The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for Health Education are content standards and provide an outline for curriculum development. They are not a curriculum, nor do they constitute objectives for a curriculum. However, they reflect the most recent concept in health curricula, which is to provide a framework from which curricula can be developed that are appropriate for state and local needs. The GPS for Health Education are based on the eight National Health Education Standards, copyright 2007, developed by the Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards which consisted of representatives from the following organizations and agencies: American Association for Health Education, American School Health Association, American Public Health Association, and the Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
The National and Georgia Standards for Health Education are designed to incorporate into a curricula the following six priority adolescent risk behaviors identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and other Drug Use, Injury and Violence (including Suicide), Tobacco Use, Poor Nutrition, Inadequate Physical Activity, and Risky Sexual Behavior. The standards also are designed to encompass a wide range of the following common content areas: Community Health, Consumer Health, Environmental Health, Family Life, Mental/Emotional Health, Injury Prevention/Safety, Nutrition, Personal Health, Prevention/Control of Disease, and Substance Use/Abuse. (Table 1 shows the relationship between the National Health Education Standards, Common Health Education Content Areas, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Adolescent Risk Behaviors.)
The standards reflect what a health educated student should know and be able to do at each grade level (K-12). The eight Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education with accompanying elements are provided for each grade level. The elements are provided to further define the knowledge and skills that are expected of students at the end of a lesson or unit of study. Examples are provided for each element and can serve as guidelines for assessing student performance. Rather than defining curriculum, these standards provide guidance for designing appropriate health education curriculum. In addition, the standards demonstrate that health education has meaningful, significant content and measurable outcomes. The standards can and should be used to guide the development of state frameworks (ultimately helping to develop local curriculum) and /or directly guide the design of local curriculum, instruction, and assessment.