Whole school physical activity (PA) programming provides additional PA opportunities at school beyond Physical Education. Physical Educators often absorb the additional responsibilities of leading such programs, resulting in some Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs adopting expanded PA programming and integrating related topics into their curriculum. The Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) is of interest to the present study as it focuses on Quality Physical Education and is the model utilized at the institution of interest.
Arizona State University’s PETE program began integrating CSPAP concepts in 2009 and serves as the focal program for this study. The purpose of this study, which was informed by The Diffusion of Innovations and the Teacher Socialization Theories, was to determine the degree to which graduates integrate PA programming into their own K-12 schools. In a two-phase (electronic survey followed by campus visit and interview with sub-sample), mixed methods’ approach, 101 graduates (between the years of 2000-2019) of Arizona State University’s PETE program provided details of their current practices related to expanded PA.
Results: Quantitative findings included weak but positive relationships between year of graduation and knowledge of CSPAP and having positive perceptions of expanded PA as an innovation. Bachelors’ graduates reported higher PA integration than Masters’ graduates. Visual inspection of data shows a slight increase in perceptions of expanded PA as an innovation and a slight decrease in PA programming integration across years of graduation. Interviews provided evidence that more recent graduates may still be figuring out their roles, delaying their PA program. Increased perceptions scores suggest the PETE program at ASU has been successful in providing students positive interactions with expanded PA programming. Graduates indicated they felt well prepared with strategies and resources for promoting and maintaining such programs, but they noted a need for more exposure to tools for initiating a new program. Findings can inform changes in the ASU PETE program and may be applicable in other settings. Establishing ongoing contact with graduates to provide marketing and support tools graduates can access may be beneficial as teachers often realize the need for these materials well beyond graduation.