The study demonstrated that regular physical fitness activities dramatically decreased some of the behaviors responsible for poor academic performance. The study also reiterated some of the prior literature such as those previously discussed in this review pertaining to the direct physiological changes associated with physical activity that correspond to increased cognitive learning and academic performance as well.
The results of the study indicated that regular exercise was associated with dramatically reduced behavioral problems such as oppositional defiance, arguing, in addition to also improving attention span while reducing both hyperactivity and impulsivity among adolescent students. The researchers reported that anecdotal parental evaluations also corroborated the empirical results of measurements on a rating scale for comparing student behavior. One of the most interesting findings of this study was that the positive behavioral and academic performance changes associated with participation in the exercise labs evaporated almost immediately upon cessation of the program trials.
Therefore, this study is a valuable tool to any educators concerned with effective ways of improving academic performance, particularly among students whose poor performance is a function of behavioral issues rather than learning issues. In that regard, the authors liken the preemptive use of exercise labs to the reactive use of academic detention. Instead of punishing students after failing to follow instructions or make an appropriate effort academically, exercise labs allow educators to promote learning by preventing negative behaviors before they occur at the expense of academic performance.
Sallis, James F.; Thomas McKenzie,; Bohdan Kolody,; Michael Lewis,; Simon Marshall,; Paul Rosengard,. "Effects of health-related physical education on academic achievement: project SPARK.(Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids curriculum)." Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). 1999. Retrieved July 15, 2009 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-55106784.html
Summary and Analysis:
This article details a study that investigated the specific effects of physical activity on academic performance, physical fitness on academic performance, and (as a control), the effects of breaks in academic studies comparable in duration to the periods of physical activity studied. The article also detailed the history of prior research into the effects of physical education on academic performance in several different countries. The study determined that physical activity in and of itself provided a benefit to academic performance, that regular participation in physical exercise and improved physical fitness provided even better results, and that specialized exercise training provided the best results in terms of improving academic performance.
The article is particularly valuable to educators considering the relative value of physical education programs and suggests that its results should contradict any persisting prejudices and biases relating to the perceived unimportance of physical education within the educational curriculum. The authors describe the attitudes of many modern educators who are ignorant as to the obvious value of physical education programs to the academic performance of students, let alone the additional benefits of physical activity and physical fitness. Additionally, the researchers propose that the available evidence of overweight and obesity as measured by body mass indexes and their detrimental effects on learning also reinforce the importance of increased attention on providing quality physical education programs rather than on reducing funds and other resources in that area.
Smith, Nicole J.; Monica Lounsbery,. "Promoting physical education: the link to academic achievement: study data can make your advocacy efforts more compelling.(Report)." The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-193001510.html
Summary and Analysis:
This article also examined the history of prior research establishing a positive correlation between physical activity and physical education and academic performance. Like the previous article reviewed, this survey concluded that regular physical activity improves academic performance and that regular participation in more intense physical activity or athletic training is even more beneficial than physical activity alone. This article also reports the results of the National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) studies that identified five specific factors considered to be critically important to the effectiveness of physical education programs: (1) who provides the instruction, (2) how regularly it is provided, (3) what it entails, (4) standards of performance, and (5) the purposes for which the instruction is provided.
One of the most significant points made by the authors is that the current trend of reducing attention on and resources for physical education runs contrary to the weight of overwhelming evidence of its benefits both inside and outside of the classroom. In that regard, the authors explain the detrimental effects attributable to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal requirements that increase the emphasis on standardized testing and standardized test preparation for purposes related more to the reputation of the school than to the best academic interests of the students.
Therefore, this article is most valuable to anybody who is not yet convinced of the (many other) glaring problems with the entire NCLB concept in contemporary American education. Instead of decreasing the availability and quality of physical education in American public education, the article makes a very strong argument that physical education should be made more available and that its quality should be improved for the purpose of helping students improve their academic performance.
Stevens, Tara A.; Yen To,; Sarah Stevenson,; Marc Lochbaum,. "The importance of physical activity and physical education in the prediction of academic achievement.(Report)." Journal of Sport Behavior. University of South Alabama. 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2009 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-188739131.html
Summary and Analysis:
This article examined the relationship between the relative quality of the physical education programs available in schools to the degree of improvement in academic performance (if any) associated with them. The authors presented a review of prior research methodologies as well as the basis of the hypotheses linking physical activity and physical fitness to improved cognitive and academic performance. Then, they evaluated the effects of specific physical education programs on academic performance.
The authors disclosed that the results of their study indicated that participation in physical education programs do not necessarily confer any measurable benefits on academic performance where the intensity, duration, regularity, or quality of those physical education programs is minimal. In that regard, the authors report evidence that robust physical activity outside of school is much more beneficial to academic performance than some of the poorly designed physical education programs available in many American schools.
The article is helpful to anybody who is interested in better understanding the difference between the types of physical activity that must form the core of beneficial physical education programs and the types of physical activity that often provide inadequate benefits and fail to help improve academic performance. Similarly, the article is helpful to educators and administrators who would like to achieve optimal value from the time already devoted to physical education in their institutions instead of providing comparatively little benefit for the effort and expense involved in administrating a physical education program.
Trudeau, Francois; Roy Shephard,. "Physical education, school physical activity, school sports and academic performance.(Review)." The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. BioMed Central Ltd. 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2009 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-178159890.html
Summary and Analysis:
This article details the different methodologies typically used to investigate the relationship between physical education and academic performance. It compares the advantages and disadvantages of quasi-experimental approaches, longitudinal studies, and cross-sectional studies including the details of the inherent strengths and weaknesses of those designs. Specifically, this article explains the various sources of experimental error and ambiguity, such as the coincidental effects of demographics, child health, nutrition, and parenting that could skew the results of research. Furthermore, the article describes the sociological differences in various countries and the results of studies in different parts of the world as well as concurrent factors such as childhood self-confidence and self-esteem attributable to other factors that nevertheless impact on the results of research into the positive effects of physical education on academic performance.
Therefore, this article would be most helpful to researchers attempting to design studies into the relationship between physical activity, physical fitness, and physical education and academic performance. The article enables researchers to effectively eliminate potential sources of error in their results, and therefore, allows future research into the issue to yield meaningful results that advance the understanding of the effects of physical education on academic performance.