center on Education Policy, 2007 ).

Districts that reported an increase in instructional time for elementary school English language arts spent an average of 378 minutes per week on this subject before No Child Left Behind was enacted. After the act became law, they spent 520 minutes per week. The average increase for English language arts was 141 minutes per week, or a 47 percent increase over the level prior to the act ( Center on Education Policy, 2007 ; see district survey items 18 and 19 in Table IT-18A). Table 5-3 shows the specific amounts of time cut from various subjects in districts that reported decreases.

TABLE 5-3. Time Cut from Subjects or Periods in Districts Reporting Decreases in Instructional Time.

Time Cut from Subjects or Periods in Districts Reporting Decreases in Instructional Time.

Districts with at least one school identified as “in need of improvement” under the act were far more likely than districts not in need of improvement to decrease time in certain subjects so as to devote more time to English language arts and mathematics (78 versus 57 percent). For example, 51 percent of districts with a school in need of improvement reported decreased time in social studies, compared with 31 percent of districts with no school in need of improvement ( Center on Education Policy, 2007 ).

Exemptions from Physical Education Requirements

The 2012 Shape of the Nation Report includes documentation of the multiple reasons students may be exempt from physical education classes. Thirty-three states permit school districts or schools to allow students to substitute other activities for physical education. The most common substitutions are Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), inter-scholastic sports, marching band, cheerleading, and community sports. Twenty-eight states allow schools and school districts to grant exemptions/waivers from physical education time or credit requirements. Reasons for exemptions/waivers include health, physical disability, religious belief, and early graduation; six states leave the reasons to the local schools or school districts. Although it would seem reasonable that some substitution programs such as JROTC or cheerleading might accrue physical activity comparable to that from physical education, these programs do not necessarily offer students opportunities to learn the knowledge and skills needed for lifelong participation in health-enhancing physical activities. Research on the impact of exemptions/waivers from physical education is lacking. No evidence currently exists showing that students receive any portion of the recommended 60 minutes or more of vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity through substituted activities sanctioned by their schools.

  • BARRIERS TO QUALITY PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SOLUTIONS

Barriers other than the policies detailed above hinder efforts to improve and maintain high-quality physical education. This section reviews these barriers, along with some solutions for overcoming them.

Morgan and Hanson (2008) classify barriers that hinder schools from implementing quality physical education programs as either institutional (outside the teacher's control) or teacher related (arising from teacher behavior). Table 5-4 lists institutional and teacher-related as well as student-related barriers identified by various authors.

TABLE 5-4. Barriers to the Delivery of Physical Education and Physical Activity Programs to Primary and Secondary School Students.

Barriers to the Delivery of Physical Education and Physical Activity Programs to Primary and Secondary School Students.

Dwyer and colleagues (2003) examined Toronto teachers' perspectives on why children were not engaged in daily physical education. They identified three categories of barriers: lower priority for physical education relative to other subjects, lack of performance measures for physical activity, and lack of sufficient infrastructure. Jenkinson and Benson (2010) surveyed 270 secondary school physical education teachers in Victoria, Australia, and asked them to rank order the barriers they perceived to providing quality physical education. The results are shown in Table 5-5 . The institutional barriers listed in this table are similar to those identified for U.S. schools in Table 5-4 .

TABLE 5-5. Physical Education Teachers' Ranking of Barriers to Providing Quality Physical Education (PE) in Victorian State Secondary Schools.

Physical Education Teachers' Ranking of Barriers to Providing Quality Physical Education (PE) in Victorian State Secondary Schools.

Jenkinson and Benson (2010) also presented teachers with a list of barriers to student participation in physical education and physical activity in three categories: institutional, teacher-related, and student-related. The teachers were asked to rank the top five barriers they perceived. Results are presented in Table 5-6 .

TABLE 5-6. Perceived Barriers to Student Participation in Physical Education and Physical Activity in Victorian State Secondary Schools: Physical Education Teachers' Ranking (from most [“5”] to least [“1”] influential).

Perceived Barriers to Student Participation in Physical Education and Physical Activity in Victorian State Secondary Schools: Physical Education Teachers' Ranking (from most [“5”] to least [“1”] influential).

Finally, Gallo and colleagues (2006) found that the greatest process barriers to assessing students in physical education were grading students on skill levels and abilities; time constraints; class size; and record keeping, especially when assessing students on skills, cognitive knowledge, and fitness.

Two key barriers to physical education identified in the studies summarized above are staffing and funding. These barriers reflect a lack of support structure in schools for quality physical education.

