15 Standards of Specialized Knowledge

The following are brief descriptions of the specific standards.  To see the standards in full, you must acquire the Adapted Physical Education National Standards Guide. 

Standard 1-Human Development

The foundation of proposed goals and activities for individuals with disabilities is grounded in a basic understanding of human development and its applications to those with various needs.  For the adapted physical education teacher, this implies familiarity with theories and practices related to human development. 

Standard 2-Motor Behavior

Teaching individuals with disabilities requires some knowledge of how individuals develop.  In the case of adapted physical educators, it means having knowledge of typical physical and motor development as well as understanding the influence of developmental delays on these processes.  It also means understanding the principles behind how individuals learn motor skills and applying these principles of motor learning during the planning and teaching of physical education to students with disabilities.

Standard 3-Exercise Science

As an adapted physical educator, you must understand that modifications to the scientific principles of exercise and the application of these principles may be needed when teaching individuals with disabilities to ensure that all children with disabilities enjoy similar benefits of exercise.  While there is a wealth of information in the foundational sciences, the focus of this standard is on the principles that address the physiological and biomechanical applications encountered when working with diverse populations.

Standard 4-Measurement and Evaluation

This standard is one of the foundation standards underscoring the background an adapted physical educator should have in order to comply with the mandates of legislation and meet the needs of students.  Understanding the measurement of motor performance, to a large extent, is based on a good grasp of motor development and the acquisition of motor skills covered in other standards.

Standard 5-History and Philosophy

This standard traces facts regarding legal and philosophical factors involved in current day practices in adapted physical education.  This information is important to understand the changing contribution that physical education can make in the lives of students with disabilities.  Major components of each law that are related to education and physical activity are emphasized.  A review of history and philosophy related to special and general education is also covered in this standard.

Standard 6-Unique Attributes of Learners

This standard refers to information based on the disability areas identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004).  Material is categorically organized in order to present the information in a systematic matter.  This organization is not intended to advocate a categorical approach to teaching children with disabilities.  All children should be treated as individuals and assessed to determine what needs they have.

Standard 7-Curriculum Theory and Development

As you are planning to teach physical education to students with disabilities, you should recognize that certain curriculum theory and development concepts, such as selecting goals based on relevant and appropriate assessments, must be understood by adapted physical educators.  Curriculum theory and development are more than writing unit and lesson plans; they are critical to the development of a comprehensive and developmentally-appropriate program for a student with a disability.

Standard 8-Assessment

This standard addresses the process of assessment, one that is commonly taught as part of the basic measurement and evaluation course in a physical education degree curriculum.  Assessment goes beyond data gathering to include measurements for the purpose of making decisions about special services and program components for individuals with disabilities (e.g., eligibility purposes, determining present level of performance, monitoring student progress, etc.).

Standard 9-Instructional Design and Planning

Instructional design and planning must occur before an adapted physical educator can provide services to meet legal mandates, educational goals, and most importantly, the unique needs of individuals with disabilities.  Many of the principles addressed earlier in human development, motor behavior, exercise science, and curriculum theory and development are applied to this standard in order to successfully design and plan physical education programs. 

Standard 10-Teaching

A major job responsibility for any adapted physical educator is teaching.  In this standard many of the principles addressed earlier in such standard areas as human development, motor behavior, and exercise science are applied to this standard in order to effectively provide quality physical education to individuals with disabilities.

Standard 11-Consultation and Staff Development

As more students with disabilities are included in the general education program, teachers will provide more consultation and staff development activities for colleagues.  This will require sensitivity and excellent collaboration and communication skills.  The dynamics of interdisciplinary cooperation in the consultation process requires knowledge of several consultative models.  This standard identifies key competencies that an adapted physical educator should know related to consultation and staff development.

Standard 12-Student and Program Evaluation

Student evaluation can be either formative or summative and focuses on measuring individual student changes in knowledge, understanding, and physical and motor performance on the curriculum goals and objectives over time as a function of the physical education program. The importance of student evaluation for individuals with disabilities is highlighted in IDEA in the IEP process and procedures. Program evaluation is the process of using student physical education performance data to determine and communicate the degree to which the physical education program goals and objectives are being achieved across all students. Adapted physical educators must play an active role in ensuring that their students with disabilities, whether in GPE or APE, are achieving both their short-term annual IEP goals as well as their long-term physical education program goals.

Standard 13-Continuing Education

The goal of this standard is to focus on adapted physical educators remaining current in their field.  A variety of opportunities for professional development are available with course work at the college or university-level as just one avenue.  Adapted physical educators can take advantage of in-service workshops, seminars, professional development podcasts, and presentations at conferences and conventions as well as distance learning opportunities.

Standard 14-Ethics

A fundamental premise within the APENS is that those who seek and meet the standards to be certified as adapted physical educators will strive at all times to adhere to the highest of ethical standards in providing programs and services for children and youth with disabilities. This standard has been developed to ensure that its members not only understand the importance of sound ethical practices, but also adhere to and advance such practices.

Standard 15-Communication

In recent years, the role of the professional in adapted physical education has evolved from being a direct service provider to include communicating with families and other professionals in order to enhance program instruction for individuals with disabilities. This standard includes information regarding the adapted physical educator effectively communicating with families and other professionals using a team approach in order to enhance service delivery to individuals with disabilities.