Value of Physical Education

As Sallis, McKenzie, Kolody, Lewis, Marshall &amp. Rosengard, (1999, p.127) point out, “Physical educators are continually trying to justify the value of their work to avoid cuts or elimination of requirements and funding”. In order to highlight the importance of physical education, a link to academic performance would be influential. The purpose of this study is to discover if there is a relationship between Fitnessgram test scores and CAT/6 test scores. The literature review will examine the effect physical fitness may have on academic performance. The majority of the literature was obtained through the GOOGLE Internet search engine, ProQuest, ERIC and the National University online library. Some keywords used were: physical fitness, physical education, physical activity, exercise, brain, academic excellence, academic performance, and academic achievement. These words were used in many different combinations. While many references were found, most of the literature referred to the same six or seven studies. The literature on the brain and the effects of physical activity is limited in availability. The majority of the literature found referenced research on school-age students and the relationship between academic performance and physical activity. The problem with many of these studies is that they are either too broad or use high performing students as subjects. These studies do not concentrate on the low performing schools that may be impacted more by this type of study. This study will help to fill that gap as it is carried out in a large, low-performing, urban school.

Physical activity is related to improved academic performance. This theoretical concept of improving academic performance through physical activity is thought to be derived from both the effect of physical activity on the brain and also on the emotional and mental processes. Chomitz et& (2009) state that “results from animal studies show that physical activity stimulates neural development including a greater density of neural synapses and higher capillary volume”.

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