We assessed effects of a physical education professional development program on 3 manipulative skills of 4th- and 5th-graders. Seven schools were randomly assigned to 3 treatment conditions: PES (Physical Education Specialists), TT (Trained Classroom Teachers), and CO (Controls). Students (358 boys, 351 girls) were randomly selected from 56 classes and tested on throwing, catching, and kicking. In the fall baseline, boys scored higher than girls; 5th-graders scored higher than 4th-graders. In the spring, children in PES schools had improvements of 21%; those in TT and CO schools gained 19% and 13%, respectively. Gain scores were significant for catching (p = .005) and throwing (p = .008). Intervention effects did not differ by gender or grade. Adjusting for condition, boys made significantly greater gains than girls. The results indicate that children’s manipulative skills can be improved by quality physical education programs delivered by PE specialists and classroom teachers with substantial training.
Thomas McKenzie, John Alcarez, and James Sallis are with the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, and Department of Psychology, respectively, at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA92120. Nell Faucette is with the Department of Physical Education, Wellness and Sports Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620-8600.