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  1. 1. Running head: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 1 Correlational Study of Physical Activity and Academic Success Sydney Meyers, Kyle Sulzman, and Zane Willard The University of Tampa
  2. 2. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 2 Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine how physical activity performed during the week may have an impact on the grade point average of undergraduate college students. We developed a survey and had it distributed using Google Forms ©, and featured questions about demographics, physical activity, grade point average, athletic history, and academic history. We then analyzed the data using Microsoft Excel ©, and correlation values were determined to find whether or not there was a relationship between hours per day of exercise and grade point average. It was also tested to see if there was a relationship between days per week of exercise and grade point average, as well. After analyzing both possibilities positive relationships were found, however the R-values were so small that there was no relationship between the two. After, reexamination of the process developed to collect and analyze this data, it was found that several corrections could be made in order to produce a more accurate outcome.
  3. 3. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 3 Research Question What is the correlation between grade point average and physical activity among college students? Introduction Many different studies were created to find a correlation between physical activity and academics of students. Certain studies were performed on students of different ages and from different locations. Based on other studies, most researchers have found some correlation between physical activity and academic achievement of students, depending on the background of the students being researched. One research study was done on students in third through eighth grade from a Mississippi school district (Blom, L. C., Alvarez, J., Zhang, L., & Kolbo, J., 2011). The purpose of this specific research was to find any correlation between the students’ physical activity and test scores (Blom ​et al, 2011). To collect data for the research, the students participated in fitness tests within their gym classes (Blom ​et al, 2011). The teachers tested their students’ physical fitness by having them participate in activities such as running, sit-ups, and curl-ups (Blom ​et al​ , 2011). This data was entered into a Fitnessgram software to later be compared to the students test scores from the Mississippi Curriculum Test, a state test taken by students each year (Blom ​et al, 2011). The students with better physical fitness had higher test scores than those who were not a physically fit (Blom ​et al, 2011). The results of this research showed that there was a direct positive correlation, with a p value less than 0.0001, between the students’ physical fitness and academic achievement (Blom ​et al, 2011).
  4. 4. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 4 A different research study was conducted at a university to test the same research question, but with another method. Researchers at the University of Texas created an experimental study to find a connection between the students’ grade point average and their average amount physical activity (Mull, H., & Tietjen-Smith, T., 2014). A survey consisting of questions about “academic performance, basic demographics, exercise routines, family life, importance of education…and social/emotional well-being” was given to a control and experimental group to collect data (Mull ​et al, 2014). T-tests were then used to compare the data to show that the students who participated in regular physical activity had an overall higher grade point average (Mull ​et al, 2014). The results of this study are similar to those of the previously mentioned research study. Survey research was performed in the Midwest to compare students’ physical activity and nutrition to their academic success (Edwards, J. U., Mauch, L., & Winkelman, M. R. , 2011). Eight-hundred sixth grade students completed the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, which asks about physical activities and nutrition (Edwards ​et al, 2011). Students were then asked to participate in fitness tests within their gym classes, while the teachers collected data for the research (Edwards ​et al, 2011). Measures of Academic Progress tests were taken by students on a regular basis, and the scores from these tests were used to compare to the students’ physical activity and fitness data (Edwards ​et al, 2011). The results of this research confirmed that students with higher test scores were associated with more physical activity and were healthier (Edwards ​et al, 2011). An experimental study was conducted Sweden to also find the relationship between physical activity and academic excellence. Five-hundred and forty-five students from elementary
  5. 5. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 5 schools in Sweden were chosen to participate in this research (Bunketorp Käll, L., Malmgren, H., Olsson, E., Lindén, T., & Nilsson, M., 2015). A portion of this group of students were enrolled in a school which had a new physical activity program for students; while the rest of the students were chosen from a school that did not have this program (Bunketorp, 2015). A test called KIDSCREEN was used to test the students’ physical fitness (Bunketorp ​et al, 2015). Each students’ test scores for certain subjects were used to compare to the results of the fitness tests (Bunketorp​ et al, 2015). The results of the comparison showed that overall, the students in the physical activity program scored higher on their subject tests than those who were not enrolled in the program (Bunketorp ​et al, 2015). This proves that there is a positive relationship between students’ physical activity and academic success within this research study (Bunketorp ​et al, 2015). A similar study occurred in Barcelona, which involved finding the correlation between physical activity and academic performance among students from secondary schools (Morales, J., Gomis, M., Pelicer-Chenol, M., GarcÍa-MasÓ, X., GÓmez, A., & GonzÁlez, L. , 2011). A group of 284 students from three different secondary schools were chosen to participate in this study (Morales ​et al, 2011). These students were give a survey called “The International Physical Activity Questionnaire,” which included questions pertaining to the students amount of physical activity and whether that activity was vigorous or moderate (Morales ​et al, 2011). The data collected from this survey was then compared to the students’ average grades from all classes (Morales ​et al, 2011). After the data collected was compared, a linear relationship between the two sets of data was formed having a p value of less than .001 and a r value of .31 (Morales ​et al,
