Nigel Davies

Date of Graduation


Document Type



The purposes of this study were to: (1) define developmentally appropriate practice and identify practices within planning, instruction, content, evaluation and management which will enhance the facilitation of developmentally appropriate practice; and (2) compare and analyze the five participant sub-groups, to identify similarities and differences among these groups. The sample was randomly determined from the current AAHPERD membership list, categorized, via self-designation, into teacher educators, motor developmentalists, physical education teachers, graduate students, undergraduate students. One hundred and eleven participants (n = 111) completed and returned the Developmentally Appropriate Practice Inventory (DAPI). In phase one, each statement was analyzed utilizing the entire sample population, except for the undergraduate participants, to examine the degree of consensus between the 69 statements and the sample population. Statements rated by a minimum of 85% of the participants as being both "developmentally and instructionally appropriate" were added to the definition pool for formulating the developmentally appropriate definitions. In phase two of the study, each of the five self-designated population groups were individually analyzed and compared in regards to their rating of the DAPI statements to identify similarities and differences between these groups. The construction of definitions for developmentally appropriate practice and the related sub-definitions is a successful first step toward developing a diagnostic instrument for determining whether physical education practices are developmentally appropriate. Such a diagnostic instrument will enable principals, supervisors and teachers to analyze physical education programs and lessons to determine the degree to which practices in are developmentally appropriate. Differences between the five participant groups were apparent, but no one group was consistently different from another in rating the DAPI statements. The correlations for the participant groups were high, ranging from.768 to.954. Many of the differences in interpreting developmentally appropriate practices may lie in the use of terminology, teacher training backgrounds, and professional perspectives on learning. The formulated definitions of this study synthesized many of the recurring concepts discussed in the literature. The disparity between the groups suggests that the various factions within physical education need to communicate and integrate their teachings and research projects more frequently.