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Press Release

For immediate release : 11/17/15

NRCCUA and SHAPE America research reveals high school students’ perceptions about the value of Physical Education classes

The majority of high school students currently participating in Physical Education classes believe that PE is important to their overall school experience, providing numerous benefits and helping to develop a variety of lifelong skills.

Lee’s Summit, MO – November 17, 2015 - New research conducted by the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®) and SHAPE America® offers unique and valuable insight into the attitudes of students towards Physical Education. While other studies focus on the views of health organizations, educators and parents, students also have something to say: they value their Physical Education curriculum.

Research from this study shows that most high school students currently participating in Physical Education classes have a positive perception of PE and its impact on their lives in and out of school:

  • Overall, nearly eight in 10 students think Physical Education class is important to their overall school experiences with 33% reporting very important and 47% reporting somewhat important. Twenty percent of students believe Physical Education class is not important to their overall school experiences.
  • Nearly half of students report that their participation in Physical Education class is important to their future health (49%), helps them to relieve stress (45%), helps them to work well with others (36%), makes them feel good (36%), gives them confidence (28%) and helps them to focus (24%).
  • More than half of the students report learning how to maintain a physically active lifestyle (56%), how to set fitness goals and maintain fitness levels (54%), how to play sports (51%), and 48% report gaining skill development because of their experiences in Physical Education classes.
Despite abundant opportunities to engage in physical activity outside of Physical Education class, a large number of students rely on PE class as their only opportunity for physical activity during the day, further underscoring the importance of Physical Education in school.

  • Four in 10 students say they participate in physical activity outside of a Physical Education class five days in an average week, while 32% report three to four days, 19% report one to two days, and 11% of students report they do not participate in physical activity outside of a Physical Education class in an average week.
  • Students in lower income households and first generation students are sig¬nificantly more likely to report a lower frequency of participation in physical activity outside of a Physical Education class.
  • Students in rural high schools are significantly more likely to report five or more days of physical activity outside of a Physical Education class compared to those in suburban and urban schools (44%, 39% and 35% respectively).
  • Students in lower income high schools are more likely to report a lower frequency of days in which they participate in physical activity outside of a Physical Education class compared to students in higher income high schools.
The SHAPE America study is one of a series conducted annually by NRCCUA in partnership with the nation’s top educational organizations.

About SHAPE America®
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators® is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let’s Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart / Hoops For Heart programs. In September 2015 SHAPE America launched "50 Million Strong by 2029". The goal of this initiative is to ensure that by the time every child now in pre-school graduates from high school, all of America’s students are benefitting from the skills, knowledge and confidence to enjoy healthy, meaningful physical activity. For more information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.

About NRCCUA
The National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®), is the leading research organization in the U.S. studying student and educator attitudes related to higher education opportunities. NRCCUA partners with organizations like SHAPE America to gain better understanding of their impact on students’ lives. For more information please visit www.nrccua.org. To receive a free copy of the full report: