This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Recess policy implementation: Beliefs and perceptions of site-based decision-makers




Brickman, Charlene Woodham

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


This elicitation study examined the beliefs and perceptions of site-based decisions-makers regarding recess policy implementation. This study was conducted at a public elementary school located in a district in Northeast Georgia. This site was chosen due to their policy defining recess as a daily unstructured break and mandating a minimum of 30 minutes for students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Further, it states that it cannot be reduced or eliminated for instructional needs and only as a behavioral consequence as an administrative decision. But as policies are often created without the input of teachers and administrators, and therefore, seen as arbitrary (Chin & Asera, 2005), policy does not ensure implementation (Amis et al., 2012; Jarrett, 2013; Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2013). Using the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991) as a theoretical framework, this study examined what administrators and teachers communicated as to their salient behavioral beliefs (attitude), normative beliefs (subjective norms) and control beliefs (perceived behavioral control) relative to implementation of the district’s written recess policy. These site-based decision-makers reported advantages to implementing this policy such as providing students a mental break and an unstructured time for play and socialization. Further, the data analysis determined that site-based decision-makers reported disadvantages such as the policy being too rigid and that teachers desired the authority to use recess deprivation as a consequence for negative behavior or a time for instruction/remediation. For subjective norms, the participants in this study reported a perceived approval from parents, teachers and administrators when implementing the policy. However, they also reported that some teachers would not approve and that those who felt that recess should be reduced or denied to students as a behavioral consequence would not approve of the policy being implemented as written. Demographic factors such as years of experience and area of certification were found to be associated with beliefs about implementing recess policy. This study acknowledges that these results cannot be generalized but may be used in conducting future studies which can assist in creating interventions that will support the implementation of written recess policies and therefore support the whole child.