Texas Physical Education Requirements

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Texas schools must offer physical education to all public school students in kindergarten through grade 12. Read on to learn about the curriculum standards, activity mandates and other requirements for different grade levels.

Overview of Texas Physical Education Requirements

The state of Texas requires schools to provide physical education that meets curriculum standards, but provides school districts a great deal of flexibility in how they may deliver that instruction. The state also has mandated physical activity standards for elementary and middle school students, but those do not always have to be met through physical education classes. At the high school level, students must earn at least one physical education credit, and may not earn more than four, in order to graduate.

Physical Education Curriculum Standards

Every public school in Texas must offer physical education instruction that includes the state's established essential knowledge and skills (TEKS). Physical education TEKS increase with complexity from kindergarten through grade 12, but all are organized into three key areas:

  • Movement
  • Physical activity and health
  • Social development

Detailed state physical education standards for each grade level may be viewed on the Texas Education Agency's website (tea.texas.gov).

Physical Education Substitution Policies

High school students who are physically unable to complete the one physical education credit required for graduation may substitute one math, social studies, English language arts, science, or elective course. Individual school districts may also allow physical education credit substitutions for student participation in organizations and activities such as cheerleading, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC), marching band or commercially sponsored activities.

Texas Physical Activity Requirements

Texas has established minimum physical activity requirements for students in pre-kindergarten through middle school. At the elementary school level, they may be met through either physical education classes or during recess. At the middle school level, these must be met through physical education classes.

Grade Level Required Moderate to Rigorous Physical Activity Time Alternatives
Pre-K through Grade 5 30 minutes per day at each grade 135 minutes per week
Grade 6 through 8 30 minutes per day for a minimum of 4 semesters 225 minutes per two-week increments for at least 4 semesters

Student Assessment

Texas students in grades three through 12 must take a physical fitness assessment as part of their physical education courses. The state is using this information to analyze how physical fitness relates to issues such as academic performance and behavior problems.

Resources for Texas Physical Education Teachers

To design instruction that meets both state-mandated curriculum standards and activity requirements, Study.com offers Texas physical education teachers several different resources, ranging from lesson plan ideas to guidance in motivating students and utilizing the latest technology. You may access the self-paced course and lessons online 24/7. To explore what's offered, check out:

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