The Adapted Physical Education National Standards Project has two ongoing primary objectives:
- To define and maintain a body of knowledge based upon what practicing Adapted Physical Education teachers are actually doing in their jobs.
- To develop and maintain the national certifying exam that denotes the skills and knowledge APE teachers need to practice Adapted Physical Education.
The determination of current roles, responsibilities and perceived needs of practicing adapted physical educators required: a) the creation of an appropriate tool to collect this information; and b) the identification of a representative sample of practitioners to supply the needed information.
The first step in the job analysis was to review previous needs assessment instruments that had been used in the profession and to solicit input from the Executive and Steering Committees. With this information, the project staff developed and field tested a survey.
The second task was to identify a representative sample of practitioners to receive the survey. Since it was essential that the job analysis be completed by teachers who were actually practicing adapted physical educators, it was ultimately decided to identify exemplary K-12 adapted physical educators in each state and then to use this group as the sample. A stratified sampling plan was developed. This process resulted in a total sample size of 585 with each state contributing a weighted number of subjects based upon the population of the state. Two states were unable to produce the requested number resulting in the final sample size of 575.
These results were reviewed by the Steering Committee and divided into 15 broad areas. The members of the Steering Committee were then assigned 2-3 of these areas for which they were responsible for delineating the content with their individual Standards Committees. The 15 areas of specialized knowledge are shown below.
- Human Development
- Motor Behavior
- Exercise Science
- Measurement and Evaluation
- History and Philosophy
- Unique Attributes of Learners
- Curriculum Theory & Development
- Instructional Design & Planning
- Consultation & Staff Development
- Student and Program Evaluation
- Continuing Education
The content in each standard area was divided into five levels as shown in the example below:
- Level 1: Standard Number and Name (e.g., 2. Motor Behavior)
- Level 2: Major components of the Standard (e.g., Theories of Motor Development, Principles of Motor Learning, etc.)
- Level 3: Sub-components, dependent pieces of knowledge of fact or principle related to the major component that all regular educators would be expected to know (e.g., stages of learning, knowledge of types of feedback, etc.)
- Level 4: Adapted Physical Education content - additional knowledge regarding the sub components that teachers working with individuals with disabilities need to know (e.g., common delays in development experienced by individuals with severe visual impairments)
- Level 5: Application of adapted physical education content knowledge from (level 4) to teaching individuals with disabilities (e.g., can identify and interpret motor performance delays in children with disabilities)
The first three levels of each standard represent content that should be known by all physical educators. These levels were developed by the Steering Committee and reviewed and validated by the Standards Committees. The level 4 content represents the additional content adapted physical educators need to know to meet the roles and responsibilities of their positions. Level 5 contains example applications of the level 4 content that adapted physical educators would be expected to be able to demonstrate.
The majority of the work during year two of the project was devoted to delineating and validating the level 4 and level 5 content for each standard. The following process was used to create and validate the content:
- The Steering Committee members developed an example for each of their standards illustrating the five levels of content. The Steering Committee members then provided their Standards Committee members with the first three levels of the standard and an example of how to delineate the specific content they were being assigned to develop.
- The Standards Committee members delineated the content they were assigned and returned this information to their Chair. Each Chair then edited and compiled the results into a draft document which was submitted to the Project Director.
- The Project Staff entered the draft standard content into a database and produced an Evaluation and Review Committee (ERC) evaluation instrument. The typical ERC instrument was 8-10 pages in length and contained 50-60 content items to be evaluated. For some of the larger standards, the content was divided into two or more ERC instruments to keep the amount of content reviewed in any given evaluation reasonable.
- The Project Staff randomly drew a sample of 30 ERC members from the database of 300+ and sent them the ERC instrument. When the ERC instruments were returned, the project staff entered the ERC ratings into a Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) data file. Summary statistics were computed and entered into the database for each content item. A summary statistics report was generated and sent to the appropriate member of the Steering Committee.
- The Steering Committee members reviewed the summary statistics for their standards and decided what revisions were warranted. This information was sent to the Standard Committee members with the request to revise and/or expand the content as indicated by the evaluation data.
- The above process was repeated for the level 4 and 5 content of each standard until the Steering Committee as a group agreed it was acceptable. At this time, the Steering Committee identified and defined any terms they felt should be included in the Glossary.