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This study examined the relationship between academic performance and physical activity participation using objective measures of scholastic achievement, and the effect of banding (academic tracking). The sample comprised 1,447 students (aged 13–17 years) in secondary grades 2, 4, and 6 (736 boys; 711 girls). Academic records were collected from the schools, and a participation questionnaire was administered to the students. School banding was found to be a significant predictor of participation time, and students from higher-banded schools had generally greater participation time than lower-band students. Conversely, perceived academic performance and potential tended to be higher for students with more participation time in physical activity, particularly so for the males. However, for actual academic grades this positive association was not found when banding was taken into consideration. No relationship was found for the middle- and high-band students, while a slight negative relationship was observed for the low-band students.
The author is with the Physical Education and Sports Science Unit, The University of Hong Kong.