Study suggests a school district audit, feedback and coaching program can be successfully implemented to support improved elementary school physical education

Aug 3, 2023

Some US state laws require schools to provide certified physical education, or PE, teachers and a minimum amount of PE to support students in achieving 60 minutes of daily physical activity. However, adherence to these laws is low, especially in elementary schools. For example, in New York City elementary schools, adherence was only 4% in 2015. Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of PE Works, a multi-level intervention aimed at supporting elementary schools in implementing physical education (PE) in New York City. PE Works included three evidence-based interventions: providing certified PE teachers, training classroom teachers to lead PE, and implementing an audit and feedback system with coaching delivered by district-level staff. The study found that PE Works is most successful when school districts prioritize support for higher-need schools first, tailor support based on individual school needs, increase the importance of PE at the district and school level, build strong relationships between district and school staff, and provide ongoing coaching and involve parents in advocating for quality PE. The research suggests promising practices for scaling up similar interventions in school districts nationwide. Results were published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity by Hannah Thompson, Kristine Madsen and Maya Zamek from the University of California, Berkeley, Thomas McKenzie from San Diego State University and David Dzewaltowski from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The research was funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Grant 1K01HL151805.

By Danielle Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Hannah R Thompson
Editor - Asst Research Professor