  6. 6. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 6 2011). Overall, the students who participated in good amounts of moderate and vigorous physical activity weekly had higher academic scores (Morales ​et al, 2011). Each research study used different methods to test a similar research question in many areas with different age groups of students. Although each study had its own unique qualities, these studies brought about similar results to the research question. The methods of these research studies were used as a basis of this research study, to find a correlation among undergraduate college students’ physical fitness and grade point average. Methods In order to find if exercise has a correlation on academic performance a quantitative survey had to be created to get the maximum amount of responses. The survey was created on Google Forms; this was to make data analysis more efficient. After the survey was created, it was distributed to students at the University of Tampa. After the survey was completed we examined the spreadsheet and eliminated entries that were inviable, such as the entry was not in college or they gave hours of working out when they said they do not workout. In order to make the survey analysis simpler the gender option was limited to male, female, and other. The sample of the study consisted of 53 females, 19 males, and 1 other (Appendix A). This made a total of 73 responses to our survey. The sample was limited to only college students in order to keep the sample around the same age range and to ensure the students have a GPA. The sample also consisted of mostly high intellect students due to the high number of AP students that answered the survey. All of the surveys were from The University of Tampa to keep the sample in a central location.
  7. 7. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 7 The survey used consisted of 9 questions. The survey gave multiple options for ethnicity as to not exclude anyone. The survey also asked if the participant played high school sports to see if their high school performance was affected by physical activity 80.8% said they played high school sports (Appendix B). To see how sports affect students at the college level, a question about collegiate sports was asked which 23% said yes (Appendix C). Results We discovered no correlation between exercise and academic performance, the p value was .16269494 for Days of exercise and GPA. The P value for hours of exercise with days in correlation to GPA. There is no academic performance benefits from exercise. The result we found could potentially be due to most of our participants having high GPAs’ around 3.0. If the study was more broad and generalized then there could of potentially have been a better correlation. Discussion In the procedure of the survey when choosing the questions for the survey, we analyzed demographic information such as race and age, and questions about the history of their athletic and academic performance. We asked this information in hopes of being aware that we were analyzing a diverse group of individuals who had taken the survey, however it did give us indication that we had reached a diverse group of individuals, but that was all we did with the information. The demographic, athletic history, and academic history data could have been used to find a correlation with the grade point average and physical activity data that was also collected to see if there was a positive or negative relationship between the data. For example, if
  8. 8. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 8 we had analyzed the relationship between whether or not someone was a collegiate athlete and their grade point average, those athletes have required amounts of physical activity per day through practices and how that impacts the athletes’ academic performance. There was significant data that was collected that was not applied nor analyzed to the study to see what other kind of relationships could be built through the data collected. In the survey, under the question, “How many hours per day do you exercise?”, we capped the options at 4 or more hours per day. We chose to do this because it is not healthy to put your body through that many hours of exercise multiple days of the week, it is believed to be much more effective to exercise multiple days a week for maybe an hour or two a day. However, some people choose to put their bodies through that kind of intensity and we shouldn’t have limited our data by only having options 0 through 4+ hours per day. After discussing the issue and following the conclusion of the survey results, we realized that athletes sometimes put themselves through 5 or 6 hours a day of intense cardio, weight, and skill training in order to elevate their skill level. In the event, we had left the question with a free response option instead of a drop down option, there may have been a better correlation within the data. We believe the sample of people we had access to and actually had the survey distributed to had an impact on the data we collected. We distributed the survey to large groups of individuals we knew and were our peers including fraternities, sororities, elite academic and leadership groups on campus. The survey was distributed to these large groups of college students in common environments as a convenience factor, and it may have skewed the data we collected. In Greek life, academic, and leadership organizations there are typically grade point average requirements students are required to meet in order to remain a participant in the
  9. 9. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 9 organization. Therefore, the students that we surveyed maintain high grade point averages regardless of whether they exercise at all during the week, although exercise may be a good mental release for the students that doesn’t necessarily mean they take advantage of it.
