Research Proposal: Physical Education and Academic Achievement

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Academics and Physical Education

Blakemore, Connie L. "Movement is essential to learning.(physical education and academic achievement)." The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). 2003. Retrieved July 14, 2009 from HighBeam Research:

The article summarizes the results of several empirical research studies in the area of education and the relationship between physical activity and physical education and academic performance in middle school students. According to the author, the overwhelming weight of evidence in such studies strongly suggests that academic performance increases in relation to physical activity and physical fitness education.

More specifically, the article details a 2002 study conducted by the California Department of Education (CDE) that compared standardized test scores on the SAT-9 with the results of state-mandated physical fitness tests in grades five, seven, and nine. In addition to a direct positive correlation between fitness levels and academic performance, that study also revealed that the degree of academic achievement increased in proportion to higher levels of fitness. The article drew a comparison between the 2002 CDE study and a wide range of other research conducted worldwide in France, Australia, and Quebec, all of which presented very similar findings and conclusions as to the positive academic effects of physical fitness among students.

The article provides a valuable perspective that the evidence of positive effects of physical fitness on academic achievement warrants a fundamental reconsideration of physical education as a primary focus rather than an expendable part of the educational curricula, particularly where budgetary concerns require program cutbacks. Therefore, the article would be especially valuable for education system and school administrators faced with budgetary issues who might be inclined to reduce costs by eliminating physical education programs.

Chomitz, Virginia R.; Meghan Slining,; Robert McGowan,; Suzanne Mitchell,; Glen Dawson,; Karen Hacker,. "Is there a relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement? Positive results from public school children in the Northeastern United States.(Research Article)(Clinical report)." Journal of School Health. American School Health Association. 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009 from HighBeam Research:

Summary and Analysis:

The article reviews the findings of several previous empirical research studies in the area of the relationship between physical fitness and academic performance in primary, middle school, and high school students. More specifically, in addition to concluding that significant evidence exists to suggest a positive correlation between physical fitness and physical education with academic achievement, the article outlines some of the physiological mechanisms thought to be responsible for this relationship.

In that regard, the article references animal studies that have demonstrated that physical activity stimulates neural development, promotes increased density of neuronal synapses, and higher capillary volume in the brain. In addition to outlining the physiological mechanisms involved, the article also suggests that increased physical activity among students promotes improved academic achievement through indirect causation. Specifically, the fact that physical activity among students is consistently linked to higher levels of confidence, interpersonal comfort, and self-esteem contributes indirectly to better academic achievement as well.

While the article also acknowledges conflicting results of other empirical research studies in the area, it details one study in particular that was very similar to the 2002 CDE discussed in the previous article review. In that study, academic performance among fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade student increased in proportion to their scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). Therefore, this article is valuable to those interested in identifying any studies with conflicting results to those of the general consensus. The article is also useful to anybody interested in the physiological mechanisms possibly responsible for the positive effect of physical fitness on academic achievement.

Gardner, Howard. (2000). The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts and Standardized Tests: The K-12 Education That Every Child Deserves. New York: Penguin/Putnam.

Summary and Analysis:

Howard Gardner of the Harvard School of Education has long championed alternative approaches to modern education. Generally, Gardner's theory is that the formal education system has traditionally overvalued the importance of a very narrow range of the types of cognitive abilities related to human intelligence. In that regard,

Gardner has proposed (and extensively tested) his theory of multiple intelligences that includes six other different types of intellectual processes related to human learning

besides the linguistic and symbolic logic (i.e. mathematics) abilities targeted within traditional education models.

While Gardner's suggestions are much more comprehensive than merely the value of physical education, his chapter on the significance of spatial abilities and tactile learning provides insight that mirrors much of the available research into the positive effect of physical fitness on academic achievement. That chapter also complements some of the information discussed in the previous article analysis in the area of the physiological mechanisms and processes responsible for the positive correlation between physical activity and fitness and academic achievement.

The book is a valuable source of information to anybody interested in better understanding human learning and the untapped potential of many students whose greatest ability to learn are not necessarily in the two areas of linguistic and symbolic logical abilities. While much of the available research merely suggests that physical fitness and physical education correspond to improved academic performance, Gardner's book explores the additional potential of physical activities used more directly as vehicles of academic learning themselves.

Guild, Diana E. "The relationship between early childhood education and primary school academic achievement in Solomon Islands." International Journal of Early Childhood. World Organization for Early Childhood Education. 2000. Retrieved July 15, 2009 from HighBeam Research:

Summary and Analysis:

The article focuses on the positive impact of early childhood education in the Solomon Islands and identifies physical Recreation and play activities as important components of early childhood education thought to be responsible for the direct positive correlation between attendance of early childhood education and later academic performance in primary school. The study acknowledges inherent weaknesses in its design attributable to the obvious variables outside of the realm of physical activity in the form of the pre-academic exposure to skills and materials used in primary school.

Nevertheless, the study also notes that physical activity in the context of the early childhood pre-school environment is associated with increased attention span and interest in learning associated with physical activity.

The article corroborates the information presented by Gardner (2000) and Chomitz (2009) in the two previous reviews in the area of the link between physical activity and cognitive functioning and learning in both animals and humans. Specifically, it is thought that physical activity within the pre-school curriculum enhances learning in early childhood education by promoting the development of neural connections during a period of physiological development when such increases are especially important.

The article is a valuable resource for early childhood educators in that it contextualizes physical activity within a learning framework. Moreover, it enables early childhood educators to understand the importance of physical activity and its specific potential as a tool for increasing student attention and motivation in the classroom.

Martin, LeaAnn Tyson; Gordon Chalmers,. "The relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness.(Report)." Physical Educator. Phi Epsilon Kappa Fraternity. 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2009 from HighBeam Research:

Summary and Analysis:

The article examines the effects of physical fitness and physical activity on human learning across a full age spectrum. It reviews prior research into the apparent link between physical education and physical fitness and academic achievement. Unlike the other articles reviewed, this research review differentiated between physical education and fitness and mere physical activity that is unrelated to fitness in particular. That makes this article especially valuable to anybody interested in this area of research into learning because it helps explain why physical education (and physical fitness) may correspond to increased academic performance.

Specifically, it suggests that the some of the results of previous longitudinal and cross-sectional studies linking degrees of physical fitness and scores on fitness tests to improved academic performance may reveal the effects of activity rather than physical condition or performance. In that regard, it suggests the distinct possibility that physical fitness and performance on physical fitness tests correspond to improved academic performance simply because physical fitness and physical performance are likely results of greater physical activity. Therefore, it may be that physical fitness and physical performance are merely coincidental dependent variables along with academic performance and that what matters more than fitness or physical performance is physical activity.

Putnam, Stephen C.; Joseph Tette,; Michael Wendt,. "Exercise: a prescription for at-risk students; "Take two laps and call me in the morning." Well, not exactly, but research has found that exercise can improve both behavior and academic performance." The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). 2004. Retrieved July 15, 2009 from HighBeam Research:

Summary and Analysis:

This article examines the effects of increased physical activity as a preemptive method of increasing academic performance indirectly by its apparent ability to reduce behaviors responsible for poor academic performance. Specifically, the study involved the use of exercise labs in which poorly-performing students and those at risk of poor academic… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Physical Education and Academic Achievement.  (2009, July 15).  Retrieved September 15, 2019, from

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"Physical Education and Academic Achievement."  15 July 2009.  Web.  15 September 2019. <>.

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"Physical Education and Academic Achievement."  July 15, 2009.  Accessed September 15, 2019.