Being more active in school lessons can improve performance in tests
16 May 2017 - Sarah Cardwell
Children who take part in lessons which include physical activity show an increase in health-enhancing physical activity and academic performance, according to research carried out by Leeds Beckett University.
A team led by Senior Lecturer Andy Daly-Smith evaluated the impact of Tagtiv8 maths lessons on physical activity and maths performance. Children from a primary school in Leeds were randomly allocated to groups; taking part in either a seated classroom lesson or a Tagitv8 active learning lesson.
The minutes in each lesson spent in sedentary activity and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were assessed using accelerometers. Academic achievement was assessed before and after the lessons using the Maths Addition, Subtraction, Speed and Accuracy Test (MASSAT) and the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT).
Commenting on the results of the tests, Andy Daly-Smith said: “The results showed that pupils who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson achieved over nine minutes more MVPA compared to the traditional classroom lesson and spent 15 minutes less in sedentary time.
“When it came to assessing whether active learning led to better academic outcomes we saw promising results. Overall, there were small improvements for pupils who learnt in an active way. Further, those pupils who were most active in the Tagtiv8 lessons seemed to have the greatest benefits which suggests activity may play a key role in enhancing learning. Additionally, lower ability children, who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson maintained their academic performance whereas pupils in the traditional classroom lesson decreased.
“There is strong evidence to support the implementation of Tagtiv8 lessons to increase physical activity during traditional classroom lesson time. One 45-minute Tagtiv8 lesson can provide children with 10 minutes MVPA which is one third of the 30-minute in school Obesity Plan physical activity recommendation.
“We would now like to seek funding to assess the impact of the Tagtiv8 active learning programme over a school year. It would be great to see if small improvements accumulated over time could lead to substantial improvements in the longer term, especially for those who are most in need.”