Urban Physical Education (PE) Teachers' Perceptions of Quality Physical Education and Assessment

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 1 (Convention Center)
Skip M. Williams, Mary L. Henninger and Margaret M. Coleman, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Background/Purpose:   Quality physical education programs are a necessity to help students adopt healthy and physically active lifestyles. Assessment of student learning is the only way to demonstrate that students are meeting the goals and objectives of quality physical education yet this is an area where many physical education programs continue to struggle. Teacher perceptions have been studied before (McCullick, 2001), but views of urban teachers bring another perspective. In urban schools, oversized classes, lack of resources and professional development, and minimum time meeting with students add to this problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of urban physical education teachers regarding the characteristics of quality physical education and how assessment is conducted in urban schools.

Method: K-12 physical educators (N=25) from a large urban school district in the Midwest were surveyed about quality physical education and assessment using Survey Monkey. The survey, created by the district’s physical education administrators and a university professor, consisted of demographic and open-ended questions. The open-ended questions asked participants to describe the components of a quality physical education program and the role of assessment in physical education.

Analysis/Results: Participants’ responses to open-ended questions regarding components of quality physical education and the role of assessment including how they personally assessed students were analyzed through the process of open coding and constant comparative techniques to identify initial themes and categories. Peer debriefing was used to verify themes and categories and develop final categories. Findings are reported in three main themes:  a) Components of quality physical education programs, b) The role of assessment in physical education, and c) What and how urban physical educators assess. Results for the first theme closely matched NASPE components of opportunity to learn, meaningful content, appropriate instruction and assessment. Results of theme two included informing future instruction, providing credibility and monitoring students’ development and achievement. Theme three results were use of the three domains plus fitness and included their use of a variety of assessment tools.

Conclusions: Results indicate urban physical educators identified quality physical education aspects similar to NASPE’s components.  Also, assessment is important in an urban setting but may be limited due to context. Results from this study suggest urban physical education teachers need professional development regarding how to implement practical assessments in any setting. Additionally, university teacher education programs need to prepare students to be able to assess in any given situation.