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Recess, physical education, and elementary school student outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Dills, Angela K.
  • Morgan, Hillary N.
  • Rotthoff, Kurt W.

Abstract

Today's children experience a decreased amount of time at recess and fewer physical education (PE) classes throughout the school day. Breaks for physical activity limit class time for academics, potentially reducing learning. However, breaks may improve alertness and achievement. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999, we evaluate how recess and PE in elementary school influence children's learning. We find no statistically significant or economically significant impacts of weekly recess or PE time on student learning for kindergarteners through fifth graders. For example, in kindergarten, adding an hour a week of recess reduces the average test score gain in reading by a statistically insignificant 0.01 standard deviations. An additional 49Â min per week of PE in kindergarten improves reading test score gains by a statistically insignificant 0.05 standard deviations. We find no statistical difference in the male and female students' response to recess and PE. Evidence suggests that recess and PE do not harm student outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Dills, Angela K. & Morgan, Hillary N. & Rotthoff, Kurt W., 2011. "Recess, physical education, and elementary school student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 889-900, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:889-900
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Cawley & Chad Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2007. "The impact of state physical education requirements on youth physical activity and overweight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1287-1301.
    2. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
    3. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    4. DeCicca, Philip, 2007. "Does full-day kindergarten matter? Evidence from the first two years of schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 67-82, February.
    5. Fitzpatrick, Maria D. & Grissmer, David & Hastedt, Sarah, 2011. "What a difference a day makes: Estimating daily learning gains during kindergarten and first grade using a natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 269-279, April.
    6. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cawley, John & Frisvold, David & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2013. "The impact of physical education on obesity among elementary school children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 743-755.
    2. Cuffe, H.E. & Harbaugh, W.T. & Lindo, J.M. & Musto, G. & Waddell, G.R., 2012. "Evidence on the efficacy of school-based incentives for healthy living," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1028-1036.
    3. Felfe, Christina & Lechner, Michael & Steinmayr, Andreas, 2011. "Sport and Child Development," Economics Working Paper Series 1135, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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