Research Article: Towards developing and validating Quality Physical Education in schools—The Asian physical education professionals’ voice

Date Published: August 1, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Walter King Yan Ho, Md. Dilsad Ahmed, Selina Khoo, Chee Hian Tan, Mitra Rouhi Dehkordi, Mila Gallardo, Kicheon Lee, Yasuo Yamaguchi, Yuping Tao, Chunong Shu, Jacobus P. van Wouwe.


Physical education professionals aim to develop quality programmes for physical education. This study aimed to develop and validate a scale using professionals’ perceptions of Quality Physical Education QPE in Asia using twenty-four items regarding QPE quality issues. The items covered status and roles, development of educational elements and supportive features in physical education. A sample of N = 799 sport and physical education professionals from eleven Asian cities participated in this questionnaire survey. Twenty-four items relating to QPE were examined via exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using maximum likelihood extraction and direct oblimin rotation methods. Nevertheless, only 20 items were extracted following the EFA examination. Items 1, 9, 14 and 18 were excluded because of low factor loadings. The remaining items were clustered into four subscales: Development and Supportive Elements for Quality Physical Education in Schools (DSFQPE; α = .918), Core Values of Quality Physical Education (CVPE; α = .908), Curriculum Arrangement of Physical Activities (CAPA; α = .884) and Provision and Norms in Physical Education (PNPE; α = .865). The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (α = .875) indicated excellent internal consistency for the overall measure. Furthermore, the 4 retained factors from the EFA were assessed via robust confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The 4-factor model demonstrated a good fit with the data (CMIN/DF = 3.450, CFI = .928, TLI = .916, PCFI = .801, RMSEA = .078). The study identified a 4-factor structure with internal consistency and acceptable interfactor correlations. The structure seemed to be applicable, including the twenty items identified as useful and necessary tools for the framework of analysis in the investigation of diverse settings for the study of quality physical education.

Partial Text

There has been worldwide concern about ensuring the quality development of physical education in schools [1–2]. The origins of this debate date back to the work of UNESCO in 1978 when the organization initiated the proposal of an International Charter on Physical Education and Sport. Past discussions on this agenda have widened our understanding, and the present insufficiency in handling the matter has captured scholarly attention. For example, the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) (2004) [3] listed the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, academic learning time and the improvement of supporting aspects, such as facilities, resources, and professional education, as the areas of highest concern. The connections of these educational aspects to attaining quality output in physical education have been examined, as active lifestyle development, students’ health improvement, and students’ quality of growth in aspects such as values and attitudes in sport and physical activities, and habits for regular exercise, along with concerns regarding the efficiency of physical education in meeting challenges, such as gender issues, inclusive education, racial challenges, and constraints from religious, traditional and cultural practices cannot be addressed only by reforms in curriculum or the introduction of innovative instruction and assessment in learning. Such understanding turned out to be the core agenda set by sport and physical education professionals at the UNESCO meeting for Quality Physical Education at Porto Novo in 2005.

NASPE (2004)’s standards on Quality Physical Education highlighted the concerns of effective development in curriculum, instruction, assessment, academic learning time and the improvement of supporting aspects, such as facilities, resources, and professional education. The recent debate included the agendas of other aspects in achieving the organization’s goal. For example, in Singapore, the desire to improve the quality development of physical education limited the identification of solutions to staffing issues, the inadequate duration of physical education lessons and class size [5]. In China, quality-improving approaches in physical education have become a mere fantasy, as it is common to have 50 to 60 students in a single class, and 80 students is the norm [6]. The lack of adequate space and equipment in physical education made quality improvements difficult. In Bahrain, traditional barriers and parental disapproval served to discourage girls from participating in physical education lessons, and in the Taiwan region, the cultural bias, facilities, equipment and resources posed challenges to the development of physical education [7]. Sarwar et al. (2010) [8] discussed the development of physical education in the industrial city of Gujranwala in Pakistan, where the major problems regarding physical education development included the lack of funds, space, and facilities and the lack of interest from staff, students and parents. The World Bank 2014 [9] report on educational development in South Asia appeared to provide an understanding of the situation. This report indicated that primary schools were almost fully funded but also warned about the importance of needing to do more to improve the quality of education.

A questionnaire was developed as a strategy for data collection. Physical education teachers and sport professionals from schools and universities were invited to participate in the study. Seven hundred ninety-nine professionals from 11 Asian cities participated in this study (Tables 1 and 2).

