Author(s)Erwin, Heather Elizabeth
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Physical inactivity among America's youth is becoming a growing health problem (Strauss et al., 2001). Schools, and ultimately physical education, are responsible for physical activity/health promotion (Sallis & McKenzie, 1991). The development of the national physical education standards created expectations for student learning in physical education; yet, little is known about student performance related to them. The purpose of this study was to describe 4th and 5th grade student progress toward the attainment of selected performance outcomes for the first four national physical education standards. A secondary purpose was to identify potential associations between student performance outcomes across these variables. Participants were 180 children (87 males), aged 9-12 (M=10.45, SD=0.78), recruited from four elementary schools in the Midwest. To evaluate Standard 1, three South Carolina Physical Education Assessment Program motor skill performance assessments were conducted (e.g., basketball, gymnastics, and throwing). Interview protocols regarding strategies and tactics of physical activity assessed Standard 2. The Activitygram evaluated Standard 3. Scores from the Fitnessgram physical fitness test assessed Standard 4. Finally, an environmental access questionnaire accounted for ecological factors occurring beyond physical education. Descriptive statistics were used to report average scores on all assessments. Frequency counts determined percentages of participants progressing toward achievement of each standard. Spearman correlations revealed associations between all four standards as well as ecological variables. Performance by standard indicated 47% of participants were demonstrating progress toward achieving Standard 1, 77% for Standard 2, 15% for Standard 3, and 40% for Standard 4. Overall, 12 out of 180 participants (7%) were demonstrating progress toward attaining all four standards. Spearman correlations indicated significance (p<.01) between Standard 1 and Standard 2 (r=.34), Standard 1 and Standard 3 (r=.28), Standard 1 and Standard 4 (r=.32), and Standard 3 and Standard 4 (r=.28). Due to positive correlations, all four standards are important aspects of the physical education curriculum. Students can proceed towards achieving the standards when these concepts are specifically addressed in the curriculum. Expectations, or standards, are valuable in the design of quality programs. Encouraging students to use physical activity supports beyond school may improve their performance.