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Course Preface  
Utah Secondary Physical Education Core Curriculum

Last updated: 2006


Instruction in physical education strives to develop healthy, responsible students who have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to work together in groups, think critically, and participate in a variety of activities that lead to a lifelong healthy lifestyle. The Physical Education Core Curriculum utilizes appropriate instructional practices to develop competence and confidence in a variety of movement forms such as sports, dance, and recreational and physical fitness activities. The emphasis is on providing success and enjoyment for all students, and not just for those who are "physically gifted." The Physical Education Core represents a shift from a team sports-dominated program to a lifetime activity format with connections to community resources. Knowledge of the relationship between proper nutrition and the benefits of a consistent fitness regimen is the common thread running through the Physical Education Core. Reading and writing practices such as reports, activity journals, and portfolios are incorporated in the Core to broaden the physical education experience and to contribute to the overall literacy of students. Students develop life skills through cooperative and competitive activity participation and learn to value academic service experiences.

The Physical Education Core describes what students should know and be able to demonstrate at the end of each course. It was developed, critiqued, piloted, and revised by a committee comprised of physical education teachers, district specialists, university educators, State Office of Education specialists, and representatives from the community. The Core reflects the current national philosophy of physical education represented in national standards developed by the AmericanAlliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the two governing bodies of health and physical education in the United States.

All physical education courses must be:

  • Taught by a certified physical educator (with a major or minor in P.E. or USOE endorsement).
  • Open to all students as mandated by law.
  • Co-educational and in compliance with Title IX regulations.
  • In compliance with Utah law and policy.
  • In compliance with the current Northwest accreditation standards for maximum total student-teacher ratios for a grading period:
    • Traditional school schedule—265 students per teacher—44 per class.
    • Block school schedule—299 students per teacher—49 per class.
  • Supervised in both the activity and locker room settings.
  • Designed to meet the needs of all students.

Class Offerings
Junior High School : Two separate classes with developmentally appropriate content are offered at the junior high level. The courses are different in scope and they should not be offered as one class.

  • Grade 7 Beginning Team Sports Activities
  • Grade 8 Intermediate Activities Individual, Team, Dual Sports and Dance

Senior High School: Graduation standards require 1.5 credits of physical education taken during grades nine through twelve. Districts have the autonomy of when to offer the specific classes.

  • Participation Skills and Techniques
  • * Fitness For Life
  • Individualized Lifetime Activities
  • Advanced Individual Lifetime Activities (Elective Credit)

*At the tenth-grade level Health and Fitness for Life may be combined and offered as a full-year class for .5 units Health credit and .5 units Fitness for Life credit.

Curriculum Mapping
Districts are encouraged to map the secondary physical education Core Curriculum, specifying the activities offered at each grade level in order to enhance communication among teachers and to avoid duplication of curriculum delivery.

 Character Education
Character education is reflected in the national standards embedded in the Physical Education Core. Behaviors included are perseverance, safe practices, adherence to rules, respect for self and others, cooperation and teamwork, ethical behavior in sport, and respect for individual similarities and differences through positive interaction among participants in physical activity.

Similarities and differences include characteristics of culture, race, ability level, disability, physical characteristics (strength, size, and age), gender, and socioeconomic status. Students are taught to respect and celebrate differences and to develop strategies to include others from diverse backgrounds in activity participation.

Academic Service-Learning
In order to promote students' personal and social development, as well as introduce them to civic responsibility, community service project ideas are suggested and promoted by physical education teachers, with extra credit awarded for participation. The following ideas offer a sampling of academic service projects directly related to physical education:

  • Assist special needs students in physical activities.
  • Walk on a regular basis with a senior citizen from a local senior care facility.
  • Assist senior citizens with lawn and home maintenance chores.
  • Help with the Special Olympics program.
  • Coach or officiate in community recreation sports programs.
  • Help upgrade local recreational facilities.
  • Assist elementary teachers to increase physical activity in their schools.
  • Assist in community recreational events such as a local road race.
  • Serve on local government health and recreation boards.
  • Help at child daycare centers.
  • Be a volunteer for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters or similar organizations.
  • Teach health and physical activities at a local homeless shelter.
  • Develop a fitness presentation for elementary schools.

Assessment Practices
A variety of assessment strategies are used to evaluate student achievement of learning objectives in the Core. Pre and post skills and knowledge tests are utilized to group by ability, show progress, and individualize instruction.

Physical fitness testing provides personal information to students and indicates progress in individualized fitness plans. Scores on fitness tests should reflect improvement by students and should not be the primary component used in the grading process. Two recommended fitness tests with national norms are the FitnessGram and the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.

