Higher education physical activity programs (HEPAP) have existed in U.S. colleges and universities for over 100 years. Initially used to teach physical education and promote physical activity to prepare students for potential wartime conflicts, they have evolved in response to changes in societal and educational purposes and needs. In 2008, SHAPE America published its updated Guidelines for Appropriate Instructional Practice in Higher Education Physical Activity Programs. The guidelines educate professionals about effective physical education for post-secondary students, but knowledge of their use is limited. The purpose of the study was to examine familiarity and adherence to these HEPAP guidelines in U.S. colleges and universities. An electronic survey was developed to assess familiarity and adherence with the guidelines specific to curriculum and instruction. The survey, which included 61-items arranged in pre-existing content areas, was distributed to HEPAP representatives at colleges/universities offering a physical education teaching degree (N=596). 159 participants (26.7%) initiated the survey with 90 (15.1%) providing usable responses. The data were transformed into categorical levels indicating high degrees of overall familiarity (96.7% full or partially familiar) and adherence (99% full or partially adherent). Significant associations between Administration/Support and location (SHAPE America district) (χ² (10, n=71) = 23.98, p= .008) and Assessment and location (χ² (10, n=90) =19.39, p=.036) were observed. College physical education programs have been called on to provide students opportunities to develop an appreciation for, and increased participation in, lifetime physical activity. While overall adherence to the guidelines appears high, there is room for improvement in selected areas.
Key words: Program evaluation, college physical activity program, college students.
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