MyCollegeOptions® and SHAPE America Research Reveals High School Students’ Perceptions About the Value of Physical Education Classes
The majority of high school students currently participating in physical education classes believe that PE is important to the overall school experience, providing numerous benefits and helping to develop a variety of lifelong skills.
RESTON, VA – December 2, 2015 – New research conducted by myCollegeOptions® and SHAPE America offers unique and valuable insight into the attitudes of students themselves toward physical education. While other studies focus on the views of health organizations, educators and parents, students also have something to say: they value their physical education curriculum.
Research from this study shows that most high school students currently participating in physical education classes have a positive perception of PE and its impact on their lives in and out of school:
Overall, nearly eight in 10 students think physical education class is important to their overall school experiences with 33% reporting "very important" and 47% reporting "somewhat important." Twenty percent of students believe physical education class is not important to their overall school experiences.
Nearly half of students report that their participation in physical education class is important to their future health (49%), helps them to relieve stress (45%), helps them to work well with others (36%), makes them feel good (36%), gives them confidence (28%) and helps them to focus (24%).
More than half of the students report learning how to maintain a physically active lifestyle (56%), how to set fitness goals and maintain fitness levels (54%), and how to play sports (51%);48% report gaining skill development because of their experiences in physical education classes.
Despite abundant opportunities to engage in physical activity outside of physical education classes, a large number of students rely on PE classes as their only opportunity for physical activity during the day, further underscoring the importance of physical education in schools.
Four in 10 students say they participate in physical activity outside of a physical education class five days in an average week, while 31% report three to four days, 18% report one to two days, and 11% of students report they do not participate in physical activity outside of a physical education class in an average week.
Students in lower income households and first-generation students are significantly more likely to report a lower frequency of participation in physical activity outside of a physical education class.
Students in rural high schools are significantly more likely to report five or more days of physical activity outside of a physical education class compared to those in suburban and urban schools (44%, 39% and 35% respectively).
Students in lower income high schools are more likely to report a lower frequency of days in which they participate in physical activity outside of a physical education class compared to students in higher income high schools.
According to E. Paul Roetert, Ph.D., chief executive officer of SHAPE America, "It is critically important that students learn the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes in physical education class so that they will want to live healthy, physically active lives. These students reaffirm to us what we already know –health and physical education teachers are uniquely poised to ensure that all kids thrive as healthy and active adults."
The SHAPE America study is one of a series conducted annually by myCollegeOptions in partnership with the nation's top educational organizations. To receive a free copy of the full report, contact myCollegeOptions, on the right.
MyCollegeOptions is the nation’s largest college planning program, operated by the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®). For 40 years, this education research organization based in Lee’s Summit, MO has served as the primary link between high school students and colleges, universities, and the resources they need to succeed. For more information, visit www.mycollegeoptions.org.
About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.
Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.