Xiaoping Fan

First Advisor

McMullen, Jaimie M.

Document Type


Date Created



This dissertation includes two studies, aiming to explore the status of physical education and stakeholders’ perceptions of physical education in Colorado. In study one, using the PE for All Colorado model policy as a guiding framework, the purpose of this study was to explore the status of physical education in Colorado. Research questions included: (a) what is the status of physical education in Colorado based on the PE for All model policy’s recommendations? and (b) what are the facilitators and barriers to implementing physical education in schools? A sequential explanatory mixed method design was utilized in this study consisting of two phases: the administration of a survey (Phase 1); and a semi-structured interview (Phase 2; Creswell, 2009). Participants in this study were 201 physical education teachers (n = 98 elementary schools, n = 95 secondary schools, and n = 8 K-12 schools) from urban (n = 122), suburban (n = 54), and rural (n = 25) areas in Phase 1, and 12 teachers (n = 5 female and n = 7 male) in Phase 2. The quantitative survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics through SPSS. Qualitative survey data (i.e., the open-ended responses) and teachers’ responses to interview questions were analyzed with open and axial coding approach, and ultimately, the survey and interview data were combined to interpret the status of physical education. Results are presented in two sections: the status of physical education and the facilitators and barriers to its implementation. Most physical education programs met the recommendations for most components: assessment (90.0%), school funding (71.1%), etc. Some programs only partially met the following components: district funding (57.2%), waivers for physical education (Level 1), etc. Six facilitators and seven barriers related to the implementation of physical education at schools were identified. Facilitators include: requirements for physical education, adequate facilities and equipment in secondary schools, administrator support, parent support, access to community resources, and professional development for physical education teachers. Barriers include: negative perceptions of physical education, marginalization of physical education, limited instruction time in elementary, large class sizes in secondary, lack of attention to policy, limited funding, and lack of a rubric for teacher evaluation. In conclusion, Colorado is a local-control state, so physical education programs in Colorado schools vary widely. The findings of this study have the potential to act as a reference or guidepost for efforts to improve physical education in Colorado, creating a baseline from which to work. The state, schools, and physical education teachers should consider the PE for All model policy when implementing physical education and should advocate for a quality program. Study two was to explore the perceptions of students, parents, classroom teachers, and administrators on physical education at school. The social ecological model served as the theoretical framework for this study, incorporating environmental considerations for the development of physical education within schools (Bronfenbrenner, 1992). This study employed an interpretive qualitative research design to explore stakeholders’ perceptions on “typical” physical education which focused on what physical education was like prior to the global pandemic that started in March 2020 (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). Participants (N = 28) in this study included students (n = 8), parents (n = 8), classroom teachers (n = 9), principals (n = 2) and one assistant principal. Data sources included interviews (i.e., focus group interviews or individual interviews) and artifacts consisting of physical education documents (i.e., class schedule, curriculum documents, syllabi, budget plan, etc.), policy documents (e.g., district policy in physical education), the PE for All Colorado physical education model policy (Colorado Health Foundation, 2016), and the Colorado state profile of physical education (SHAPE America, 2016). To understand each group of stakeholders’ insights on physical education, the researcher employed open and axial coding to analyze the interview data by groups and used document analysis for artifacts. The results of this study are presented based on the perceptions of four groups of stakeholders--students, parents, classroom teachers, and administrators--on physical education at their/their children’s school. Their perceptions included four categories: the purpose of physical education, the impact of physical education on children, the learning environment, and suggestions to improve physical education. Understanding stakeholders’ insights has the potential to improve the implementation of physical education when schools and physical education teachers are designing physical education programs. Overall, this dissertation provides the current state of physical education and stakeholders’ insights of physical education in Colorado. The results of the studies provide a baseline to assist policy makers in building feasible legislation to implement physical education, have the potential to find creative ways to tackle the challenges of implementing and improving physical education, and offer pedagogical and curriculum implications that schools and physical education teachers can take into consideration stakeholders’ perceptions of physical education.


277 pages

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