Physical Education Diploma Requirements


School Administrative Units (SAUs) are reminded that they cannot award physical education credit for graduation purposes for participation in extra-curricular activities. Doing so is not in compliance with current Maine Department of Education diploma requirements.

Maine Department of Education Rule Chapter 127 Instructional Program, Assessment and Diploma Requirements, Section 2.10 specifies that the five content areas of English Language Arts, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology and Social Studies shall reflect continuous, sequential, and specific instruction aligned with the content areas of the system of the Maine Learning Results. Chapter 127, Section 7.01(A) states “each school board operating a secondary school shall adopt a curriculum aligned with the content standards of the system of Learning Results.”

In addition to aligning required curricula and multiple measures of assessments to the standards put forth in the Maine Learning Results, Chapter 127, Section 2.08 specifies that “‘Course’ means a planned unit of instruction in separate or integrated content areas of Maine’s system of Learning Results, under the direction of a certified teacher.” Furthermore, “instructional time means the portion of a school day devoted to the teaching-learning process but not including extra-curricular activities, lunch time or recess.”

Participation in extra-curricular activities, including sports participation, does not meet the guidelines set forth in achieving the physical education standards of the Maine Learning Results.  The Maine Department of Education recommends that SAUs examine current practices to ensure compliance with State physical education diploma requirements.

If you have questions regarding this requirement, please contact Jayne Chase at 207-624-6657 or via email at:

9 thoughts on “Physical Education Diploma Requirements

  1. I’m not sure if school sponsored programs like football, basketball, wrestling etc are considered extra-curricular activities or not. But I believe participation in these activities should count towards for physical education credit for graduation purposes. Even if they are not given the same weight as curriculum as defined in the standards put forth in the Maine Learning Results they should be given some weight.

  2. Rose Angell, Physical Educator, Jefferson Village School, Doctoral Student, Springfield College (dissertation focus: physical activity, teachers, high school students).

    Research Notes:
    Charlene R. Burgeson, NASPE Executive Director writes in ( National Association of State School Boards (2004) p. 27-32. “Sports participation is but one part of the total school-based physical activity program which includes: physical education, health education-knowledge of physical activity, recess, intramural programs, physical activity clubs, walk/bike to school programs and staff wellness program.

    CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) Physical activity levels of high school students in the United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, June 17, 2011.
    HealthyPeople 2020:
    PA 3.1 Aerobic Physical Activity: Goal: greater than 60 min. 7 days per week
    PA 3.2 Muscle strengthening activity: Goal: greater than 3 days per week.
    PA 3.3 Aerobic activity and muscles strengthening activity combined

    Targeted for remediation/corrective action are focused on
    a) female high school students, b) high school students in the upper grades, c) youth with obesity.
    Nationwide: PA 3.1 = 15.3% of students in grades 9-12 met the target
    PA 3.2 = 51% met the target, PA 3.3 = 12.2% met the target.

    Barriers: Lack of opportunities for students to participate in physical activities. Lack of school policies that make it possible for all students to engage in physical activity while they are in school as well as after school programs.

    Welk, (2008) The role of physical assessments for school-based physical activity promotion. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science 12, 184-206

    “Inherent goal of physical education is to help youth establish lifelong patterns of physical activity and maintain interest and involvement in physical activity over a lifetime.”

    The bottom line, very few of our high school athletes make it on a college team and/or continue to be active in their sport beyond high school. The skills necessary for life long physical activity is dependent on the wide variety of opportunities to obtain knowledge and skills in a wide range of physical activities, not just one activity focus. We need policy makers, administrators, teachers, and parents to realize that the obesity and overweight issue isn’t going away. Researchers as well as many national and international associations are calling on States to support QUALITY physical education programs by providing more opportunities from pre K-12 grades to participate in physical activity while in school.

