Assessments Enable PE Teachers to Grade Students Based on Actual Performance Toward Individual Goal
New assessment software uses personalized heart rate data to enable teachers to deliver objective PE evaluation of each student during physical education class.
With data that shows how often students met workout goals, PE teachers can use the data for several purposes:
- Incorporating data in determining student grade
- Promote student-teacher conversations about effort, class participation
- Educate parents about student performance
Using Objective PE Evaluation as a Factor in Student Grading
Empowered by daily workout data specific to each student collected by the IHT ZONE heart rate monitor wrist heart rate monitors and analyzed by IHT Spirit System software, teachers are confident moving away from grading students on their perceived level of class participation. Teachers assign students goals to exercise for a specific amount of time at a moderate to vigorous level (MVPA) and grade based on student progress toward that goal.
“We include their time in the [MVPA] zone as part of their grade,” said Portage Central (Mich.) Middle School PE teacher John Dunlop. “Students who weren’t in the target zone for 50 percent of the time lost a few performance points.”
While teachers debate how they incorporate the data into each student’s grade, they agree that having easily-collected objective data helps them assess students on specific standards.
“There’s a huge debate out there,” said Mitchell (SD) Middle School PE and Health teacher Cheryl Miller. “Do you use that for grading? Don’t you use that for grading? I don’t really care what side of that coin you end up on, but it’s still nice to have all of that information at your fingertips. We have standards for a reason. Even if we aren’t grading on those, we have to be accountable for them. This helps us be accountable.”
Ridge View (Iowa) High School PE teacher Justin Kinney takes that information and focuses on helping his students improve their performance.
“For me personally, one thing that I wanted to do better was to assess PE better,” Kinney said. “At the same time, the focus is on the students, not for them to get a good grade or be assessed better. We want to help them learn the knowledge, so they can be healthy throughout their lives.”
Providing a Platform for Key Student-Teacher Conversation
The ability to provide objective PE evaluation enables teachers to have meaningful conversations with students who have questions about why they might be struggling to achieve goals.
At Draper (N.Y.) Middle School, PE teacher Doug Hallberg formed a connection with a student who didn’t give her best effort during a class. The student, a track athlete, spent a fraction of her workout time exercising in the target heart rate zone. With her workout data at hand, Hallberg had a frank discussion with the student about that day’s challenge and how she could meet her goals in subsequent classes. As Kinney explained, explaining a lifelong skill is more important than assigning a short-term grade.
“She didn’t lose any points… that’s not what I’m about,” Hallberg said. “It’s not about the grade. It was about the ability to have that conversation with her and have data to back it up.”
Providing objective PE evaluation also increases students’ motivation to reach their goal for minutes spent exercising at an elevated heart rate.
“We start moving as soon as we are out of the locker room, and they want to maximize the time in the zone,” Dunlop said. “I see a lot of jogging in place while they are waiting for everyone else to pick up their monitors.”
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