Caterino and Polak (1999) conducted a second study that looked at the effects physical activity had on concentration. Administrators and teachers are constantly criticizing what part of the school day that physical education should take place. There is a constant concern that physical education will influence testing and classroom learning. This study was a follow up study that Caterino and Polak conducted in 1994. In the previous study, fourth grade was the only grade used.
Caterino et al. administered the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Concentration to a group of second, third and fourth graders. The students in the test were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: classroom activity or physical activity. Grade two consisted of 54 students, with 27 in each group. Grade three was made up of 71 students with 36 in the classroom group and 35 in the physical activity group. Grade four consisted of 52 students with 27 in the classroom group and 25 in the physical activity group.
According to Caterino and Polak (1999), the classroom activities group did not use pre-designed activities; however, all activities were grade level appropriate, and approved through weekly lesson plans. On the day of the test, the classroom activities group went immediately into the library to take the test, while the physical activities group went into the gym to stretch and walk. The physical activity group remained in the gym for 15 minutes then went directly to take the test. Both groups were given the same test with the same instructions.
Date from Caterino and Polak (1999) were analyzed using both a one-way ANOVA and a two-way ANOVA. The Scheffe multiple comparison test was also used. The one-way ANOVA was performed on fourth grade scores. The results indicated that the mean concentration score of the physical activity group was significantly greater than that of the classroom activity group (p = .05). The two-way ANOVA showed overall significance (p = .001). However, when the mean scores were compared between grades two and three, they were not significant. Furthermore, the Scheffe test revealed no significant differences between grades two and three, but showed that the physical activity group in the fourth grade out performed the classroom activity group.
The Caterino and Polak (1999) study was important in demonstrating how that physical education does not interfere with concentration levels of the students who were tested. This supports other studies that claim that physical education should not be cut in order to achieve academic success. (Caterino & Polak, 1993; Caterino, & Polak, 1999; Labarre, Jequier, Shephard, Lavalle, & Rajic, 1984; Shephard, 1997; Dwyer, Coonan, Leitch, Hetzel, & Baghurst, 1983; Janz, Dawson, & Mahoney, 2000; Sallis, McKenzie, Kolody, Lewis, Marshall & Rosengard, 1999)
Shephard and Lavalle (1994) examined the value of field performance test in assessing enhanced physical education programs. It was an experimental design that took place in two primary schools in Quebec. One school was located in a middle class suburb of Trois Rivieres (population 100,000), and the other from the village of Pont Rouge (population about 4000). The study consisted of 546 volunteer students between grades one-six. There were 161 boys and 134 girls in the four experimental classes, and 128 boys and 123 girls in the control classes. Two hundred thirty six of the subjects were from the urban school and 310 from the rural school. The two schools each had two experimental classes and two control classes. The control classes preceded and immediately succeeded the experimental groups. The guidelines for the experiment were that the control groups received the norm of a single physical education class per week, taught by a non-specialist. The experimental group received one hour of extra physical education daily, taught by a physical education specialist.
Shephard and Lavalle (1994) measured each subject using the Canadian Association for Physical Education and Recreation (CAHPER) field performance test. This test was administered in early June and late October each year. Within two weeks of their birthday, the students were measured for aerobic power and muscle strength. The focus of the experimental group was to provide cardiovascular and muscular endurance activities. The increase of their heart rate was the main goal. Categories that were measured by the researchers were peak oxygen intake, muscular strength, and Body mass index. There were six items on the CAHPER performance that were observed.
Data were analyzed using Shephard and Lavalle (1994) MANOVA to compare the differences between groups. The results for the physical characteristics showed only significant differences among girls’ age seven and eight in relation to height. The girls in the urban schools were significantly taller than the girls in the rural school. The performance test showed that the boys were significantly (p < .05) superior in 29 of 36 comparisons. The boys also had higher peak oxygen intake at a significant level (p < .05). The MANOVA also showed that the experimental group reported a higher average strength. This was significant in 21 of 36 tests (p < .05).
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