Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Elaine A. Blair, Ph.D.


Recess contributes to enhanced academic performance as well as social, emotional and physical development of the child. All of these are important parts of a successful education. Yet, time on recess is being reduced due to increased focus on academic performance on standardized tests. This study examined administrators', teachers' and students' perception of recess to get a better understanding about current practices, what drives these practices, and whether they correspond to the practices advocated by current research. Surveys and interview questions were used to investigate the current length and frequency of recess at public schools, whether there are significant behavior problems during recess, the factors that determine the decision on recess, whether recess impacts classroom behavior, whether students are physically active, the presence of social interactions, and how students feel about recess at the elementary schools. Twenty four elementary school principals from ten different states participated in the interview through telephone or e-mail about recess practices at their school. The collected data analysis found that the majority of the participating schools had 20 to 30 minutes recess once a day, and striving for better test scores on standardized tests played a role in the amount of time on recess as well as state requirements for physical activity and recess.