Sports and educational achievement

Does participation in sports deliver educational benefits for youth? Karen Schucan Bird, Mark Newman, and Janice Tripney have examined the research

MANY INITIATIVES HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED in the U.S. to encourage young people to become more active, such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. While there are clear health benefits associated with participation in sports, less is known about the educational impacts. This article summarizes the findings of a systematic review that examined just this issue. The research analyzed the impact of young people’s participation in sports on their educational outcomes.

What we know
● Organized sports or educational activities linked to organized sports may “work” to deliver educational improvements for youth.
● Playing organized sports may improve young people’s numerical skills.
● Participation in extracurricular learning activities linked to sports may provide educational benefi ts for underachieving students. These include improvements in numeracy and transferable skills.

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June 2012