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Bias in Physical Educators’ Grading Practices With ELA Literacy

Clancy M. Seymour, Kristin E. Finn


As accountability initiatives in public education such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) begin to gain traction, it is apparent that physical educators must integrate English Language Arts (ELA) literacy tasks into their daily instruction. This study tested whether physical education (PE) teachers have less experience and exhibit bias when grading ELA literacy tasks, compared to non-PE teachers. Participants from this study included 201 teachers from 77 schools in a local region of New York State. Results revealed that approximately 90% of PE teachers reported having little to no experience with grading ELA literacy assignments. In addition, physical educators were significantly more critical than their non-PE counterparts; ELA assignments were judged as being lower quality, being less neat, having poorer sentence structure, and showing less effort. The lack of consistency between PE teachers and non-PE teachers raises questions about validity and whether there is a need for more professional training should the CCSS mandate continue in PE. 

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Physical Education; Grading Bias; ELA Literacy; Common Core State Standards

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