One Voice Illinois

Enhanced PE Frequently Asked Questions

We recently covered how the new Illinois Enhanced Physical Education (PE) Standards are leading the nation in focusing on improved fitness in children as a way to increase academic achievement. While the standards don’t take effect until next school year, school districts are developing their programs, policies, and curricula now. Here are six frequently asked questions about Enhanced PE and how you can be involved.

What is Enhanced PE?
The Center for Disease Control’s Guide to Community Preventive Services explains that Enhanced PE involves making classes longer or having students be more active during existing classes to increase the amount of time students spend doing moderate to vigorous physical activity.

How is Enhanced PE different from regular PE?
Regular PE generally emphasized the skills and rules to play team games, focused on competition, and often had periods of time where some students were primarily standing and watching. Enhanced PE focuses on:

The Illinois Enhance PE Task Force final report provided a summary page that includes more changes with Enhanced PE.

If students are spending more time in PE class with Enhanced PE, won’t that hurt learning in other classes?
Longer PE classes are only one way to implement Enhanced PE; it can also be implemented by changing the PE curriculum to increase student activity and minimize “downtime” or by including “Brain Breaks” that integrate physical activity throughout the school day. The research-based benefits of Enhanced PE suggest that there will be an increase student learning even if there is a decrease in instruction time.

What are the benefits of Enhanced PE?
There are numerous studies that show that increased physical activity results in students having improved attention, enhanced coping ability, less fidgeting, and improved working memory as well as other effects that enhance academic achievement. Students with higher activity levels also report more satisfaction with life and have higher attendance rates as well.

What can I or my PTA do to support Enhanced PE at my child’s school?

What resources are available on Enhanced PE?