Comparative Study between Student Athletes and Non

Jasmine Alfonso
The Tech Center
New Visions Education
How do student athletes perform
in higher level classes as compared
to non-athlete students?
Purpose of Study
• To determine if there is a correlation between athletics and
academics in secondary education
• The relationship between the success rate in higher level classes
such as honors, advanced placement, and college level classes as
compared to the amount of physical activity the student receives
determined by whether or not the student participates in a varsity
or J.V. level sport
• Examines whether or not there is true a relationship between the
mind and body in correlation between grade point averages and
physical activity
Background Research
General Information
• Some evidence indicates that there is a relationship between
physical fitness and cognitive development which can be
explained by psychological and physiological mechanisms.
• The mind of a student is more likely to hold more attention
when the body is active rather than sedentary
• due to the amount of blood being pumped throughout the
body and brain through physical movement
General Information Continued…
• In a time where child obesity is on the rise, the importance of
being fit both mentally and physically is an essential
component to being a healthy person
• Students, who in general, are physically fit perform better on
academic achievement tests over students who are not as
physically fit. showing that as fitness scores improved the
scores for academic achievement improved as well. (Vail,
Positive Correlations
• “Increased physical activity through physical education include increased arousal
and reduced boredom, which may lead to increased attention span and
concentration [as well as] increased self-esteem, which could be expected to
improve classroom behavior as well as academic performance.” (Coe, et. all, 2006,
• “For example, investigators in Illinois found that students’ total fitness, as
measured by passing all 5 components of the Fitnessgram, positively correlated
with academic achievement, measured by the standardized Illinois State
Achievement Test, particularly Mathematics and Science.” (Chomitz, et. all, 2009,
Positive Correlations Continued…
• Students who are physically fit exhibit better concentration than
their peers; stating how the exercise these students are receiving
lowered stress levels and anxiety, which are factors that can have a
large impact on the mental capabilities of a student (Vail, 2006).
• It was also stated by the Department of Education that students
who participate in sports are three times as likely to have a GPA of
3.0 and higher (Stegman, Stephens, 2000).
• Female athletes tend to have greater academic abilities over their
male counterparts. As well as a greater correlation in math scores over
those in English (Chomitz, et all., 2009).
• Sports foster the development of student success in lifelong learning,
life roles and personal effectiveness. Allowing student-athletes to
distinguish rules of behavior in team settings, as well as assisting in
the development of team, letting individuals reflect upon failure on and
off the field (Silliker, Quirk, 2002).
• These characteristics which are commonly found in student-athletes
have shown to lead to higher career aspirations, better attendance
records, reduced delinquency and a higher social standing among their
peers (Silliker, Quirk, 2002).
Trends Continued…
• Sports not only assist in improving the success of student achievement in
the classroom, but also show that talented athletes have higher
graduation and report rates over their peers who are not as athletic
• This can be attributed to the commitment they have for their sport as
well as a problem focused, self-conscious and goal oriented mind of a
student athlete (Jonker, et all, 2009).
• Student-athletes’ ability to manage their time better than that of nonathletes is shown also in a study completed by Laughlin in 1978 where he
found that overall student-athletes had a high grade point average
• During the on-season the students maintained a higher grade point
average than during the off seasons of their sport. (Silliker, Quirk, 2002).
Negative Correlations
• Student-athletes, “training through the educational system has left a
number of student-athletes with inadequate skills necessary for academic
success in college.” (Dilley-Knoles, Burnett, Peak, 2010, 2)
• The Woman’s Sports Foundation determined that overall there is no effect
on the grade point average of student athletes in rural, urban or suburban
• The study shows that while sports made little impact on grades the students were not as
likely to attend a four year college.
Inconclusive Results
• Several studies have been completed over the past few decades
which have yielded inconclusive results, due to the amount a
variable influence on the study.
• Some of the studies which were deemed inconclusive or negative include
Melnick as well as Marsh and Kraus in the late ‘90’s (as cited in Broh, 2002).
Design of study
Setting of Study
• A high school in suburban New York State. The school was large in
scale and maintained roughly 400 students per grade level
• Approximately 525 surveys were distributed to students. 305 were
returned completed.