As noted earlier in this chapter, physical education is short staffed. State mandates have placed pressure on schools to preserve instructional resources for the high-stakes tested core subject areas at the expense of non-core subjects. For example, when a state mandates a maximum class size of 20 students per teacher in all core subjects, with noncompliance resulting in some form of penalty, an elementary school with an average of 25 students per teacher is forced to hire additional teachers in these subjects to meet the state mandate. Consequently, the school must shrink its teaching force in noncore subjects, such as physical education, to balance its budget. If noncore classes are to be preserved, their class sizes must increase, with fewer teachers serving more students. As a result, it becomes difficult to implement a quality program, and physical education teachers perceive their programs as being undervalued.

According to the Government Accountability Office report K-12 Education: School-Based Physical Education and Sports Programs ( GAO, 2012 ), school officials cite budget cuts and inadequate facilities as major challenges to providing physical education opportunities for students. Budget cuts have affected schools' ability to hire physical education teachers, maintain appropriate class sizes, and purchase sufficient equipment. As noted earlier, lack of equipment and limited access to facilities are cited as top barriers in the study by Jenkinson and Benson (2010) (see Tables 5-5 and 5-6 ). Limited budgets have a negative impact on a school's ability to purchase enough physical education equipment to engage all students in increasingly large class sizes and cause physical education teachers to abandon quality evidence-based physical education programs and resort to large-group games and “throw out the ball” activities. Students disengaged as a result of such practices may prefer sedentary activities to more active lifestyles. A NASPE (2009a) survey found that the median physical education budget for physical education programs nationally was $764 per school ($460 per elementary school, $900 per middle school, and $1,370 per high school).

Solutions for Overcoming the Barriers

For many adolescents who have few opportunities to be active outside of the school day, quality physical education becomes the only option for physical activity. For students in large urban communities, physical education classes serve as a safe environment in which to be physically active under adult supervision in a structured environment. For students with disabilities in particular, physical education classes are one of the only outlets for physical activity. For these reasons, it is crucial to overcome the above barriers to quality physical education. Some school districts have found ways to do so and provide robust physical education programs.

The barrier of limited time during the school day can be overcome through creative scheduling that makes use of every minute of the day in a constructive manner. For example, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the United States, in a large urban minority-majority community with large budgetary shortfalls and attention in schools being diverted to academic requirements. Yet the district has always had daily physical education in its elementary schools taught by a certified physical education teacher. This is accomplished by scheduling physical education during the classroom teacher's planning time. In addition, students receive school board–mandated recess for either 20 minutes two times per week or 15 minutes three times per week. Figures 5-2 and 5-3 show examples of elementary school teacher schedules that demonstrate how 150 minutes of time for physical education can be incorporated successfully into any master schedule.

Example of a schedule demonstrating time for 150 minutes per week of physical education. NOTE: Sample is taken from a teacher schedule in a traditional elementary school. SOURCE: Large Urban Public School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Example of a schedule demonstrating time for 150 minutes per week of physical education. NOTES: Sample is taken from a teacher schedule in a combination special education and disabilities (SPED)/Spanish-language elementary class. PE = physical education; (more...)

Other positive examples, identified in the report Physical Education Matters ( San Diego State University, 2007 ), include successful case studies from low-resource California schools. The report acknowledges, however, that advancing such opportunities will require policy changes at the state, district, and local levels. These changes include securing grant funds with which to implement high-tech physical education wellness centers, staff commitment to professional development, administrative support, physical education being made a priority, community support, use of certified physical education teachers, and district support. Identifying the need to reform physical education guided by evidence-based findings, the report concludes that (1) curriculum matters, (2) class size matters, (3) qualified teachers matter, (4) professional development matters, and (5) physical environment matters. If programs are to excel and students are to achieve, delivery of the curriculum must be activity based; class sizes must be commensurate with those for other subject areas; highly qualified physical education specialists, as opposed to classroom teachers, must be hired to deliver instruction; professional development in activity-focused physical education must be delivered; and school physical education facilities, such as playing fields and indoor gym space and equipment, must be available.

A separate report, Physical Education Matters: Success Stories from California Low Resource Schools That Have Achieved Excellent Physical Education Programs ( San Diego State University, 2007 ), notes that when funding from a variety of grant resources, including federal funding, became available, schools were able to transition to high-quality programs using innovative instructional strategies. Those strategies included wellness centers and active gaming, which engaged students in becoming more physically active. Administrative support was found to be a key factor in turning programs around, along with staff commitment and professional development. Having certified physical education teachers and making physical education a priority in the schools were other key factors. External factors further strengthened programs, including having school district support, having a physical education coordinator, and using state standards to provide accountability. Additional ways to overcome the barriers to quality physical education include scheduling time for physical education, ensuring reasonable class size, providing nontraditional physical education activities, making classes more active and fun for all students, and acknowledging the importance of role modeling and personal investment and involvement in participation in physical activity among staff.