  10. 10. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 10 References Blom, L. C., Alvarez, J., Zhang, L., & Kolbo, J. (2011). Associations between health-related physical fitness, academic achievement and selected academic behaviors of elementary and middle school students in the state of mississippi. ICHPER -- SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance, 6(1), 13-19. Bunketorp Käll, L., Malmgren, H., Olsson, E., Lindén, T., & Nilsson, M. (2015). Effects of a curricular physical activity intervention on children's school performance, wellness, and brain development.​ Journal of School Health, 85(10), 704-713. doi:10.1111/josh.12303 Edwards, J. U., Mauch, L., & Winkelman, M. R. (2011). Relationship of nutrition and physical activity behaviors and fitness measures to academic performance for sixth graders in a midwest city school district.​ Journal of School Health, 81(2), 65-73. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00562.x Morales, J., Gomis, M., Pelicer-Chenol, M., GarcÍa-MasÓ, X., GÓmez, A., & GonzÁlez, L. (2011). Relation between physical activity and academic performance in 3rd- year secondary education students. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 113(2), 539-546. doi:10.2466/06.11.13.PMS.113.5.539-546 Mull, H., & Tietjen-Smith, T. (2014). Physical activity and academic success: Links on a university campus.​ FOCUS on Colleges, Universities & Schools, 8(1), 1-8.
  11. 11. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 11 Appendix A
  12. 12. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 12 Appendix B Appendix C
  13. 13. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 13 Appendix D Physical Activity & GPA Survey * Required 1. Gender ​* 2. Mark only one oval. ○ Male ○ Female ○ Other 3. Race/Ethnicity ​* 4. Mark only one oval. ○ White ○ Black ○ Hispanic ○ Asian ○ Pacific Islander ○ Middle Eastern ○ Multi Racial 5. Age (in years, Ex. 18) ​* 6. How many days per week do you exercise? ​* 7. Mark only one oval. ○ 0 days ○ 1 days ○ 2 days ○ 3 days
  14. 14. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 14 ○ 4 days ○ 5 days ○ 6 days ○ 7 days 8. How many hours per day do you exercise? ​* 9. Mark only one oval. ○ 0 hrs ○ 1 hrs ○ 2 hrs ○ 3 hrs ○ 4+ hrs 10. Did you participate in high school athletics? ​* 11. Mark only one oval. ○ Yes ○ No 12. Are you a collegiate athlete? ​* 13. Mark only one oval. ○ Yes ○ No 14. What is your current GPA, if you do not have a current GPA please use high school GPA (unweighted)? Ex. 3.75 (nothing higher than 4.0)​* 15. Did you take a significant amount of Honors/AP classes in high school? ​* 16. Mark only one oval. ○ Yes ○ No
  15. 15. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 15 Appendix E
  16. 16. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 16 Appendix F