Significance of High-Quality Physical Education Teachers
Keywords:Teacher certification, academic major, physical education teachers, teacher education, beginning teachers
This study investigated the extent to which public school K–12 staff in the United States teaching physical education were certified in physical education and had an academic major in physical education during the 2015–2016 school year. Data were collected from a nationally representative sample of public school teachers in the United States. Descriptive statistics were used in the description of physical education teachers’ certification and academic major. These characteristics were investigated with regard to school grade level, census region, urbanicity, and newly hired. Results showed that over 30% of public high school physical education teachers did not have an undergraduate or graduate degree in physical education. Nearly 20% of physical education teachers were not certified in physical education. Furthermore, less than 70% of physical education teachers had both characteristics of a qualified teacher. Results from this study show the need for an increase in the percentage of high-quality physical education teachers who have both teaching certification and an academic major in physical education, which would positively impact public health in the United States.
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