Physical activity in lessons makes 'no difference' to attainment

12th June 2015 at 00:01
picture of pupils in PE

Introducing short bursts of physical activity into lessons to improve learning makes no difference to attainment, research suggests.

A University of Bristol study for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) finds that literacy and numeracy attainment failed to improve among the children taking part in a US programme called Physically Active Lessons.

While the EEF said further trials were necessary, initial findings showed that evidence for the benefits of vigorous activity during lessons was “weak and mixed”. The tests did suggest, however, that girls might benefit more than boys.

“Existing research suggests that incorporating moderate to vigorous activity into classroom lessons can improve academic achievement; however, the evidence for this is weak and mixed. How such a programme might work to improvement academic outcomes for children is also not well understood,” the report says.

The EEF also published findings on a project aiming to get pupils to adopt a “growth mindset” instead of believing that talent is innate. Pupils taking part improved their attainment, but the foundation called for further research to explore the findings.

“Pupils who received the growth mindset workshops made an average of two additional months’ progress in English and maths,” the report says. “These findings were not statistically significant, which means that we cannot be confident that they did not occur by chance. However, the finding for English was close to statistical significance, and this suggests evidence of promise.”


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