Curriculum Perspectives

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 147–160 | Cite as

The Curriculum Analysis of Senior Education in Physical Education (CASE-PE) study

  • Brendon HyndmanEmail author
  • Shane Pill
Research article


The importance of senior secondary school physical education (PE) is underscored by the assessment of learning outcomes being linked to future access to higher education, employment and further training. Yet within the broad spectrum of PE studies, the investigation of senior secondary school PE has been limited. This article serves the purpose of exploring the key concepts and themes from senior secondary PE syllabi across Australian states and territories. The Leximancer text-mining software was applied as an innovative tool for the exploratory conceptual and thematic analyses within the Curriculum Analysis of Senior Education in Physical Education (CASE-PE) study. A number of similar themes emerged within the CASE-PE study from across the state and territory senior physical education syllabi, including skills, physical, learning, assessment, study, use, performance and training. A number of themes were unique to each state and territory and major concepts had differing levels of relevance. This article provides insights into an under-theorised and -explored part of the Australian curriculum and PE literature. We conclude there is a need for greater uniformity in senior secondary PE curricula and its underpinnings in the future.


Physical education Curriculum Senior secondary Schools 


  1. ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (ACT BSS). (2016). ACT Senior Secondary Curriculum. Retrieved June 8, 2016 from:
  2. Arnold, P. J. (1979). Meaning in movement, sport, and physical education. Heinemann.Google Scholar
  3. Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER). (2009). The ACHPER National Statement on the curriculum future of Health and Physical Education in Australia. Retrieved November 28, 2016 from:
  4. Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2010). The shape of the Australian curriculum version 2.0. Sydney: ACARA.Google Scholar
  5. Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2011). Why have an Australian curriculum? Retrieved November 28, 2016 from:
  6. Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2012). The shape of the Australian curriculum: health and physical education.Google Scholar
  7. Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014). Health and Physical Education Curriculum. Retrieved June 19, 2016, from:
  8. Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2016). Health and Physical Education Curriculum. Retrieved November 12, 2016 from:
  9. Australian Institute for Training and School Leadership. (2011). National Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved March 25, 2011, from:
  10. Beamish, W., Bryer, F., & Davies, M. (2006). Teacher reflections on co-teaching a unit of work. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 2(2), 3–19.Google Scholar
  11. Bowes, M., & Bruce, J. (2011). Curriculum liquefaction (shifting sands) in senior school physical education in New Zealand: Critical pedagogical approaches and dilemmas. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 2(3–4), 17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brown, T. D. (2013). A vision lost?(Re) articulating an Arnoldian conception of education ‘in’movement in physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 18(1), 21-37.Google Scholar
  13. Brown, T. D., & Penney, D. (2013). Learning ‘in’, ‘through’ and ‘about’ movement in senior physical education? The new Victorian Certificate of education physical education. European Physical Education Review, 19(1), 39–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Curriculum Corporation. (1994). Health and physical education—A curriculum profile for Australian schools. Melbourne: Curriculum Corporation.Google Scholar
  15. Cothran, D. J., Kulinna, P. H., & Garrahy, D. A. (2003). “this is kind of giving a secret away...”: Students’ perspectives on effective class management. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(4), 435–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cothran, D. J., McCaughtry, N., Kulinna, P. H., & Martin, J. (2006). Top-down public health curricular change: The experience of physical education teachers in the United States. Journal of In-Service Education, 32(4), 533–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crawford, D. (2009). The future of sport in Australia. Retrieved 29 November, 2016 from:
  18. Crofts, K., & Bisman, J. (2010). Interrogating accountability: An illustration of the use of Leximancer software for qualitative data analysis. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 7(2), 180–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Curtain, R. (2001). An entitlement to post-compulsory education international practice and policy implications for Australia. National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER), Leabrook, South Australia.Google Scholar
  20. Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (2011). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.Google Scholar
  21. Fisher, R., & Miller, D. (2008). Responding to student expectations: A partnership approach to course evaluation. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(2), 191–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Green, K. (2001). Examinations in Physical Education: a sociological perspective on a ‘new orthodoxy’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 22(1), 51–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grimbeek, P., Bartlett, B., & Kit-Ken, L. (2004). Using Leximancer to Identify Themes and Patterns in the Talk of Three High-distinction Students [online]. In Bartlett, B., Bryer, F & Roebuck, D (Eds). Educating: Weaving Research into Practice: Volume 2. Nathan, Qld: Griffith University, School of Cognition, Language and Special Education, 122-128.Google Scholar
  24. Grimbeek, P., Bryer, F., Davies, M., & Bartlett, B. (2005). Themes and patterns in 3 years of abstracts from the international conference on cognition, language, and special education research: identified by Leximancer analysis. Stimulating the “action”as participants in participatory research Brisbane. Australia: Griffith University, School of Cognition, Language, and Special Education, 101–113.Google Scholar
  25. Haynes, J. E., Miller, J. A., & Varea, V. (2016). Preservice generalist teachers enlightened approach to teaching physical education through teacher biography. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(3), 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Horsley, J. (2010). How high ability students perceived the practice of influential teachers. New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 2009(19), 114–129.Google Scholar
  27. Hyndman, B. (2014). Exploring the differences in teaching perspectives between Australian pre-service and graduate physical education teachers. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 4(4), 438–444.Google Scholar
