The Role of Physical FITNESS and Physical ACTIVITY on Academic Achievement Among Eighth Grade Students in Alabama

Date of Award

Summer 2015




Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


The purpose of this correlational study was to determine the extent of the relationship between physical fitness, body composition, physical activity, and academic achievement. School leaders have justified the reduced time for physical activity and physical education as they take away from classroom instruction time; yet, national assessment outcomes have indicated the condition of education in America has failed to measurably improve student achievement. An additional public health concern, increased sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy-weight conditions have significantly increased in the past 30 years among American children and adolescents. The researcher incorporated a quantitative design to examine these relationships in an eighth-grade student sample (N=48) from a high school in Alabama. Within this study, there were two dependent variables, math and reading ACT Explore scores, and three independent variables, physical fitness results, BMI category, and Physical Activity levels. Data were analyzed using Path Analysis and MANOVA. Results of the path analysis showed R2MATH = .08; F8,25 = .268, p = .971 and R2READING = .21; F8,25 = .85, p = .568. The effects of CV fitness, flexibility, AB strength, muscular strength, PA, and PAQ-A were not statistically significant in the model. Results stemming from the one-way MANOVA allowed the researcher to determine there was no statistical difference between the three BMI group means on the combination of dependent variables. Results from the PAQ-A were statistically significant to physical activity levels measured by the accelerometer. Based on these results, the researcher was able to substantiate research findings stating the PAQ-A has been shown to exhibit consistent validity among objective physical activity measures, such as the ActiGraph accelerometer.

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