The Impact of Policy on Practice in Elementary Physical Education in the Bergling School Division in Virginia




Spivack, Kimberly

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Federal, state, and local school policies since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 have increased the focus on student achievement. Subjects such as physical education have become less of a priority. At the same time, childhood obesity is a serious public health problem. Virginia schools provide an opportunity for student to learn about the importance of being physical activity and knowledge to lead an active life through physical education class. The purpose of the study was to explore elementary physical education teachers’ in the Bergling School Division (a pseudonym) in the Commonwealth of Virginia implementation of the physical education curriculum, and their knowledge of the state and local school division physical education policies. In addition, the study examined their perceptions of factors to implementing the curriculum. A survey was administered to a population of elementary physical education teachers in the Bergling School Division. Part one of the survey included factors to curriculum implementation. Part two of the survey included items related to the teachers’ application of the curriculum and understanding of policies. The results were analyzed using quantitative methods to determine if relationships exist between factors to curriculum implementation and specified teacher demographics, setting, and perception of policy. Findings from the survey data show teachers are using the physical education curriculum to teach, but lack competence in the policies that guide how the subject is implemented. Furthermore, teachers sight lack of time with students, class size, and low priority for physical education as factors to curriculum implementation.



Curriculum, Elementary, Physical education, Policy, Teacher