Physical education for life

Josef Davis, California State University, Monterey Bay

Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department


Physical education (PE) in public secondary schools is not being appreciated as a valuable discipline. Students are not required to meet the state PE requirements due to exemptions from articles of the California PE standards for which districts may apply. Interviews were conducted with local high school teachers and administrators to better understand how the lack of emphasis on PE has impacted the school curriculum and students, and what strides can be made to emphasize the educational value of PE. Evidence and research has shown that the greatest variable in student engagement and the educational quality of PE is the teacher. Some teachers may choose to go above and beyond the requirements of the curriculum while others may choose to follow the loose guidelines laid out by the district. Preliminary data analysis indicates that instructor motivation has the greatest impact on student performance, however, the quality of the lessons are at the teachers discretion. Although benchmark standards are in place for PE at many high schools, these standards only serve the students who have not been omitted from PE by the district’s exemptions.