Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



Understanding the qualities of effective teachers and finding accurate measures of student outcomes becomes paramount to knowing how to replicate student success from year to year. In 1992, The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (now SHAPE America), published the Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Children document in an effort to help practitioners better understand qualities of an effective physical education program. However, little is known about the effect that the appropriate practices in the document have on student outcomes. The best way to understand whether or not NASPEs appropriate practices have an impact on student outcomes is to investigate the body of knowledge encompassing the topic. One can begin to establish validity in the use of NASPE's appropriate practices through the use of meta-analysis research. Through a systematic review of literature, quantitative data may support the implementation of these strategies in classrooms. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the understanding that the learning environment, as defined in the Appropriate Practices document (NASPE, 2009a, 2009b, 2009c, SHAPE 2009), has on student outcomes in physical education classes. Equally important is determining what evidence there is to support that establishing a learning environment promotes positive student outcomes in physical education. An initial database search of terms related to the learning environment revealed 3727 citations relating to the topic. Using inclusion criteria, 19 studies (12 journal articles and 7 doctoral dissertations) were included for final analyses. A summary effect size of g=0.366 was obtained, which is considered small. Effect sizes across all studies were heterogeneous, indicating the presence of moderator variables. Moderator analyses revealed statistically significant differences for variables of safety, diversity, study design, school level, and publication type on student outcomes. Meta-analytical results indicate a small positive relationship between the learning environment and student outcomes in the affective and psychomotor domains. More studies are needed that investigate the relationship between the learning environment and student outcomes, especially when considering outcomes in the cognitive domain. More evidence is needed to support the assumption based on professional consensus that learning environment variables affect student learning outcomes.'


physical education, learning environment, student outcomes, meta-analysis, appropriate practices

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hushman, Glenn

Second Committee Member

Pence, Lucretia

Third Committee Member

Braithwaite, Rock