Still another way to overcome the barriers to quality physical education is to assist administrative decision makers and policy makers in understanding the correlation between physical education and academic achievement (see Chapter 4 ). The report Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance by Active Living Research ( Trost, 2009 ) cites evidence that “children who are physically active and fit tend to perform better in the classroom and that daily physical education does not adversely affect academic performance. Schools can provide outstanding learning environments while improving children's health through physical education.” The findings reported include the following (p. 6):

  • “In some cases, more time in physical education leads to improved grades and standardized test scores.”
  • “Physically active and fit children tend to have better academic achievement.”
  • “Evidence links higher levels of physical fitness with better school attendance and fewer disciplinary problems.”
  • “There are several possible mechanisms by which physical education and regular physical activity may improve academic achievement, including enhanced concentration skills and classroom behavior.”
  • “Additional research is needed to determine the impact of physical activity on academic performance among those children who are at highest risk for obesity in the United States, including black, Latino, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Asian-American and Pacific Islander children, as well as children living in lower-income communities.”

Physical education is a formal content area of study in schools, it is standards based, and it encompasses assessment according to standards and benchmarks. Select curriculum-based physical education programs have been described in this chapter to show the potential of high-quality physical education in developing children into active adults. Such models provide the only opportunity for all school-age children to access health-enhancing physical activities. Curriculum models for physical education programs include movement education, which emphasizes the importance of fundamental motor skills competence as a prerequisite for engagement in physical activity throughout the life span; sport education, which emphasizes helping students become skillful players in lifetime sports of their choosing; and fitness education, which imparts physical fitness concepts to students, including the benefits and scientific principles of exercise, with the goal of developing and maintaining individual fitness and positive lifestyle change. The emergence of a technology-focused fitness education curriculum and the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program offer further motivational opportunities for students to engage in lifelong physical activities.

Because quality physical education programs are standards based and assessed, they are characterized by (1) instruction by certified physical education teachers, (2) a minimum of 150 minutes per week for elementary schools and 225 minutes per week for middle and high schools, and (3) tangible standards for student achievement and for high school graduation. Quality professional development programs are an essential component for both novice and veteran teachers to ensure the continued delivery of quality physical education.

An analysis of datasets from NASPE, NASBE, and Bridging the Gap reveals that the implementation of supportive physical education policies varies from state to state and from school to school. Since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, several studies and reports have identified a decline in physical education resulting from the shifting of time to academic subjects. Because physical education is not a high-stakes tested content area, the implementation of supportive policies often is hindered by other education priorities. Although the above analysis indicates that 30 states (74.5 percent) mandate physical education, most policies do not require specific amounts of instructional time, and more than half allow for waivers or exemptions. In addition, an unintended consequence of the No Child Left Behind Act has been disparities in access to physical education and physical activity opportunities during the school day for Hispanic students and those of lower socioeconomic status. In high school, relying on students to elect physical education after meeting the minimum required credit hours (one credit in all states but one) appears to be unfruitful.

Strengthening of school physical education has received support from the public, health agencies, and parents. Parents recently surveyed expressed favorable views of physical education. Specifically:

  • A majority of parents (54–84 percent) believe that physical education is at least as important as other academic subjects ( CDC, 2010 ).
  • Ninety-one percent believe that there should be more physical education in schools (Harvard School of Public Health, 2003).
  • Seventy-six percent think that more school physical education could help control or prevent childhood obesity ( NASPE, 2009a ).
  • Ninety-five percent believe that regular daily physical activity helps children do better academically and should be a part of the school curriculum for all students in grades K-12 ( NASPE, 2003 ).

Additionally, many public and private organizations have proposed initiatives aimed at developing a comprehensive school-based strategy centered on curriculum physical education. As the largest institution where children spend more than half of their waking hours on school days, schools can play a pivotal role in increasing students' physical activity levels by providing access for all to quality physical education, along with physical activities throughout the school environment, the subject of Chapter 7 .

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  • Cite this Page Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment; Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine; Kohl HW III, Cook HD, editors. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 Oct 30. 5, Approaches to Physical Education in Schools.
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  1. Physical Education Essay

    Physical Education Essay: Physical Education has become a compulsory subject across numerous schools across the country and even globally. In recent years physical education has been given utmost importance in several schools and industries. Besides, physical education is also offered as a degree program in many colleges.

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    Physical education is a formal content area of study in schools that is standards based and encompasses assessment based on standards and benchmarks.It is defined in Chapter 1 as "a planned sequential K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors of healthy active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy ...