Participants completed the measures in English. Although the study participants included only PE professionals working in educational institutions (primary and secondary schools and universities), the items in the questionnaire were written in simple English; therefore, it was assumed that the participants would not find it difficult to understand the exact meaning of the questions. For example, it has been noticed that some countries, such as India, Malaysia, and Israel, have a British colonial heritage that impacts English language knowledge, while others, including the Philippines, have significant American influence. In addition, in the other participating countries, such as Iran and Korea, people understand English at a high level, and a substantial proportion of the population from all ethnic backgrounds speak English well, even if it is not their “native” language.

The second section comprised the participants’ personal demographic information.

Of the total dataset, only .41% was missing cases, and 99.59% of the available data were subjected to statistical analysis. This procedure followed the description suggested by Dempster, Laird and Rubin (1977) [46] regarding missing values at 5%. The data were verified and deemed acceptable for further analysis. Both statistical and empirical techniques were used to select the items. Twenty-four items were subjected to descriptive and frequency analyses (Table 3). Using SPSS 20.00 (IBM), the research team examined the data quality in terms of its frequency distribution and item discrimination. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with maximum likelihood extraction and direct oblimin rotation was adopted to investigate the structure of Quality Physical Education and define a set of factors that accounted for the common variance among the items. These items were subsequently evaluated by their loading on each factor. The second phase of the analysis was conducted to confirm the different subscales and the structure of the 24 items. A reliability analysis (Cronbach’s alpha) was performed to determine the contribution of each item to its respective factor. When items were deemed to be statistically equivalent, the authors were asked to determine which items to retain and place within the appropriate categories to reflect their close conceptual meaning.

The results of the factor analysis indicated that the 20 items listed in the final version of the questionnaire demonstrated sound and good inter-correlation results, as evidenced by the high value (.895) of the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy (MSA) and a significant Bartlett’s test of sphericity. The MSA comprised an index used to quantify the degree of inter-correlation among the items and the appropriateness of the factor analysis [23, 25]. A measure that calculated a value greater than .50 for the entire matrix or an individual variable would indicate the appropriateness of acceptance [51]. Further, all the items with factor loadings greater than .50 were retained. When the pattern matrix (factor and structure matrix were considered because of cross-loading) was considered, three subscales were retained to reflect the conceptual framework [23–24]. These three basic subscales included the Core Values of Quality Physical Education (CVPE), Development of Supportive Elements for Quality Physical Education in School (DSFQPE), Curriculum Arrangement of Physical Activities (CAPA) and Provision and Norms in Physical Education (PNPE) (Fig 2).

In this study, twenty-four items were listed in the questionnaire, and twenty items were extracted following an exploratory factor analysis. Item no. 1 (Physical Education is the most effective means of equipping children with the needed skills, attitudes, values, knowledge), 9 (Health knowledge should be regarded as one of the major areas of learning), 14 (Physical education should be a compulsory subject in school) and 18 (All teachers are qualified to teach physical education) were not retained because of the low factor loadings.

An overarching concern for Quality Physical Education has been the lack of reliable and valid measures of Quality Physical Education in schools. In recent years, research has been conducted to discuss the issue of Quality Physical Education; however, there has been a lack of suitable answers that may best predict the basic elements in the construction of Quality Physical Education and sport programmes for students. The items in this study exhibited high consistency and were regarded by professionals who originated from different backgrounds as essential criteria for the investigation of Quality Physical Education in Asia. These items reflect characteristics regarding the role, overall functions and arrangement of physical education in school settings; the development of educational elements, such as curriculum, instruction, and the internal quality of physical education lessons and after school programmes; and the establishment of supportive features, such as venues, facilities, equipment and environments. The items indicated in the three factors helped to envisage the development of a basic framework for the analytical work of Quality Physical Education in Asian schools and reflected the perception of the basic issues in the development of Quality Physical Education programmes. Nevertheless, these observations require further investigation because of the lack of comparative data. This study was conducted in 11 Asian cities, and many metropolitan cities, such as Tokyo and Beijing, and countries were not included. As a result of the limited sample size, the observations cannot be applied or generalized as common phenomena for Quality Physical Education in Asia. Nevertheless, this study highlights the concerns regarding and the approaches to constructing Quality Physical Education in schools.




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