NASPE Sets the Standard 35 Years of National Leadership in Sport and Physical Education: Throughout Its History, NASPE Has Served as a National Leader in Advocacy, Policy Development, and Best Practices

Article excerpt

In 2004, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) launched its tagline "NASPE Sets the Standard," a fitting tribute to the organization's decades-long development of national standards for physical education and the preparation of physical education teachers, coaches, and sport management and exercise science professionals. With 17,000 members, NASPE is the largest of the five national associations of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and comprises six Academy Committees (Biomechanics; Curriculum and Instruction; Exercise Physiology; Motor Development and Learning; Sport and Exercise Psychology; and Sport History, Philosophy, and Sociology).

Since its founding in 1974, NASPE has been recognized as a leading advocate for federal legislation promoting daily, school-based physical education and funding for youth sport programs. In the 2006-2008 Strategic Plan (NASPE, 2006b), NASPE board members identified seven major goals that emphasize professional development and the promotion of "best practices" critical to the achievement of NASPE's national goal of a physically educated, physically active society. Among the organization's most important accomplishments, however, has been the establishment of national standards for sport and physical education and its involvement with the four accreditation programs that implement these standards (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education [NCATE], National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education [NCACE], Sport Management Program Review Council/Commission on Sport Management Accreditation [SMPRC/COSMA], and Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences [CoAES]).

Physical Education Program Standards

In 1986 an "Outcomes Committee" was formed and charged with two tasks: (1) to define the "physically educated student" and (2) to design grade-specific competencies in preparing the physically educated student (NASPE, 1992b). The committee accomplished the first task, but rejected the development of a circumscribed national curriculum that prevented flexibility by professionals. Outcomes of Quality Physical Education Programs (NASPE, 1992b) became the first NASPE publication to identify benchmarks of a physically educated person with its 20 "outcomes" statements.

Soon after, Moving into the Future: National Standards for Physical Education (NASPE, 1995b) was published in response to the passage the year before of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the development of a national commitment to educational standards. This first edition contained seven content standards that described what "a student should know and be able to do as a result of a quality physical education program" (p. viii) and performance standards that linked the document to the growing interest in assessment. In the second edition (NASPE, 2004), the number of standards was reduced to six, minimizing the earlier emphasis on motor skills and increasing the emphasis on physical activity. Assessment measures were excluded from the second edition due to the increased availability of assessment tools developed by other scholars and practitioners. With the recent publication of PE Metrics: Assessing the National Standards (NASPE/NCATE, 2008), physical educators have "valid and reliable standards-based assessments and rubrics to measure student achievement of the national standards by high school graduation and appropriate progress at three other grade-level ranges" (p. 2).

Physical Education Teacher Education Standards

In 1983, the College and University Physical Education Council (CUPEC) convened a task force to develop guidelines for the initial certification of physical education teachers. The 23 guidelines were approved by NASPE at the 1985 AAHPERD National Convention and by NCATE in 1986 (Butler, 2006). They became effective in 1987 and were revised in 1989 and 1992 (NASPE, 1987b, 1989, 1992a). …