MCHbest. NPM 8: Physical Activity
Strategy. Homework or Extra Credit for Physical Education Class
Approach. Assign physical activity requirements outside of school for homework or extra credit.
Overview.Research indicates that an intervention where teachers assign physical activity requirements outside the classroom can increase physical activity levels in elementary school children. These interventions sometimes involve parents’ signing-off on their child’s activities in order to promote accountability. The interventions can also include teacher training (e.g., to help develop a curriculum supporting physical activity).1
Evidence. Emerging. Initial research showed positive results for providing homework or extra credit for physical education class to increase physical activity in school children. Further research is needed to identify critical components and confirm effects. This strategy has been tested more than once and results trend positive overall. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).
Target Audience. Schools: elementary school children, teachers, parents.
Outcome. Increase in overall physical activity in elementary school children. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the “Intervention Results” for each study.
Examples from the Field. Access descriptions of ESMs that use this strategy directly or intervention components that aligns with this strategy. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.
Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Assign physical activity requirements outside of school for homework or extra credit,” here are sample ESMs you can use to model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):
Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).
1 Duncan S, Stewart T, McPhee J, Borotkanics R, Prendergast K, Zinn C, Meredith-Jones K, Taylor R, McLachlan C, Schofield G. Efficacy of a compulsory homework programme for increasing physical activity and improving nutrition in children: a cluster randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2019;16(1):80.