Physical Education Content Knowledge and Physical Activity Behaviors of Mississippi High School Students
The present study investigated physical education content knowledge, physical activity behaviors, and body mass indexes of 386 Mississippi ninth (n = 236) and twelfth (n = 150) grade students with a goal of establishing evidence-based needs to modify physical education curricula. Results of this study suggested that a significant, direct relationship did exist in the Assessment of Sub-disciplinary Knowledge in Physical Education: Exercise Physiology (ASK PE: EXP) ; (Ayers, 2004) scores and scores from the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (MAQ-A) ; (Aaron & Kriska, 1997) for both ninth and twelfth grade students. Findings also suggested that physical education content knowledge (exercise physiology) is more likely to contribute to twelfth grade reported physical activity scores than ninth grade reported physical activity scores. However, ninth graders were more active than twelfth graders. This is possibly explained by the small difference (5%) in ASK PE: EXP scores between ninth (M ASK PE: EXP score = 52%, SD = .22) and twelfth graders (M ASK PE: EXP score = 57%, SD = .21). As a whole, results indicated that Mississippi ninth and twelfth grade students' average ASK PE: EXP score was lower (M = 53%, SD = .22) than students in 16 other states (M = 62%, SD = 7.65). Further, majority of Mississippi high school students are performing significantly below the established, research-based cutoff score of 62% (observed N below 62% = 236 and observed N above 62% = 150). This is notable, because findings also suggested that students who scored higher (M knowledge = 76%, SD = .08); (M activity = 8.6 hours/week, SD = 9.7) or above 62% on the ASK PE: EXP were more likely to be active during a weekly basis compared to those who scored lower (M knowledge = 39%, SD = .14); (M activity = 5.8 hours/week, SD = 9.8) or below a 62% on the ASK PE: EXP . With this noted, it was recommended that Mississippi high schools evaluate the current physical education programs, and strive to implement curricula that can provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to make lifelong healthy decisions.