The impact of physical growth and relative age effect on assessment in physical education
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Sport Science. 2016, . http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2016.1268651
Physical education (PE) is perhaps the school subject most likely to produce relative age effects (RAE). Like in sports, physical maturity gives students an advantage in PE, which might well be mistaken for superior ability. The aim of the present study is to investigate the extent to which physical growth, measured as height, and RAE reflect the assessment in Norwegian PE. Furthermore, we wanted to examine whether there is any gender differences in the assessment in PE as a function of physical growth and RAE. The participants (n = 2978) were pupils in the last three years of secondary school (13–16 years old). A custom-made questionnaire was designed to collect the necessary data. The correlations between height and mark in PE for boys in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades are respectively r = 0.14, r = 0.32, and r = 0.29. For girls, the correlations are r = 0.11, r = 0.33, and r = 0.21. All correlations are significant (p < .05). The number of pupils achieving top marks was 114 in the first half of the year, whereas it was 65 in the second half of the year. The present study showed that physical growth has an impact on the pupils’ PE attainment. The physical growth is of course also mediated by the pupils’ age. RAEs were found in PE attainments also in the Norwegian school system for both genders, despite all the intentions expressed in the PE curriculum.