• Introduction

    Physical education is an academic discipline that provides content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge and behaviors for physical activity and physical fitness. The goal of physical education is to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Physical literacy is defined by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators as, “the ability to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.” To pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity, a physically literate individual:

    • Has learned the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities.

    • Knows the implications and the benefits of involvement in various types of physical activities.

    • Participates regularly in physical activity.

    • Is physically fit.

    • Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle.

    Physical education programs in schools play an important role in educating the whole child and is proven to be part of a “wellrounded” educational experience (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). Physical education programs provide all students access to a standards-based sequence of learning, which promotes health and physical literacy, as well as the motivation to engage in the health-enhancing physical activity, needed to achieve and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. The South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Standards for Physical Education Proficiency 2021 contained in this document and their accompanying indicators give physical educators a framework for producing physically literate individuals and setting students on a path to enjoy a lifetime of physical activity. The five standard statements included are informed by the current National Standards for K-12 Physical Education, which were published in 2013 by SHAPE America Society of Health and Physical Educators. These standards and indicators are written to clarify and define a standards progression in user-friendly language that learners can easily interpret. The indicators help motivate learning by showing how to set achievable goals, self-assess, and chart progress by using “I can” statements. These statements support performance-based instruction that leads to increasing levels of proficiency.  


    Standard 1 The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns. (Psychomotor Domain). The intent of this standard is the development of the motor skills needed to enjoy participation in a variety of physical activities. Fundamental motor skills and movement concepts provide a foundation for continued motor skill acquisition. This movement foundation gives students the capacity for successful and advanced levels of performance that furthers the likelihood of daily participation in physical activity. In the primary years, students develop maturity and versatility in the use of fundamental motor skills (e.g., jumping, skipping, throwing, striking) that are further refined, combined, and varied during the middle school years. These motor skills, now having evolved into specialized skills (e.g., chest pass, penalty kick, jump shot, lob, clear), are used in increasingly complex and dynamic environments throughout the middle school years. As high school students develop competence and confidence, activities are selected for regular participation within which more advanced skills are mastered. While moving into adulthood, students acquire the skills to enjoy a lifetime of physical activity.

    Standard 2 The physically literate individual demonstrates knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics related to movement and performance. (Cognitive Domain) The intent of this standard is for students to gain knowledge related to motor skill-acquisition and performance. This knowledge enhances students’ abilities to apply concepts from disciplines such as motor learning and development, biomechanics and exercise physiology, and sport psychology and sociology. For example, this includes increasing force production through the summation of forces, understanding the principle of specificity of training, and knowing the effects of anxiety on performance. Knowledge of these concepts and principles, and how to apply them, enhances the likelihood of independent learning. In the elementary grades, emphasis is placed on establishing a movement vocabulary and applying introductory concepts. In the middle school years, students apply motor skills and concepts in varying and dynamic environments. Students have the opportunity to become more sophisticated game players due to the emphasis on tactics and strategies. In high school, students analyze motor skill performance and apply previously learned information to the acquisition of new motor skills. Students can also design and implement a personal fitness plan based on collected health-related fitness data.

    Standard 3 The physically literate individual achieves and maintains a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness. (Psychomotor Domain) The intent of this standard is for students to develop the ability to sustain moderate to vigorous activity levels through regular participation in meaningful physical activity. In the elementary grades, the emphasis is on an awareness of fitness components and having fun while participating in health-enhancing activities that promote physical fitness. In middle school, students develop an interest in a variety of physical activities, choose to participate in activities of interest, and achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of fitness. High school students achieve and maintain health-related fitness standards as a result of implementing long–term fitness plans based on frequency, intensity, time and type (FITT) training principles.

    Standard 4 The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others in physical activity settings. (Affective Domain) The intent of this standard is the achievement of self-regulated behaviors that promote personal and group success in a physically active environment. These include safe practices, adherence to rules and procedures, etiquette, cooperation and teamwork, ethical behavior, and positive social interaction. Students develop respect for individual similarities and differences through positive interaction among participants in physical activity settings. In the elementary grades, students learn to work independently and cooperatively with others, apply classroom and activity specific rules, and take responsibility and participate willingly in physical activities. In middle school, the focus is on the ability to cooperate and work with others to accomplish group goals in both cooperative and competitive settings. High school students demonstrate leadership by initiating responsible behavior that has a positive influence on others. Students begin to become more self-directed and recognize the value of making physical activity a part of their lifestyles.

    Standard 5 The physically literate individual demonstrates awareness that physical activity provides the opportunity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction. (Affective Domain) The intent of this standard is the development of an awareness of the benefits that result from being physically active. Physical activity provides opportunities for self-expression and social interaction. Participation in physical activities can be fun, enjoyable, challenging, and health enhancing. These benefits develop self-confidence and promote a positive self-image. Elementary students learn that regular participation and practice contribute to successful performance that leads to increased enjoyment. In middle school, students gain an awareness of the benefits provided from specific activities. Students seek and explore physical activities that facilitate personal growth, challenge, enjoyment and/or interaction with peers. Participation at the high school level continues to provide personal growth, challenge, enjoyment and opportunities for social interaction. Benefits gained from participation in physical activities promote the pursuit of life-long activities that meet an individual’s needs.