The Prevalence-Based Need for Adapted Physical Education Teachers in the United States

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 Western Michigan University
  • 2 Western Michigan University
  • 3 University of Virginia
  • 4 Coppin State College
  • 5 The University of Texas – Pan American
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The purpose was to develop a method for projecting the need for adapted physical education (APE) teachers in the public schools in the United States. This method was derived from a prevalence-based model—dividing the number of APE students enrolled by the APE student-teacher ratio and then subtracting the number of APE teachers hired. This model used the findings of Kelly and Gansneder (1998) that (a) 4% of the school population required APE services and (b) the overall national APE student-teacher ratio was 104:1. The results revealed a need for 22, 116 additional APE teachers nationwide as well as specific projections for each state. The prevalence-based projection method is recommended for policy makers at local, state, and national levels; for APE advocates; and for all concerned with APE personnel preparation and employment.

Jiabei Zhang and Debra Berkey are with the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008; Luke Kelly is with the Department of Health and Physical Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903; Daniel Joseph is with the Department of Special Education, Coppin State College, Baltimore, MD, 21216; Shihui Chen is with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, The University of Texas - Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539. Direct correspondence to Jiabei Zhang, Phone: (616) 387-2949; Email: <>.

The authors would like to thank Dr. Claudine Sherrill, Texas Woman’s University, for her valuable suggestions and editorial comments.