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    1 The Impact of Physical Education on Student Grades 1 page / 638 words Should PE Affect a Student's Grades? This question has sparked debates in educational circles for years. The inclusion of physical education (PE) in a student's curriculum is not just about promoting physical activity but also about its potential impact on academic performance.

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    Physical education is a course taught in school that focuses on developing physical fitness and the ability to perform and enjoy day-to-day physical activities with ease. Kids also develop...

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    About this essay Download Essay, Pages 4 (959 words) Views 13159 The importance of physical education and physical activity cannot be undervalued, as now more than ever, an emphasis has been placed upon the health of the future generation.

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    Physical education (PE) is a vital component of a comprehensive educational curriculum that promotes the physical, mental, and social development of students. This essay explores the significance of physical education in schools, discussing its benefits, challenges, and the role it plays in fostering lifelong healthy habits.

  7. Why Physical Education Is Important

    Physical Education Explained. Physical education, or PE, is a school subject that follows a curriculum based on the national standards for physical education for each grade level. In addition to giving kids a designated time to get exercise during the school day, PE also contributes to developing their cognitive skills, motor skills and ...

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    The Physical Education T A gu Citations (2) References (23) ... Recent studies have revealed the numerous benefits of regular physical activity for students, encompassing improved academic...

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    Physical education is defined nowadays as a "systematic instruction in sports, exercises, and hygiene given as part of a school or college program" (Park).

  10. The Significant Role of Physical Education in the Curriculum

    Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples. Physical Education (PE) is described by the Association for Physical Education (AfPE, 2015) as being a subject within the school curriculum which provides all pupils with planned, progressive learning. The purpose of PE as a subject has adapted and changed over the years.

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    Physical education is a general education course of study from kindergarten through grade 12 in which students participate in physical activities. The purpose of physical education is to introduce children to the basic elements of exercise and to help them develop a healthy lifestyle.

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    Essay on Physical Education in School (1000 Words) Physical education is essential because it improves the fitness of youngsters, makes them disciplined and active. It helps them to find out teamwork, test their decision-making capabilities too.

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    Physical education is the training in physical fitness and in skills that engages psychomotor learning promoting such fitness. It is the education through physical activity for the total development of the body and mind of a person. It was once excluded in most societies, giving more importance to literacy.

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    Physical education is one of the most important subjects that is taught in school as it teaches us how we can benefit from regular exercise, it teaches us how to control chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Physical education develops the idea of fitness in learners.

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    Benefits of Physical Education for the Development of Pupils. Example essay. Last modified: 4th Nov 2020. The physical benefits of Physical Education and sports are easily identifiable, however, the mental benefits of exercise are often overlooked. Exercise improves the mental health and cognitive development of children which can shape the ...

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    Physical education is not just important for the students to take a break from the elective subjects, it is also for their mental health. Sports make people more healthy, strong, and safe from all diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. For any person sports strengthen their physical wellbeing and blood circulation.

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    According to Williams (1964) Physical education is the sum of man's physical activities as to kind and conducted as to outcomes. The term Education when used in conjunction with physical, refers to a process of education that develops the human body especially fitness and movement skills (Pestolesi & Baker, 1990).

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    Physical education helps students develop physical skills and confidence. For example, elementary and middle school curriculum includes activities that help kids obtain and improve skills, such as running, catching, throwing, and striking, applicable to sports such as baseball, volleyball, or karate.

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    What Is Physical Education Essay 820 Words4 Pages Physical Education - Generally Physical education is a derivative of all type of education. It is because physical education holds aspects that presents on the other educations, such as sociology, psychology, biology, even physics.

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    Physical education has achieved a remarkable place in society today, but it is important to note that it began in the ancient years in the form of exciting dances, games, and hunting and has now become a well-established and time-tested area that aims to provide physical, mental, social, emotional, moral, and psychological development of a person.

  21. What is Physical Education, Meaning, Definition, Essay

    Physical education (Phys Ed. or P.E.) is a subject that is taught in schools all around the world. It is commonly taught in primary and secondary schools, and it promotes health and physical fitness by encouraging psychomotor learning through play and movement exploration.

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    Physical Education and Its Benefits. Schools in particular know the benefits of physical education in a student's life and should be able to fight for the children's rights. Role of Parents in Physical Education and Sport. The involvement of parents in physical education and sports is viewed differently in regard to how it affects the child ...

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    Physical education is a formal content area of study in schools that is standards based and encompasses assessment based on standards and benchmarks. It is defined in Chapter 1 as "a planned sequential K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors of healthy active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy ...