Exercise Improves Kids’ Academics

From the “I Told You So Department” comes this article and studies:
Exercise Improves Kids’ Academics, by Dan Peterson, LiveScience’s Sports Columnist

I’ll let the article mostly speak for itself but will post this one telling quote:

“Ironically, one of the solutions proposed for raising test scores, the federal No Child Left Behind program, encourages schools to focus more of the school day on the core academic subjects while reducing class time in peripheral subjects, like art, music, and physical education. In fact, only 6 percent of American high schools offer a daily gym class. Yet a 2002 Virginia Tech study showed no relationship between reduced class time in those subjects and higher overall standardized tests.”

Learning is messy!

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4 thoughts on “Exercise Improves Kids’ Academics

  1. A slight nit-pick here – if someone were to read just your blog entry, and not the linked article, the title could be seen as very misleading.

    The quotation you picked that you’re using to illustrate the point just says that there is no correlation between improved scores and reduced class time in peripheral subjects. Going from that to “exercise improves kids’ academics” is a huge (and fallacious) leap.

    On the other hand, I ended up reading the linked article just to make sure it was on point . . . (and I’m surprised to see someone actually using Flock!)

  2. Ernie – I used the title of the article as my title. Wasn’t trying to be misleading. Actually the point I think it helps make is that these last 8 years when we have cut PE and so forth to raise academics was a mistake like some of us said all along.

  3. I understand why you used the title you did, it just threw me for a bit when I read the quotation you picked.

    The study quoted doesn’t show that all these cuts to peripheral subjects to increase classroom time were a mistake, just that they haven’t helped scores. If it were a mistake, the study would have to show that scores went down, or that there were other drawbacks to not offering these “peripheral subjects.”

    The rest of the article goes on to point out the advantages of exercise (better attention, correlation between fitness and test scores, etc). Even the last set of studies doesn’t necessarily imply exercise is beneficial. The correlation examined is between fitness (not exercise) and test scores. While exercise is probably beneficial, it might just be that there’s something genetic that results in people being more fit, and that correlating to higher test scores. I’m grabbing at straws a bit to make my point . . .

    So again, not quite exercise, but getting there. All that being said, I do think that the peripheral subjects are beneficial. Anecdotally, I think we can all find examples of where gym classes help with attention, music classes have helped with math, art has provided beneficial outlets, etc etc. I’m a firm believe that while test scores and accountability are important, schools provide more than the three R’s . . .