Teacher Develops Metrics to Assess Students on Key Behaviors and Build on Relationship Between Fitness, Academic Success
A creative teacher uses PE assessment software to develop a platform to help students improve their social and emotional wellness by reinforcing positive performance and proactively meeting with students when issues arise.
Mitchell Middle School (South Dakota) teacher Cheryl Miller added IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitors to her curriculum, but she wanted to do more than measure each students’ physical growth during the year. Taking a big picture approach to overall health, she also wanted a way to help students see ways they could improve themselves behaviorally as well.
“We previously called it personal and social responsibility,” Miller said, referring to a former nationally-recognized PE learning standard. “The big thing that’s come on the scene in the last year or so has been social and emotional learning.”
Miller’s no stranger to teaching those skills to her students. In fact, she sees a direct relationship to a student’s ability to master social and emotional skills and their performance in any classroom, both her P.E. class or their other academic classes.
“It’s interesting that if I pull up a student’s social and emotional report and I see a student who is struggling in that area, 9 times out of 10, they are struggling academically in my classroom,” she said. “It’s very easy to see the connection between the two.”
When Miller moved from her former heart rate monitors to the IHT Zone monitors, she also took advantage of the IHT Spirit Assessment Measures software. Many key assessments are already programmed into the IHT Spirit System, but Miller created her own using the PE assessment software.
“Working with the IHT assessments, I created what I wanted for myself and it works perfectly,” Miller said.
Each class period, Miller assesses students on both their physical and behavioral performance. She did her homework before the school year to create her ideal assessment, and she sees the fruits of her labor every day.
“Every single class period,” she said. “It takes me 2 minutes.”
With the data entered into her Spirit System classes, Miller can generate a number of reports to serve any purpose, just as she would with her regular fitness assessments:
- Individual reports that enable her to have personal conversations with each student or;
- Summary reports showing percentage of class that met the daily goal.
While she can rely on the heart rate monitors to assess each students’ physical performance – are they meeting their daily goal of minutes spent exercising in the target heart rate zone? – assessing behavioral skills is more manual. Her assessment offers the teacher a chance to note when students aren’t meeting the standard.
Miller uses the data she collects to help facilitate conversations with both students and parents. The most telling conversations, she said, come with parents who don’t understand why their child might be experiencing difficulties in class.
“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. “We can detail what the behavior has been. We can have a real discussion about what’s happening with that student when it comes to those 5 competencies.”
P.E. teachers have been assessing students on national standards for years, but with the Spirit System PE assessment software, she has tangible data to assess students on the new Standard 4: “the physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.”
“Even if we weren’t grading it, we had to be accountable for it somehow,” Miller said. “This helps us be accountable for that.”