100 were student athletes who were enrolled in higher level classes
30 were student-athletes not enrolled in higher level classes
120 were non athlete students enrolled in higher level classes
57 were non athlete students not enrolled in higher level classes
• The individuals who participated in this study were willing male and
female high school students who are between the ages of 14 to 18
Overview of Study
• an anonymous survey was created asking if they:
participated in sports
how many hours a week they perform physical activity
how many honors, AP, and college level classes they are enrolled in
how many hours a week they spent studying and completing homework
check off the averages they had for each higher level class and GPA
Overview of Study Continued…
• a letter was sent to the local school administrators to gain approval
to test the hypothesis in the suburban high school
• a letter was then sent out to fourteen teachers, coaches and club
representatives asking if they would allow their students to
participate in the study
• copies of the survey were then given to that teacher for
distribution. Responses were collected from those students who
were willing to participate over a period of two weeks.
Overview of Study Continued…
• each survey was separated into four separate categories:
Student Athletes enrolled in higher level classes
Student Athletes not enrolled in higher level classes
Non-Athletes enrolled in higher level classes
Non-Athletes not enrolled in higher level classes
• the data was then inputted into Microsoft Excel to be sorted into a
• all the data was placed into the correct category
Overview of Study Continued…
• charts were created that used data from three of the categories:
• student type
• enrolled in higher level
• Four charts were made which displayed the percentage of students
from each category who maintained a certain GPA range.
• the percentages from each were then taken and compared in a final
graph which compared the overall results of the study
Observations of data
Compared GPA's between
Athletes & Non-Athletes
Compared GPA’s
between Athletes &
3.6 - 4.0
As displayed by the
graph Athletes yielded
better results, whether
or not they were
enrolled in HLC.
3.1 - 3.5
GPA range
Note: HLC stands for
Higher Level Classes
Athletes in HLC
2.6 - 3.0
Non-Athletes no HLC
Athletes no HLC
Non-Athletes in HLC
2.1 - 2.5
1.6 - 2.0
1.1 - 1.5
Percent of Students
in Each Range
Athletes not in
Higher Level Classes
not enrolled in
Higher Level Classes
•2 students had the GPA
range of 2.1 – 2.5 (7%)
Athletes N 2.1-2.5
Athletes N 2.6-3.0
Athletes N 3.1-3.5
Athletes N 3.6-4.0
•14 students had the GPA
range of 2.6 – 3.0 (47%)
•10 students had the GPA
range of 3.1 – 3.5 (33%)
•4 students had the GPA
range of 3.6 – 4.0 (13%)
• total: 30 students fit this
Non-Athletes enrolled in
Higher Level Classes
enrolled in
Higher Level Classes
• 1 student had the GPA range
1.6 – 2.0 (1%)
Non Athletes Y 1.6-2.0
Non Athletes Y 2.1-2.5
Non Athletes Y 2.6-3.0
Non Athletes Y 3.1-3.5
Non Athletes Y 3.6-4.0
Non Athletes Y NA
•3 students had the GPA range
2.1 – 2.5 (2%)
•19 students had the GPA range
2.6 – 3.0 (16%)
•47 students had the GPA range
3.1 – 3.5 (39%)
•49 students had the GPA range
3.6 – 4.0 (41%)
•1 student did not know their
GPA range (1%)
•Total: 120 students fit in this
Non-Athletes not
enrolled in
Higher Level Classes
Non-Athletes not in Higher Level
Non Athletes N 1.6-2.0
Non Athletes N 2.1-2.5
Non Athletes N 2.6-3.0
Non Athletes N 3.1-3.5
Non Athletes N NA
Non Athletes N 3.6-4.0
• 2 students had the GPA range
1.6 – 2.0 (4%)
•7 students had the GPA range
2.1 – 2.5 (13%)
•14 students had the GPA range
2.6 – 3.0 (25%)
•25 students had the GPA range
3.1 – 3.5 (45%)
•4 students had the GPA range
3.6 – 4.0 (6%)
•5 students had an unknown
GPA range (7%)
•Total: 57 students fit in this
Athletes enrolled in
Higher Level Classes
Athletes enrolled in
Higher Level Classes
Athletes Y 1.1-1.5
Athletes Y 1.6-2.0
Athletes Y 2.1-2.5
Athletes Y 2.6-3.0
Athletes Y 3.1-3.5
Athletes Y 3.6-4.0
• 1 student had the GPA range
1.1 – 1.5 (1%)
1% 1%
•1 student had the GPA range
1.6 – 2.0 (1%)
•1 student had the GPA range
2.1 – 2.5 (1%)
•12 students had the GPA range
2.6 – 3.0 (12%)
