National Curriculum for Physical Education in the United States

Junghwan Oh, Kim C. Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the publication of A Nation at Risk, some scholars have argued that a national curriculum and national testing are necessary to hold school personnel accountable for student achievement and, ultimately, to raise educational standards. The idea of developing a nationwide curriculum has been widely debated in the United States, where the traditions of local control and state responsibility are dominant. Thus, this article examines the relevance and feasibility of a uniform curriculum in physical education. A core curriculum for physical education has the potential to provide clear goals, coherent instructional guidelines, and relevant assessments aligned with designated program outcomes. A more advanced curricula framework with clear guidance for P-12 curricula and pedagogical practices could promote system-wide changes in school-based physical education. In contrast, the adoption of an overly rigid national curriculum would create a stifling educational context where cultural differences and local flexibility are not allowed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-235
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


  • Curriculum reform
  • national curriculum
  • national standards
  • physical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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