Every piece of a child’s education is important and helps to build strong, well-rounded individuals. National standards and broad participation in physical education programs are extremely important when determining the most beneficial curriculum for today’s youth. Analysis tools such as the PECAT and the HECAT can help schools districts and schools conduct comprehensive and measurable reviews of their current physical education programs, and whether they need to make any adjustments, or seek out help.
What is the PECAT?
The Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT) was developed by the CDC in order to provide school districts and schools with a resource to conduct a comprehensive and consistent self-assessment and planning guide for their physical education curricula. Before implementation, this analysis tool was field tested extensively to ensure that it met its goals as a tool that provided support to the educational community. Although created by the CDC, the PECAT tool is specifically designed to function as self-assessment tool, and not a research tool.
By conducting a PECAT review, school districts and individual schools can rate their programs and identify what’s working—and what’s not. The PECAT incorporates national standards that help set a baseline for physical education. In turn, this helps educators ensure all students have a good foundation as they move through their grade levels.
The PECAT assesses the following aspects of a school district or school’s physical education program:
- To what extent current curricula align with national standards
- The content and student assessment components that correspond with standards for each respective grade level
- How school districts and schools can make necessary changes based on items identified through the PECAT analysis
The PECAT is best used by assigning a committee or team to the task of performing the assessment. This allows multiple members of the educational community to have their voice heard. Including teachers, administrators, students, school health nurses, members of the district council, and parents into the conversation provides a breadth of viewpoint that can be helpful in conducting a truly comprehensive review.
Is the PECAT Expensive?
The PECAT itself is free of charge. When it comes to the cost of assessment and implementation, time is the most important resource to consider when conducting the PECAT. Dedicating committee members, conducting the assessment, and implementing the necessary changes requires strong dedication and leadership. The payoff of knowing that national standards are upheld and your physical education program is well-rounded is very much worth the added effort. The PECAT can take as little as a short six hours from start to finish, or more depending on the availability of committee members and the amount of time needed to collect all applicable information.
It is important to note that PECAT results are not reported to the CDC. This tool is for self-assessment only, and is not meant as an information-gathering exercise for outside agencies. Online scores are strictly private.
Where to find the PECAT
The PECAT can be found online, or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO directly. Benefits of the interactive online version include:
- Additional guidance through each step
- Ability to save your responses along the way
- Automatic calculation of module scores
- Ability to archive previous versions for future use
- Ability to print and share scorecards and results
The PECAT is a free, interactive, field-tested tool that is meant to help every physical education contributor construct a comprehensive and beneficial physical education curriculum for each particular age group. This self-assessment tool is a great way to ensure that your physical education programs meet national standards, remain relevant in today’s world, and provide each age group with an enriching physical education that will set them up for a lifetime of physical fitness.
If you use SPARK Physical Education curriculum, SPARK has done some of the PECAT work for you: