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Physical activity (PA) levels in schools vary widely, and there is interest in studying how student PA accrual relates to school policy and environmental conditions. School PA policy research, however, is in its infancy and generalizable measurement tools do not exist. We developed and assessed reliability of items on the School Physical Activity Policy Assessment (S-PAPA), an instrument designed to assess school PA policy related to physical education (PE), recess, and other opportunities.


To develop items, we perused associated literature, examined existing instruments, and consulted school policy makers. For test-retest reliability assessment, 31 elementary school PE teachers completed the survey twice, 14 days apart.


S-PAPA uses open-ended, dichotomous, multichotomous, and checklist formatting and has 3 modules: 1) Physical Education (47 items), 2) Recess (27 items), and 3) Other Before, During, and After School Programs (15 items). Responses to more than 95% of items were highly related between Times 1 and 2. Generally, physical education and recess items had fair to substantial levels of agreement, and items about other school PA programs had fair to perfect agreement.


Test-retest results suggest S-PAPA items are reliable and useful in assessing PA policies in elementary schools.

Lounsbery and Holt are with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada–Las Vegas. McKenzie is with the Dept of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Morrow and Budnar are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreational, University of North Texas, Denton, TX.