Alternative assessment strategies such as observation, interview, use of rubrics, activity journals, and portfolios are employed in measuring student progress. Students have required reading and writing assignments relating to a healthy lifestyle to broaden the physical education experience. Topics on sports and recreation offer excellent opportunities to engage students to improve their literacy skills.

Physical changes in the body resulting from physical fitness activitiesare measured to provide personal information to students. Pulse rate, body weight and composition, blood pressure, strength and flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance are elements measured in physical education classes.

Credit for Sports Participation
Districts have the option of awarding a one-time .5 credit in physical education for two seasons of sports participation.

Non-Qualifying Activity Classes
Rodeo, ROTC, marching band, cheerleading and drill team classes do not qualify for physical education credit. The courses may be completed for elective graduation credit.

Use of Technology
Students utilize technology to assess fitness levels with body composition monitors, ped-ometers, heart rate monitors or pulse sticks, and blood pressure devices. They will access the Internet to research reports and presentations, and will use videotape and/or digital cameras to chart progress in skill development and to build portfolios.

Dodge Ball and Other Inappropriate Activities
Some games are not appropriate to teach children in a public education setting. Games, like dodgeball, that have the potential to embarrass students; to cause danger, injury or harm; to limit participation time; or to eliminate students from participation should not be part of the physical education curriculum.

Organization of Physical Education Core
The Core is designed to help teachers organize and deliver instruction. Elements of the Core include the following:

  • INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES describe the goals for educators in developing a physically educated person through teaching the Physical Education Core. Each course begins with a BRIEF DESCRIPTION.
  • A STANDARD is a broad statement of what students are expected to understand. Several Objectives are listed under each Standard.
  • An OBJECTIVE is a more focused description of what students need to know and be able to do at the completion of instruction. If students have mastered the Objectives associated with a given Standard, they are judged to have mastered that Standard for the course. Several Indicators are described for each Objective.
  • An INDICATOR is a measurable or observable student action that enables one to judge whether or not a student has mastered a particular Objective. Indicators can guide physical education instruction and assessment.

Intended Learning Outcomes for Secondary Physical Education

The Intended Learning Outcomes reflect the skills, attitudes, standards, and behaviors students should learn as a result of instruction in physical education. They represent an essential part of the Physical Education Core Curriculum and provide teachers with standards for evaluation of student learning.

The primary goal of physical education instruction is to develop attitudes, skills, and behaviors to empower students to live healthy, productive lives. By the end of secondary physical education instruction, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate competency in activity and physical fitness.

  • Use basic offensive and defensive strategies in a variety of games and activities.
  • Recognize the health benefits of lifetime activity participation.
  • Perform a series of simple and complex activities with confidence.
  • Analyze and compare the health and fitness benefits from a variety of physical activities.
  • Describe and demonstrate the significance of basic physiological principles to the development of physical fitness.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the five elements of physical fitness — muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and proper nutrition.
  • Develop a personal fitness plan for short and long-term development, complete with assessment strategies.

2. Derive satisfaction through fair play, skill development, and participation with people of diverse backgrounds.

  • Enjoy participating with people of different backgrounds and skill levels.
  • Enjoy the creative and aesthetic aspects of activity performance.
  • Seek to learn new physical activities.
  • Find pleasure contributing to team activities.
  • Participate in lifetime recreation offerings in the community.
  • Understand the ethical responsibilities in activity participation.

3. Apply complex thinking through problem-solving skills in activity settings.

  • Understand the significance of physiological principles to the development of a personal fitness plan.
  • Compare the physical, social, and emotional benefits of a variety of fitness activities.
  • Evaluate and select ways to improve health through proper nutrition and exercise.
  • Use internal and external feedback to modify and improve performance.
  • Design short- and long-term fitness programs.

4. Develop strategies for a lifelong healthy lifestyle.

  • Understand the importance of activity and proper nutritional choices.
  • Develop a personal fitness program that reflects individual interests and needs.
  • Understand the ways in which age and body changes impact activity and nutritional choices over a lifespan.
  • Utilize community resources for activity and fitness.
  • Utilize activity to reduce stress in everyday life.

5. Apply attributes of responsible citizenship.

  • Respect and celebrate individual differences in activity settings.
  • Self-officiate in recreational sports participation.
  • Follow prescribed rules and standards ensuring fair play.
  • Communicate effectively and respectfully to resolve conflict in activity settings.
  • Recognize the value and personal rewards of volunteering in community settings.
  • Understand the responsibilities of both participant and spectator in sporting activities to avoid verbal and/or physical confrontation at sporting events.
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