  3. Physical Educator, Athletic Director

    I disagree with Grondin and Colpitts who I don’t believe would accept giving biology credit to a student who studied the life cycle and habitat of lobsters after school while lobstering instead of participation in biology class. Yes, this is an important adjunct to a the study of biology, but only one small component in a comprehensive course of study. A comprehensive Physical education class instructs students to a variety of physical movements; striking, propelling, receiving, body control and fitness . This is sequential, continuous and comprehensive instruction in both affective behaviors in the classroom and cognitive knowledge associated with each particular skill taught. Students learn the value of physical movement and a variety of ways to apply their own developing skills ( without the pressure of competition) in a classroom setting. It is exploratory, just as a biology lab would be. Physical education encourages exploration in many areas of lifetime activities such as climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming, skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, golf, tennis, badminton, etc. that many students might not have the opportunity to experience outside of the physical education classroom. Team sports are also introduced, but as instructional and the focus is on breaking down the components of each skill (kicking, striking etc) to help students ultimately put these skills together to participate in a game situation. After school team sports are often are chosen for them by their parents at a young age and they have not experienced many of the alternative activities which can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime, which is the goal of physical education…education of the individual to seek out activities to keep the body and mind healthy throughout life. How many high school football players are really participating in their sport for 30-40 minutes 5 times a week at target heart rate in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s?? If they had experienced only football after school instead of a comprehensive physical education program, that is all they would have had experience with and it would be tougher to put themselves in a situation of exploring a new physical activity at an older age…It is only natural for people do what they have been good at for physical activity…and why not be good and accomplished at a variety of physical pursuits having been introduced to them at a young age in a great physical education class? I do not agree that substituting after school activities and team sports participation instead of participation in a comprehensive physical education class would be good for the overall health of students in Maine schools.

  4. So will assessment of the standards be added to the role of the coaches? What happens to the student athlete who doesn’t finish the season? Will the standards for the student participating in regular PE be different than those of the athlete participating in the extra-curricular program.? Who will fund the professional development in assessment for those coaches that are not in education as a profession?
    I personally don’t believe using athletics to replace Physical Education is forward thinking, I feel it’s a step in the wrong direction.

  5. Physical Education Teacher

    Leaving the Physical Education standards to be taught by a non-certified coach is simply wrong. Many coaches are not in the education field and cannot deliver the content in a appropriate fashion. Simply running plays on the football field or learning a swimming stroke does not constitute learning Physical Education standards. We must also be careful with this approach, as the next content area to be affected could be English if a student joins a book club or science if a kid goes to work for a lab. And who says someone with a business degree couldn’t be a Superintendant. All they really do is count beans and deal with personnel. They do very little with the real, on the ground education.

  6. Hello everyone,

    I am a Health and Physical Education teacher from SAD 28 and I have a different perspective. In my district we have very few coaches that have teaching experience or an education back ground, let alone a Physical Education degree.

    First concern: who would be creating the assessments for these students? My understanding is that meaningful assessments should be created by those with a degree in Physical Education.

    Second: who would assess these students? A parent/coach who might know their specific sport or a teacher who doesn’t have a degree in Physical Education?

    I’m concerned that, if we go down this slippery slope, our students will hear that Physical Education is not held to the same standards as the other four content areas.

    Also, on a personal note, I find myself feeling as though my efforts to obtain my degree and certification, and my current efforts to provide a high standard of Physical Education to my students, are being devalued.

    Very sincerely,

    Clairlynn Rountree, M.Ed.

  7. I couldn’t disagree more with the comments above. Quite often coaches are hired because they are the only applicant. There are many qualified coaches, but they are qualified at coaching very specific skills. In traditional PE classes you get a much more diverse group of students, so a variety of learning takes place for all. Many athletes have no idea how to interact with those with a lesser skill set. The social skills learned in a heterogeneous classroom teach students how to interact with people of differing abilities. The difference in ability within a chosen team is much more minute. The PE curriculum covers a variety of team and lifelong activities, where the after school program is concerned with one. Social skills are addressed at the after school programs, but not with a general population. I always tell my classes that unless you grow up to be the boss you do not get to choose who you work with. Everyone should be able to get along with everyone, and the traditional PE class does that because there is a better representation of “everyone” in that class.

  8. Superintendent

    I couldn’t agree more with Superintendent Grondin’s comments. It is time to review the statute and acknowledge the opportunity to address standards outside of the traditional PE class.

  9. Superintendent

    This has been a discussion in the Auburn School Department as we look at multiple ways for students demonstrate standards, especially for our students who play multiple sports. It goes against the standards based movement. We need to think about extra curricular activities as educational program options within a standards-based framework. We could simply stop thinking of “after-school team sports” as extra-curricular and simply as “performance tasks” outside the barriers of the traditional school day.
    We need to forward our thinking that learning can occur at anytime and anywhere.

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