Effects of Common Core State Standards on Student Physical Activity Rates and Student and Teacher Perceptions in Physical Education


  • Clancy M. Seymour Canisius College
  • Kiel Illg Amherst Central Schools
  • James P. Donnelly Canisius College
  • Karl F. Kozlowski Canisius College
  • Christopher Lopata Canisius College
  • Marcus L. Thomeer Canisius College




Physical Education, Common Core State Standards ELA Literacy Integration, Physical Activity Rates, Accelerometer


Since its development in 2010, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted in over 40 states. While the literature discussing the implications of this initiative is robust, the research examining its effect on K–12 physical education (PE) is limited. Moreover, there is little empirical data on the effect of the CCSS on student physical activity (PA) rates in PE. Thus, this study examined the effect of CCSS instructional integration into PE lessons on PA rates of sixthgrade students and on student and teacher perceptions in a public K–12 school. This study utilized a one-group within-subjects randomized design. Rates of PA were compared between PE classes that integrated the CCSS (i.e., CC+) and PE classes that did not integrate the CCSS (i.e., CC-). Student and teacher perceptions of the lessons were also studied. In addition, the feasibility (i.e., acceptability) of the use of an objective measure of PA intensity (accelerometer) was assessed. A linear mixed model analysis of percentage of time in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) produced a significant effect for condition, CC+ M = 19.7%, SD = 7.0; CC- M = 33.1%, SD = 10.4, F(1, 24) = 182.82, p < .001, d = 1.46, 95% CI [.88, 2.41]. The mixed-model analysis of total steps per minute also produced a significant difference by condition, CC+ M = 20.99, SD = 9.46; CC- M = 32.76, SD = 9.46, F(1, 21) = 133.45, p < .001, d = 1.48, 95% CI [.90, 2.15]. Linear mixed-model analysis of student and teacher perceptions showed no significant differences on any of the six items, indicating general agreement. Intraclass correlations of the student and teacher reports were 0.70 for the CC- items and 0.68 for the CC+ items, again demonstrating general agreement between students and the teacher. Students reported that the accelerometer was “easy to wear” (4.05 out of 5.0); the teacher report was slightly higher (4.83 out of 5.0). Large effect sizes on both PA dependent measures suggest that CCSS integration tasks may have a significant negative effect on PA levels. Student and teacher reports did not differ between CC+ and CC- lessons on a number of lesson attributes and also suggest that the use of accelerometers to measure PA is acceptable. More research needs to explore whether these results generalize to other settings, teachers, students, and activities and examine the overall effect of the CCSS on fitness across the school year. In addition, future research should examine whether certain types of CCSS integration tasks may be more successful with sustaining MVPA.

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Author Biographies

Clancy M. Seymour, Canisius College

Department of Kinesiology

Director of Physical and Health Education Teacher Education

Assistant Professor

Kiel Illg, Amherst Central Schools

Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics

James P. Donnelly, Canisius College

Counseling and Human Services


Karl F. Kozlowski, Canisius College

Department of Kinesiology

Associate Professor

Christopher Lopata, Canisius College

Teacher Education


Marcus L. Thomeer, Canisius College

Teacher Education

Associate Professor