Phys ed program boosts students' confidence, ability

By: | September 10, 2015

A physical education program that brings commercial-grade fitness equipment to under-resourced schools—along with a curriculum based on boosting confidence and fun—dramatically increases students’ performance on California’s standardized physical fitness test, according to a UCLA study titled “Targeting the Body and the Mind: Evaluation of a P.E. Curriculum Intervention for Adolescents.”

The UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind curriculum, which focuses on mastering basic physical tasks that can be done in small spaces, such as using free-weights and jumping ropes, tripled the percentage of students who passed the California state Fitnessgram test in schools where it was implemented.

The average pass rate of physical education for grades 7 through 9 was previously 20 percent; after the curriculum was initiated, the average rose to 60 percent. The study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Education and Training Studies, also found that students’ confidence, enjoyment of physical activity and fitness knowledge increased following the program.

Sound Body Sound Mind’s 30-lesson plan curriculum is being used in 100 LAUSD middle and high schools—most of them in low-income communities. It was created in 1999, and became part of UCLA Health earlier this year. —L.W.