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Achieving Positive Outcomes from Fitness Testing in Physical Education

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, February 29, 2020
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Physical fitness testing is commonplace within physical education (PE) with advocates claiming testing to contribute to the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles, and learning about health, fitness and physical activity. Yet, there is little evidence to suggest that fitness testing positively influences either of these. Indeed, to the contrary, it has been reported that fitness testing can be counterproductive in that it can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and even shaming for many young people, and thus potentially have negative consequences for their health and wellbeing. However, there is still very much a dearth of research on the impact of fitness testing on young people and in particular on aspects such as body image, self-esteem, attitudes and behaviours. Further, the reality is that fitness testing will remain a popular component of PE for many reasons, not least because it is easy to administer, convenient, familiar and so historically rooted.

Given this, it is considered imperative that: i) teachers are supported in implementing inclusive, educational, and good pedagogical practice in this area; and ii) we gather evidence on the impact of current curriculum fitness testing practice versus revised alternative approaches. This research will therefore aim to generate new knowledge related to the impact of current fitness testing practice on young people; support PE teachers in adopting new educational approaches to testing; and determine the impact of these revised approaches. It is anticipated that it will draw on a mixed method approach (with qualitative methods providing exploratory and contextual understandings to complement the quantitative methods) to address the following research questions:

• How do teachers and young people perceive, and experience fitness testing within PE?
• What impact does current fitness testing practice have on young people?
• What do teachers and young people envisage and/or want from alternative approaches to fitness testing?
• In what ways do alternative approaches to fitness testing impact on young people?

Entry requirements

An undergraduate Honours degree with a minimum classification of a 2.1, or equivalent, in a relevant subject for the PhD project.

How to apply

All applications should be made online:

Under school/department name, select 'Sport Exercise and Health Sciences'. Please quote reference SSEHS/LAC/2.

The deadline for applications is 29 February 2020.

Start date: April, July or October 2020

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