A comprehensive review of the impact of measurement and evaluation in kinesiology is difficult to accomplish within the framework of a single research paper. Measurement touches nearly every research area in the field of kinesiology. In fact, for quantitative research it can be argued that without good measurement there can be no good research. Measurement researchers in kinesiology have impacted various areas, including criterion-referenced evaluation of test scores, development of fitness tests to measure body composition and aerobic fitness, health-related physical fitness, physical activity epidemiology, youth fitness testing, and many others. They have introduced innovative statistical techniques such as item response theory, which provides the underlying basis for modern standardized testing. Issues of test equating, differential item functioning, and the great impact of the expansion of computers and the Internet deserve special attention. Unfortunately, not all of the important contributions in the measurement field can be expanded upon in this manuscript. Instead, this paper will focus mainly on key measurement and evaluation influences on public health issues. In applied measurement research, two major themes have been the assessment of physical fitness and the assessment of physical activity. The last 40 years have been a time of defining the content area of measurement in kinesiology. Important measurement textbooks were published during this period (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1975; Morrow, Jackson, Disch, & Mood, 1995; Safrit, 1986). Since the 1970s the measurement field and the kinesiology field in general expanded from a focus on physical education to include all of the exercise and sport sciences. This paper will explore measurement and evaluation in kinesiology by (a) providing an overview of major milestones in measurement and evaluation over the last 40 years, (b) discussing current key areas of research and inquiry in measurement and evaluation, and (c) speculating about future research and inquiry in measurement and evaluation. The absence in this article of other important issues in measurement and evaluation in kinesiology does not imply anything about their importance.
Matthew T. Mahar and David A. Rowe
Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko
For more than half a century fellows of the National Academy of Kinesiology have enthusiastically advocated for the promotion and adoption of physically active lifestyles as an affordable and effective means to prevent chronic diseases and conditions, and enhance independence and high quality of life for older adults. It is possible to discern distinct evolutionary stages when examining scholarship related to the role of physical activity in the promotion of healthy aging. Research into physical activity and aging began with critical early studies that established the underlying scientific evidence for a relationship between physical activity and healthy aging. More recent work has addressed such topics as building consumer demand, developing policies and legislation to support active aging, and understanding the complex interrelationships between physical activity and other lifestyle factors in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and conditions. It is increasingly apparent that strategies to promote active and successful aging must be integrated into an effective public policy. Kinesiologists and other health professionals, working in collaboration with colleagues from other disciplines, can help to reduce risk factors for chronic disease and improve quality of life for older adults by building awareness of the importance of physical activity and by assisting with the development and implementation of appropriate and effective interventions that reduce risk factors and improve quality of life.
Robert J. Gregor, W. Lee Childers, Mark A. Lyle, and Linda Fetters
Biomechanics is a diverse field of study founded in a vertically integrated body of knowledge, from cells to behavior, with the goal of understanding the function of biological systems using methods in mechanics. Historically, the field lies in the general domain of science, not to be isolated but well integrated with others focused on the study of movement. Using advances in technology as a conduit, specific examples of collaborative research involving biomechanics, motor development, and neuromuscular control are discussed. Challenges in the study of interface control (i.e., hypotheses focused on the neural control of movement, performance enhancement, and injury prevention) are presented in the context of the intellectual interface required among scientists to gain a new understanding of the function of biological systems.
Frank W. Booth
Exercise physiology is an old profession that dates back to 1500 B.C.E., having rises and falls in intervening years. The author provides comments from firsthand observations he has experienced in the past six decades. Events in the 1950s and 1960s caused a rise in exercise physiology in the next decades, with a decline being initiated in the late 1990s by the Center for Scientific Review's decision to treat exercise by individual organs or individual diseases rather than as a preexisting vibrant translational science for human health. In the opinion of this author and of some National Institutes of Health (NIH) program officials, the decline of qualified individuals to wisely spend taxpayer's monies on exercise research has resulted in the December 13, 2013 publication of the NIH's “Request for Information (RFI): Identifying Gaps in Understanding the Mechanisms of Physical Activity-Induced Health Benefits.”
Howard N. Zelaznik
Over the past 40 years the research area of motor learning and control has developed into a field closely aligned with information processing in neuroscience. The basic, implicit assumption is that motor learning and control is the domain of the brain. Several crucial studies and developments from the past and the present are presented and discussed that highlight this position. The future of following that current path is discussed. Then, the case is made that the control of movement is not just a brain process, and thus scientists in kinesiology need to study movement behavior at a coarser level of analysis. Motor control in kinesiology should use the Newell framework and thus should examine the nature of individual attributes, environmental information, and task constraints on learning and performance of motor skills.
In this essay I argue that predictions for the future of the philosophy of sport (as well as kinesiology as a whole) are complicated by at least three factors. These include the emergence of what I identify as “minority voices,” the fact that appearances deceive and that going “backwards” sometimes results in moving forwards, and the emerging realization that those of us in seemingly independent research silos are actually interrelated. Philokinesiologists cannot predict where they are going without knowing where physiokinesiologists, biomeckinesiologists, pedekinesiologists, and others are moving, and visa versa. I describe this uncertain journey as an exciting adventure, one that is made all the more interesting because we will be traveling together.
Bradley J. Cardinal
This paper offers a critical review and analysis of physical activity psychology research over the past quarter century (primarily), describes current research trends in the area, and suggests future research directions. This is a vast and ambitious task. Furthermore, the contributions come from those within kinesiology, as well as outside of kinesiology, with many new disciplines and professions advancing research agendas in this domain. There are rich and distinctive opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations in this area, opportunities that have genuine transformative potential. Following the paper's introduction, six major topics are addressed, including: what physical activity psychology is, foundational work in physical activity psychology research, trends in physical activity psychology research, behavioral specificity, physical activity prevalence, and where to go in the future. The paper concludes with a call-to-action, particularly aimed at helping to get and keep people physically active across the lifespan, which is the fundamental work of physical activity psychology.
Alison M. Wrynn
This article examines the past, present, and future of historical research in sport and physical education. Due to time and space limitations, the focus is on work that has emerged and is emerging in North America—particularly the United States—but it must be noted there are very active sport historians throughout the world; in departments of kinesiology, history, and American studies. This article covers two broad categories: the past to the present and the present to the future of research in sport history. Within these two sections, there is also an analysis of changes in the conduct of research by historians as this has had, and will continue to have, a major impact on the kinds of work that will be produced in the future.
Catherine D. Ennis
As typically taught, sport-based, multiactivity approaches to physical education provide students with few opportunities to increase their skill, fitness, or understanding. Alternative curriculum models, such as Sport Education, Teaching Games for Understanding, and Fitness for Life, represent a second generation of models that build on strong statements of democratic, student-centered practice in physical education. In the What Goes Around section of the paper, I discuss the U.S. perspective on the origins of alternative physical education curriculum models introduced in the early and mid-20th century as a response to sport and exercise programs of the times. Today, with the help of physical educators, scholars are conducting research to test new curricular alternatives or prototypes to provide evidence-based support for these models. Yet, the multiactivity, sport-based curriculum continues to dominate in most U.S. physical education classes. I discuss reasons for this dogged persistence and propose reforms to disrupt this pervasive pattern in the future.