By removing opinion-based physical education assessment, technology helps teachers deliver meaningful, immediate feedback to students and program-wide data to administrators.
Teachers using the IHT Spirit System P.E. assessment software no longer have to guess about which students worked hard to meet daily goals. The IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitors, worn by students during P.E. class, record the students’ heart rate data and then transfers the data to the Spirit System following class.
“The best thing for us is that it gives us a quality way of assessing it, instead of sitting back and kind of saying, ‘well, that student kind of went hard’ or ‘they didn’t go hard’ and poorly assessing P.E.,” said Justin Kinney, a P.E. teacher at Ridge View High School. “We can now assess students adequately in P.E.”
Students receive immediate feedback about whether they met the teacher’s class goal for total minutes spent exercising at an elevated heart rate. Teachers receive an objective look at which students met that goal, moving their program beyond the subjective days of teachers trying to gauge student effort simply by watching a workout. Students and parents receive an email detailing the day’s performance.
By connecting through the Spirit System heart rate monitor software, teachers receive reports that show:
- Breakdown of each student’s individual performance of minutes spent exercising at an elevated heart rate and whether they met goal;
- Total minutes the class spent exercising in target heart rate zones; and
- Percentage and number of students who met the class goal.
For teachers such as Kinney, having student and class data available to review either with parents or administrators at the touch of a button helps a P.E. program stand on its own accord.
“Instead of it being our opinion – and my personal opinion on P.E. is that assessment is huge in building your program and solidifying yourself as a professional – now we are able to do that even better and that’s been the biggest impact in the traditional PE classes,” Kinney said.
At IDEA Public Schools, P.E. Curriculum Manager Eren Kirksey uses the P.E. data to show other administrators the impact P.E. has on preparing students for their academic courses.
“Everybody needs X amount of minutes in physical education every week, not from a standpoint of statewide [standards] but just to be smarter,” Kirskey said. “This is a way we can get hard data about how long the students are active before they sit down. A 20 minute recess period isn’t enough. This data will help us get the scholars where they need to be.”
The data is crucial for teachers who factor whether students met the daily goal into their grade. Portage Central Middle School teacher John Dunlop has shared student data with parents when questions about grading arise.
“Having that data and being able to show it to parents helped them understand why their kid got a certain grade,” he said. “You can show objectively who is working hard. It is no longer a subjective thing. Now it’s done fairly. To have it to share with the kids and parents and to use it as a teacher, this is something that is very beneficial,” Dunlop said.
The data’s not simply about being able to grade students or asses students based on their individual performance. It allows teachers to motivate students to learn how to exercise well for future success.
“We want to help them learn the knowledge so they can be healthy throughout their lives,” Kinney said. “I think it’s both things. Personally, yes, the assessment has been wonderful. Professionally, in helping students get where they want to be and where we want them to be, that’s been the best part.”
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