What effect on learning does increasing the proportion of curriculum time allocated to physical education have? A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

An increased focus on standardized testing of students has had the unintended effect of eroding curriculum time allocated to physical education (PE). The empirical literature on increasing the proportion of total curriculum time allocated to PE was reviewed and a series of meta-analyses conducted to estimate the mean effect of doing so on student learning. After combining results across six studies that were absent of additional intervention, we found pooled effect sizes of 0.41 standard deviations on student learning across cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning outcomes. The evidence for the meta-analyses came from PE programmes implemented in primary and secondary schools from four Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development countries. Although findings affirmed that increasing the proportion of curriculum allocation to PE had no detrimental effect on student learning, further analyses illustrated the disparity of learning effects across the three learning domains.

LanguageEnglish
Pages85-100
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Volume26
Issue number1
Early online date17 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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Physical Education and Training
physical education
Curriculum
Meta-Analysis
Learning
curriculum
Students
learning
student
cognitive learning
economic cooperation
learning success
primary school
secondary school
organization
time
evidence

Keywords

  • learning domains
  • physical education frequency
  • academic achievement
  • improved learning outcomes

Cite this

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