Examining curricular coherence in an exemplary elementary school program.

Research paper by Catherine D CD Ennis

Indexed on: 25 Apr '08Published on: 25 Apr '08Published in: Research quarterly for exercise and sport


A coherent curriculum is characterized by visible connections between purposes and experiences so that students acknowledge the content's immediate value. This study examined an exemplary elementary physical education curriculum for coherence components. Research questions examined the role of coherence in connecting and engaging students meaningfully in physical education. Observations and interviews were conducted to collect qualitative data in one program for 22 weeks. Data were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding. Results described two units, Balls Skills, leading to modified basketball, and Scooter City, a theme-based unit emphasizing student choice and responsibility. Students reported that both units were enjoyable. Although the Balls Skills unit was well planned, taught, and managed, some students commented that the skill and games content was valuable only in basketball. In the Scooter City unit, students identified numerous connections to out-of-school activities that enhanced content value. Comparisons with Beane's coherence criteria suggested that students valued Scooter City based on concrete connections to their lived experiences.