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Physical Education and its Effect on Elementary Testing Results

The article entitled “Physical education and its effect on elementary testing results” and written by Pamela Tremarche, Ellyn Robinson, and Louise Graham is one more contribution to the ever-developing field of educational research. The article was published in the Physical Educator in 2007, presenting the research conducted on the basis of two Massachusetts schools. The study explores the relationship between the time allocated to quality physical education and the students’ performance on the standardized test for fourth grade. The given article is a rather strong example of scientific educational research with an important subject matter at its core. The readers could have benefited from it much more if the definitions were explained more carefully and some there was clearer connected between some information in the article and its overall goal.

Looking at the positive aspects of the writing, one can see that the hypothesis is important and relevant to the current situation in the society. The role of physical education is examined, especially in the light of decision making processes concerning curriculum planning (Tremarche, Robinson, & Graham, 2007). The authors do a good job establishing the reliability of the research. Comparing two separate schools and using the statistical analysis methods to facilitate the study the researchers provide sufficient amount of background information and explaining that the two cases can be reasonably compared. However, this particular section of the article could be shorter without losing its credibility. There is a little excess of information that does not have direct influence on the research question. For example, the part where the authors describe the history of expenditure per student in each school distracts the readers from the main point (Tremarche, Robinson, & Graham, 2007).

Moreover, despite the relevant topic discussed some of the readers may be confused about the definitions used. For instance, the term “quality physical education”, which is the main concept of the study, is not explained with the audience left wondering as to the exact meaning of it. Further, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is being talked about as if all the readers are familiar with its structure. One section of the text discusses how students were divided into several categories based on their test scores, with groups like “advanced”, “proficient”, “needs improvement”, and “warning” (Tremarche, Robinson, & Graham, 2007). The questions immediately arose about the reasoning behind this breaking down and why exactly these ranges of scores were used to represent one category or the other.

Based on the data analysis the researchers come to the conclusion that there was a significant difference between two schools in the test performance in English and Language Arts (ELA). The school that had more physical education hours performed by far better, having 61% of the students in the Proficient and Advanced categories (as compared to 43% in the other school). On the other hand, there was no significant difference discovered when the results of the Math aspect of the test. The results were compared to the state average result (Tremarche, Robinson, & Graham, 2007). The findings are extremely interesting and thought-provoking. The essential question that keeps recurring is why there is such a huge difference between the subjects. 

Overall, the article is a valuable source of information on physical education and its connection to other subject areas. A lot of further research questions can be generated from this one and many similar studies can be repeated in different area to test the same hypothesis. The research also has implication for curriculum development studies and implementation as well as on the broader concerns of the society.

Reference

  1. Tremarche, P. V., Robinson, E. M., & Graham, L. B., (2007). Physical education and its effect on elementary testing results. Physical Educator, 64(2), 58-65. 
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