  28. Hyndman, B. P. (2017). Perceived Social-Ecological Barriers of Generalist Pre-Service Teachers towards Teaching Physical Education: Findings from the GET-PE study. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, In Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hyndman, B. P., & Pill, S. (2016). The Influences on Teaching Perspectives of Australian Physical Education Teacher Education Students: The First-Year Influences on Teaching Perspectives Exploratory (FIT-PE) Study. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(5). doi: 10.14221/ajte.2016v41n5.7.
  30. Hyndman, B., & Pill, S. (2017). What’s in a concept? A Leximancer text mining analysis of physical literacy across the international literature. European Physical Education Review. doi: 10.1177/1356336X17690312.
  31. Hyndman, B., Mahony, L., Te Ava, A., Smith, S., & Nutton, G. (2016). Complementing the Australian primary school health and physical education (HPE) curriculum: Exploring children’s HPE learning experiences within varying school ground equipment contexts. Education, 3-13, 1–16. doi: 10.1080/03004279.2016.1152282.Google Scholar
  32. Kirk, D. (1988). Physical education and curriculum study: A critical introduction. London: Croom Held.Google Scholar
  33. Kirk, D. (2014). A defining time for physical education futures? Exploring the legacy of Fritz Duras. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 5(2), 103–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lamb, P., & Lane, K. (2013). Pupil voice on being gifted and talented in physical education: ‘they think it’s just, like, a weekend sort of thing’. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 18(2), 150–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lynch, T. (2014). Australian curriculum reform II health and physical education. European Physical Education Review, 20(4), 508–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Macdonald, D. (2013). The new Australian health and physical education curriculum: A case of/for gradualism in curriculum reform? Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 4(2), 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. MacPhail, A. (2004). The social construction of higher grade physical education: the impact on teacher curriculum decision-making. Sport, Education and Society, 9(1), 53–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacPhail, A. (2007). Teachers’ views on the construction, management and delivery ofan externally prescribedphysical education curriculum: higher grade physical education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 12(1), 43–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Northern Territory Government. (2016). Senior Physical Education curriculum. Retrieved May 26, from:
  40. NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA). (2016). Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. Retrieved June 1, 2016 from:
  41. Penney, D., Jones, A., Newhouse, P., & Cambell, A. (2012). Developing a digital assessment in senior secondary physical education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 17(4), 383–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pill, S., Harvey, S., & Hyndman, B. (2017). Novel research approaches to gauge global teacher familiarity with game-based teaching in physical education: an exploratory# Twitter analysis. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 8(2). doi: 10.1080/18377122.2017.1315953.
  43. Pinquart, M., Juang, L. P., & Silbereisen, R. K. (2003). Self-efficacy and successful school-to-work transition: A longitudinal study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63(3), 329–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2016). Queensland Senior Secondary Physical Education syllabus. Retrieved June 10, 2016 from:
  45. Rooney, D., Brabant, M., Paulsen, N., Callan, V. J., & Jones, E. (2006). Researching place and social identity in organizational change: a theoretically informed Leximancer analysis of a participant historiographical study. In 56th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association: Networking Communication Research. International Communication Association.Google Scholar
  46. Smyth, E., & Banks, J. (2012). High stakes testing and student perspectives on teaching and learning in the Republic of Ireland. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 24(4), 283–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). (2016). South Australian Certificate of Education: Physical Education syllabus. Retrieved June 12, from:
  48. Stolz, S. A., & Thorburn, M. (2015). A genealogical analysis of Peter Arnold’s conceptual account of meaning in movement, sport and physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 1–14.Google Scholar
  49. SueSee, B., & Edwards, K. (2011). Self-identified and observed teaching styles of senior physical education teachers in Queensland schools. In Proceedings of the 27th Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Conference (ACHPER 2011) (pp. 208–219). Australian Council for Health Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER).Google Scholar
  50. Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification (TASC). (2016). Senior Secondary. Retrieved June 18, from:
  51. Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG). (2015). Action Now: Classroom Ready. Teachers. Retrieved May 23rd, 2016 from:
  52. Thorburn, M. (2007). Achieving conceptual and curriculum coherence in high-stakes school examinations in Physical Education. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 12(2), 163–184.Google Scholar
  53. Thorburn, M. (2010). Opportunities and challenges for physical education. Physical Education-picking up the Baton. Policy & Practice in Education, 17–27.Google Scholar
  54. Thorburn, M., & Collins, D. (2006a). The effects of an integrated curriculum model on student learning and attainment. European Physical Education Review, 12(1), 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Thorburn, M., & Collins, D. (2006b). Accuracy and authenticity of oral and written assessments in high-stakes school examinations. The Curriculum Journal, 17(1), 3–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Trost, S. G., & van der Mars, H. (2010). Why should we not cut PE. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 60–65.Google Scholar
  57. Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). (2016). Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Physical Education. Retrieved June 17, from:
  58. Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE). (2016). Western Australian Certificate of Education (Physical Education). Retrieved June 17, 2016 from:
  59. Whittle, R. J., Telford, A.,& Benson, A. C. (2015). The ‘Perfect’ Senior (VCE) Secondary Physical Education Teacher: Student Perceptions of Teacher-related Factors that Influence Academic Performance. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(8).

Copyright information

© Australian Curriculum Studies Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationSouthern Cross UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations