Document Type


Publication Date

October 2011


The prevalence of obesity and sedentary behaviors among children and adolescents is increasing at an alarming rate. The obesity epidemic is reaching proportions never seen across our nation. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine middle school students’ perceptions of coeducational and same-sex physical education classes. The study consisted of 3 girls and 3 boys 12-13 years old. One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant to gain an understanding of their perceptions of physical education (P.E.) classes that were coeducational and same-sex in nature. The results indicated that middle school students shared a variety of perceptions concerning class structure, regardless of gender. Two of the three girls preferred coeducation P.E. versus same-sex P.E., boys felt they tried harder in same-sex P.E., girls were more embarrassed to make mistakes in coeducational P.E. class, and boys felt they learned more physical education content in same-sex P.E. In conclusion, it seems logical for schools to offer physical education experiences that are both coeducational and same-sex. Students agreed that both coeducational and same-sex physical education had pros and cons, and the interests of students were not met in just one class structure. The ultimate goal of any school curriculum should be student learning in an environment that is safe and positive for the students.