Assessment Data Enables Parents to Engage with Physical Education
Detailed Reports Remove Guesswork, Allow Parents to Follow Students’ PE Performance
By providing them with tangible assessment data, PE teachers have gained very helpful allies to keep students on track with their physical and social development.
Through data collected in the IHT Spirit System®, teachers can link parents to their students’ PE performance on a regular basis through:
- Workout summary emails following each session
- Documented reporting to address any social-emotional behavioral issue
- Summary assessment detail reports detailing student progress
“The difficult thing about parent-teacher conferences with PE is that everything is so physical,” said Portage Central (Mich.) PE teacher John Dunlop. “We don’t do a lot of testing, a lot of writing. [Until now] there’s not a lot of objective data to share with parents.”
PE Assessment Software Links Parents to Students’ Heart Rate Data
Dunlop began using the IHT Spirit System in 2016-17 and immediately took advantage of the software’s ability to assess student performance based on heart rate. Students wear IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitors during class.
The Spirit System Assessment Measures software analyzes the each student’s data, sending an email immediately after class to student and parent – the first step of engagement, and a step welcomed by parents.
“I finally had that in the heart-rate data to share with each parent of each individual student,” Dunlop said. “Plus I had all of the fitness data too. Literally, with a laptop computer in front of me and four or five minutes, I could show the parents some clear-cut data about what their kid is doing in class and they were blown away by it. Having that data and being able to show it to parents helped them understand why their kid got a certain grade. You can show objectively who is working hard. It is no longer a subjective thing. Now it’s done fairly.”
At Pine Middle School (Nev.), PE teacher Jenice Fagan added the IHT Zone monitors to her curriculum in a study with teachers at six other Washoe School District campuses. While students strived to meet goals during class, parents told Fagan they appreciated the connection to PE that the reports provided them.
“I learn how hard my daughter works in P.E. in getting her heart rate up, and I learned that she is not as happy as she could be with where her heart rate is during exercise, so now she is constantly pushing herself,” said Juleen Ruiz, a parent of one of Fagan’s students.
Assessment Data Opens Avenue for Key Discussions
Other than the traditional conference on parent-teacher night, PE teachers usually only engage with parents when an issue arises. Prior to the prevalence of data, the issue focused on a difference of opinion. The student thinks they’ve worked hard while the teacher disagreed. With data in hand, the ensuing parent-teacher conference takes on a much different feel, said Mitchell Middle School PE teacher Cheryl Miller.
“I can tell you that when we have a parent that is on a roll about a student’s struggles not being the student’s fault it’s very nice to able, with the click of a mouse, to pull up the report and give the parent a true picture of what’s going on in class,” Miller said.
Miller added the IHT Spirit System to her curriculum for the 2017-18 school year and immediately created assessments to track student progress in both physical and social-emotional fitness. In years past, she noticed that students who struggled academically often struggled behaviorally.
By tracking behavioral issues, Miller could have conversations with students – and parents – about specific areas of improvement. And linking the parent into the process helps speed up behavioral improvement.
“Once the parent sees that some of these behaviors are happening, change happens very quickly,” Miller said. “In those cases, I often get emails from the parents in the next few days making sure things have gotten better.”