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Castelli, Hillman, Buck, and Erwin

achievement. Further, based on previous research with children (Hillman et al. 2005; CDE, 2001), fitness would be globally related to academic achievement.



The Illinois School Report Card is a public document of school effectiveness as it relates to academic achievement in the context of the instructional setting. School report cards are published by district and school and contain information regarding school demographics, income rate, dropout rate, attendance, enrollment, school finances, and student achievement of the standards in reading and math. The report format allows for easy comparison of school effectiveness by school, district, and state while considering racial/ethnic background and the amount of economically disadvantaged children. This study was conducted in a single school district in a medium-sized urban community. Of the 11 public elementary schools, four were selected for participation specifically because of school performance (academic performance in relation to the number of student receiving free/reduced lunch; academic performance by ethnicity and race), poverty index, and neighborhood crime rate in an attempt to obtain a balanced socioeconomic and academically performing sample.

From the school district report cards, four schools were selected. Two schools were considered academically effective as 76.3% of the students met or exceeded the standard in mathematics and 86.4% in reading. Alternatively, the other two schools had only 46.2% of the student body meet or exceeded the standard in mathematics and 40.4% in reading. Illinois Department of Education and other public documents were used to determine the average socioeconomic status of the entire student body for recruitment purposes. For two of the schools, 24.3% of the student body received free/reduced lunches/breakfast, whereas 66% of the student body received free/reduced meals at the other two schools. Despite differ- ences along these sociocultural variables, schools in the same district were utilized to ensure that each participant was receiving similar amounts of physical activity within the school day (e.g., recess, physical education taught by specialists as opposed to classroom teachers).


Parental informed consent was obtained from 68% of the third- and fifth-grade students (n = 582) enrolled across the four schools. Any student with an individual education plan as a result of disability was excluded from the study. Also, any student who did not complete all of the annual ISAT testing, moved out of district, or did not complete all of the Fitnessgram tests was excluded from the study. Thus, the study sample comprised 259 participants (Mage = 9.5, SD = .74, male = 132), with an ethnic distribution of 78% Caucasian, 12% African American, 5% Asian, 3% Hispanic, 2% other. Each of the participants completed five components of the Fitnessgram physical fitness test and two content areas of the ISAT. In the final sample, 130 participants (i.e., 50% of the study sample) received free/reduced lunch, thus reflecting the fact that half the sample came from households with incomes

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