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Public Disclosure to Improve Physical Education in an Urban School District: Results From a 2-Year Quasi-Experimental Study.



Many elementary schools have policies requiring a minimum amount of physical education (PE). However, few schools comply with local/state PE policy and little is known about how to improve adherence. We evaluated changes in PE among fifth-grade classes, following participatory action research efforts to improve PE quantity and policy compliance that focused on publically disclosing PE data.


Data were collected in 20 San Francisco public elementary schools in spring 2011 and 2013. PE schedules were collected and PE classes were directly observed (2011, N = 30 teachers; 2013, N = 33 teachers). Data on the proportion of schools meeting state PE mandates in 2011 were shared within the school district and disclosed to the general public in 2012.


From 2011 to 2013, PE increased by 11 minutes/week based on teachers' schedules (95% CI: 3.0, 19.6) and by 14 minutes/week (95% CI: 1.9, 26.0) based on observations. The proportion of schools meeting the state PE mandate increased from 20% to 30% (p = .27).


Positive changes in PE were seen over a 2-year period following the public disclosure of data that highlighted poor PE policy compliance. Public disclosure could be a method for ensuring greater PE policy adherence.

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