Oregon Department of Education

Physical Education - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Physical Education

Frequently Asked 

Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about physical education instruction below.

1. By law, is there a required amount of time that elementary and middle school students are to receive physical education instruction?

Currently, there is not a required amount of physical education minutes for elementary and middle school students. However, in 2007 the legislature passed law that requires by 2017-18, all public school students in Kindergarten through grade 8 to participate in physical education for the entire school year. Students in grade kindergarten through grade 5 shall participate in physical education for at least 150 minutes during each school week and students in grades 6-8 shall participate in physical education for at least 225 minutes during each school week. . School districts are, however, to provide a planned K-12 instructional program including all Common Curriculum Goals and academic content standards in physical education as described by OAR 581-022-1210. The time allotted should be reasonable to include instruction in Physical Education Common Curriculum Goals and Content Standards.

2. Do professional organizations recommend a specific amount of time for physical education instruction?

Yes, national organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine recommend 150 minutes of physical education each week for children in elementary school and 225 minutes per week for middle school and high school. At least 50 percent of class time should be spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. The report, Promoting Better Health for Young People through Physical Activity and Sports (CDC, 2001) (http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/publications/index.htm), recommends daily physical education for all students and daily recess for all elementary student .

3. Are there any recommendations concerning the amount of time students should be engaged in physical activity?

Yes, the Surgeon General of the United States recommends children should engage in 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week, yet estimates show that only 3.8 percent of elementary schools provide daily physical education (PE). (http://www.activelivingresearch.org/files/Active_Ed_Summer2009.pdf) The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends all children age 2 and older should participate in at least 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied. They also recommend children perform at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity at least 3-4 days each week to achieve and maintain a good level of cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) fitness (http://www.americanheart.org).

4. What are Oregon's graduation requirements in physical education?

Students are required to have one credit of physical education to graduate. One "Unit of Credit" is defined as: "Certification of a student's successful completion of classroom or equivalent work (e.g., independent study, work experience, research) in a course of at least 130 clock hours," OAR 581-022-0102.

5. Must elementary physical education be instructed by a physical education specialist?

No, classroom teachers may teach elementary physical education.

6. Must middle school physical education be instructed by a teacher with a physical education endorsement?

Under new licensure, effective 1999, Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) provides a "specialty subject endorsement". Under this new licensure, middle school physical education must be taught by a teacher holding an initial license with a physical education, specialty subject endorsement. However, if a teacher holds a Basic teaching license with an elementary endorsement, he/she can teach physical education for an equivalent of .5 FTE.

7. Must high school physical education be instructed by a teacher with a physical education endorsement?

Yes. However, a teacher whose endorsement is not in physical education may teach physical education up to 10 hours per week.

8. I understand districts set the performance standard in physical education. May they also choose the format of the assessment?

Yes. The district may choose the format in which students demonstrate they meet the district performance standard. Assessments in physical education could include written tests, fitness logs maintained during classroom instruction, performance assessments, videotape of a student participating in a physical activity or other district developed or adopted assessment.

9. May non-classroom instruction give a student the opportunity to meet a part of the district's performance standard in physical education?

Yes, if a school district has adopted policies to do so, a district may choose to allow a student to use non-classroom experience to meet the district's established performance standards. For example, a student, who is part of a club sports team, may provide evidence (e.g., videotape) to the district demonstrating the student meets a part of the Expressive and Efficient Moving aspect of the district performance standards or a district may collaborate with the private party to support a student to meet the district performance standards. However, the student may need classroom instruction in Fitness for Lifetime, and Self-Management and Social Behavior in order to have the opportunity to meet the entire district performance standard.

10. Can a district waive required instruction in physical education for students on Individual Education Plans (IEPs)?

Instruction for students with disabilities cannot automatically be waived; rather the IEP Team will determine the instructional program and level of participation.

  • Suzanne Hidde Email    (503) 947-5960
    Standards and Instructional Support - Education Program Specialist