To examine the relationship between the South Carolina middle school physical education assessment results and the school characteristics. In addition, the relationship between teacher training attendance and student achievement were determined.
Student performance on four physical education indicators in 63 middle schools (and 116 teachers) were reported to the South Carolina Physical Education Assessment Program. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationships between school characteristics as predictors of the performance indicator. ANOVAs were conducted to determine the relationship to teacher training and the performance indicators.
Statewide averages of student performance indicated that slightly over 50% of middle school students were rated as competent in all physical education indicators except health-related fitness (31.2%). The variability was high among all indicators. The correlations between the poverty index and the physical education indicators were significant and low. Teachers who attended data collection training sessions scored higher on all performance indicators, particularly health-related fitness knowledge. Teachers who attended professional development had significantly higher scores on motor skills, health-related fitness knowledge, and the overall weighted scores and approached significance on the health-related fitness performance.
This study suggests that teachers and the programs they deliver have a greater impact on student learning than do school characteristics. Teacher training and professional development is warranted. Most compelling is that the results of this study provide a strong argument against the practice of using student scores from other academic content areas to evaluate teacher effectiveness in physical education.
Hall is with the Department of Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. Hicklin is with the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Science, The Citadel, Charleston, SC. French is with the College of Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.