The University of Texas at Austin
Quality Physical Education: USA, Past and Future Directions
17 September 2014, 10:00–10:40
In the United States, national organizations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine) continue to endorse physical education programming as an ideal way to address public health issues, yet only 5% of school-aged children participate in daily, quality physical education classes. Local policies can facilitate increases in physical activity opportunities, but little is known how policies directly improve physical education teacher or program effectiveness.
Often national physical education standards are partially adopted or modified by state government, which diminishes the potential for student achievement of learning outcomes in this discipline. Many instructional models (i.e., Sport Education, Personalized System of Instruction) and supplemental curriculum models (i.e., CATCH, SPARK) have been endorsed, but in general, the effectiveness of these models as a means of achieving the national physical education standards is understudied.
Evidenced-based practice can increase the rate of physical activity engagement, improve physical fitness, and enhance content knowledge among youth. While empirical evidence surrounding outcomes related to teaching in the affective domain, such as self-efficacy, have been mostly studied beyond the physical education context. Given the existing contextual barriers faced by physical education teachers, such as lack of instructional time, large class size, and limited resources, many children fail to meet the national physical education standards (Castelli et al., 2007). Accordingly, the purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the outlined content and introduce future directions for providing quality physical education in all schools in the USA. One promising initiative is the implementation of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP), where physical education is the cornerstone of providing a multiplicity of opportunities to engage in physical activity as a means of refining motor skills, improving physical and cognitive health, and establishing habitual patterns of physical activity engagement. Other initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program and its adoption of the FITNESSGRAM® may have the potential for enhancing the quality of physical education through professional development for teachers, physical fitness assessment and education for students, and the provision of awards for achievement of health standards.