•34 students had the GPA
range 3.1 -3.5 (34%)
•51 students had the GPA range
3.6 – 4.0 (51%)
•Total: 101 students fit into this
• Athletes are able to maintain a higher GPA over their non-athlete
counterparts whether or not they are enrolled in higher level
• A positive correlation between academics and athletes through the
high percentage of student-athletes who maintained a 3.6 – 4.0
• Similar to prior studies there is a relationship between athletics and
physical fitness and academic ability
• shows that students need be focus not only on their mind but on
their body as well
• in order to not only keep them physically active but also improve
themselves academically
• correlation between the mind and body will stop schools from
cutting sports and gym classes from curricula in order to save
• By promoting physical activity in school the students will increase
their abilities in the classroom while providing experiences outside
of the classroom
Further Investigation
• Be tested on schools in the surrounding areas in order to show a
going trend in students across the board.
• Gain the exact GPA of each student in order to maintain a firmer
grasp of the data
• More specific in the grouping of students by asking more questions
about the student
• the grade level
• gender of the student
• The need to maintain the anonymity of the student.
• The types of questions which can be asked to categorize the students are
• Stops other people from being able to identify the students who par-took
and were involved in the completion of the study
• Data collection
• Through the limited contact with the students involved it was difficult to
gauge when student had questions when answering and completing the
• Led to certain parts of the survey to being null and void when analyzing
the data.
Errors in Study
• Teachers held on to surveys instead of handing them in
• Caused an extended wait period before analysis of data could begin
• Directions were not followed on the survey for question 3(how
many honors level classes the student is involved in)
• Listed all HLC instead of just honors classes
• took up more time to reanalyze and correct data
• Did not understand question (check off each time a higher level
class has a specific average)
• Only checked off one average
• Answers were skewed, unusable and the question was disregarded
• Begnaud, B. (2007) The effect of athletic involvement on GPA: The benefits of playing a
sport - Associated Content from Yahoo! - (n.d.).
Associated Content from Yahoo! - Retrieved November
3, 2010, from
• Broh, B. (2002). Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement: Who
benefits and why?. American Sociological Association, 75(1), 69-95.
• Chomitz, V., Slinning, M., McGowan, R., Mitchell, S., Dawson, G., & Hacker, K. (2009). Is
there a relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement?
Positive results from public school children in the northeastern United States.
Journal of School Health, 79(1), 30-36.
• Coe, D. P., Pivarnik, J., Womack, C., & Reeves, M. (2006). Effect of physical education and
activity levels on academic achievement in children. American Journal of Sports
Medicine, 38(8), 1515-19.
• Dilley-Knoles, J., Burnett, J., & Peak, K. (2010). Making the grade: academic success in
today's athlete. The Sport Journal, 13(1), 7. Retrieved December 20, 2010, from
References continued…
• Jonker, L., Elferink-Gemser, M., & Visscher, C. (2009). Talented athletes and
academic achievements: A comparison over 14 years. High Ability
Studies, 20(1), 10.
• Jr., Thomas R. M. (n.d.). ATHLETICS - ATHLETICS - Playing sports doesn't lift
grades, study finds - The New York Times - Breaking
News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from
• Silliker, A., & Quirk, J. (2002). The effect of extracurricular activity participation
on the academic performance of male and female high school students.
American Shool Councelor Association, 44(4), 1-7.
• Stegman, M., & Stephens, L. (2010, December). Athletics and academics: Are
they compatible?. High School Magazine, 7, 1-3.
• Vail, k. (2006). Is physical fitness raising grades?. American School Board Journal,
193(30-33), 7.

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