Article Abstract

Effects of a health-related physical fitness intervention on middle school students’ academic learning time during physical education

Authors: You Fu, Ryan D. Burns, Wei Yang, Timothy A. Brusseau, James C. Hannon


Background: This study examined the effects of the sports, play and active recreation for kids (SPARK) on middle school students’ academic learning time-physical education (ALT-PE) compared to the traditional physical education (PE) program.
Methods: A total of 12 target middle-school students were randomly selected from a pool of 174 who participated in PE lessons over 9 weeks. Two raters used a 12-second-interval observation/record protocol to record the student’s context level (general, subject matter knowledge, and subject matter motor). In the SPARK school, target students attended the SPARK lessons for 9 weeks that included three curricular sport activities in the order of soccer, flag football, and ultimate Frisbee. Target students’ percentages of time spent in ALT-PE context categories and subcategories were calculated and compared by different PE programs and sport activities. A series of 2 × 3 mixed design ANOVA tests were conducted using SPSS statistical software.
Results: Compare to traditional PE group, SPARK group had significant difference of percentage of time in general content (mean difference =−19.97%, P<0.05, d=2.12) and in subject matter motor (mean difference =+24.64%, P<0.05, d=1.99). Specifically, students in SPARK program had statistically significant higher values in percentage of time spent in the subcategory of skill practice (mean difference =25.57%, P<0.01, d=1.98) and fitness (mean difference =6.22%, P<0.01, d=1.45).
Conclusions: SPARK is an effective pedagogical strategy to increase youth’s ALT in school PE settings.


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