P.E. Gets an A+

Nicolette Peterson, Senior Staff Writer

This year’s new implementation of assessments at the end of each unit in Physical Education has left many students wondering whether the course is leaning towards an academic grading system.

According to P.E. teacher Merion George, the decision to have assessments in gym class was made in a department meeting earlier this year. While little flexibility existed when scheduling yearly activities for P.E. classes, George and P.E. teacher Jacques Rivera saw a need for implementing a change in routine to insure heightened engagement during class periods.

The decision to create tests and quizzes recapping each PE unit was ultimately made to fulfill the primary goal of gym class: encouraging student to be active. George believes that for many students, knowing that each unit will be concluded with an assessment solidifies information from class and enhances focus.

According to George, disinterest in sports often originates from an ignorance of necessary skills and techniques required in playing the sport. Growing up, he enjoyed playing badminton, a sport whose rules are not often familiar among American students. George believes that as a result of their unfamiliarity with the sport, few American students develop an interest in badminton. He wonders, “How can a student enjoy something they don’t understand?” With the implementation of P.E. assessments on basic skillsets required in playing various sports, he says students develop a greater appreciation towards those sports they had not previously understood.

Unlike academic courses, tests and quizzes in P.E. do not serve as a significant portion of a student’s grade. Consisting of ten simple, often one-word answers that are all reviewed before the assessment is taken, they are meant to demonstrate a student’s level of attention and focus and to reiterate the student’s overall effort to the teacher. However, George says “an eight out of ten doesn’t necessarily mean you get an eighty percent in the class.”

George anticipates a continuation of tests and quizzes in future P.E. classes. He says, “If the students can leave us learning something different, something more about sports they never understood before, I think that can only be a good thing.”