Teachers are utilizing PE assessment software to accurately gauge daily student performance.
“I feel that the once subjective evaluations are non-existent,” said Jackie Clark, PE teacher at River Rock (Wisc.) Intermediate School.
Clark added the IHT Spirit System PE assessment software to her program for the current school year. Her students wear IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors to record their heart rate data during a PE session. Students then transfer the data from the ZONE HRMs to the Spirit System, where the software delivers an immediate assessment of student performance.
“I now have concrete data where my students can really personalize their own fitness level and set realistic goals based on their data,” Clark said.
By utilizing the PE assessment software, teachers have moved away from relying on small glimpses of a student’s participation to measure performance. The software allows teachers to measure student and class performance in several ways:
- total time spent exercising
- time spent exercising in the target heart rate zone
- percentage of class to meet the daily goal for time spent exercising in target heart rate zone
“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 PE,” said Justin Kinney, a PE teacher at Ridge View (Iowa) High School. “We can now assess students adequately in PE. Instead of it being our opinion, now we are able to do that even better and that’s been the biggest impact in the traditional PE classes.”
With the knowledge that the heart rate data available to them in the Spirit System will give them a clear picture of overall class performance, teachers feel more comfortable providing specific students with real-time feedback as needed during a class session.
“Now I can actually observe my students correctly and properly, make sure they are doing everything,” said Chris Amundson, PE teacher at Crestview (Iowa) School of Inquiry. “I can maybe observe a couple of kids every day and give them feedback. That’s the thing I’ve been really happy with.”
Teachers count on the cumulative data they can pull from the system in the form of easy-to-read reports. Those reports provide a clear assessment of each class at a school and each school in a district, something administrators rely on.
“I can’t be in 14 schools at once, but I can check the system and see how each student did on a given day, and that’s huge,” said Deak Swearingen, the Adaptive Physical Education Teacher Consultant for Ann Arbor (Mich.) Public Schools. “For parents, it gives them a way to see exactly what we are learning in the classroom.”
Using the assessment software to share detailed PE data with parents has helped make parent-teacher conferences much more informative.
“My kids spent 57 percent of the time that they are with me in or above their target heart rate, and I have that rate set pretty high,” said Doug Hallberg, PE teacher at Draper (NY) Middle School. “I think it’s something like 122,000 minutes . Those are real numbers I can talk to kids about, that I can talk to parents about, that I can talk to my administration about. This is real data.”
Having the real data enables teachers and parents to make the most of the short time they have during traditional conference settings.
“The difficult thing about parent-teacher conferences with PE is that everything is so physical,” said Portage Central (Mich.) Middle School PE teacher John Dunlop. “We don’t do a lot of testing, a lot of writing. There’s not a lot of objective data to share with parents. Well, now I finally had that in the heart-rate data to share with each parent of each individual kid. Plus, I had all of the fitness data too. Literally, with a laptop computer in front of me and four or five minutes, I can show parents some clear-cut data about what their kid is doing in class and they were blown away by it.”