The Relationship of Principals' Perceptions of Physical Education, National Standards, Student Achievement and Compliance With State Physical Education Requirements in Alabama K--12 Public Schools

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Sandra K. Gangstead

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


The purpose of this study was to determine principals' perceptions of physical education's importance, national physical education standards, and student achievement. It was also designed to identify school compliance with state requirements. The nature of the relationship between principals' perceptions of physical education, national standards, their student's achievement in physical education and their compliance with state physical education requirements was also investigated. Data was collected from 243 principals who responded to two questionnaires; Principal Survey of Physical Education (PSPE) and Physical Education Student Achievement Response Form (PESARF). The main dependent variables examined were Total Perception, Standard Total, and Student Achievement Total. Principals' personal experience with physical education, gender, school level, teaching field certification, years in administration and compliance with state physical education requirements were analyzed. Percentage Daily Physical Education Offered and Exemptions Allowed were use to determine the level of compliance among principals regarding state requirements. Pearson Product Moment correlations were conducted on principals' personal experience measures, years of experience in administration and the three main dependent variables of interest. A significant moderate, direct relationship was found between principals' positive personal experiences with physical education and their value of physical education's importance, and the level of compliance with state requirements. No significant relationship was revealed between principals' year in administration and the dependent variables. Factoral analyses revealed significant gender, teaching fields, and school level differences on the dependent variables. Female principals viewed physical education and student achievement significantly higher than males, and allowed fewer exemptions from physical education participation. Principals certified as physical educators allowed significantly more exemptions than those certified in other teaching fields. Elementary principals viewed student achievement significantly higher than other level principals, and did not allow as many student exemptions. Schools offering daily physical education were perceived as demonstrating higher levels of student achievement. Overall, principals' perceptions of physical education's importance and agreement levels with physical education national standards were very positive.