Should P.E. Classes Be Graded Based on Effort Instead of Athletic Capabilities?

physical education classes

There is an ongoing debate in schools around the world about whether students in Physical Education (P.E.) classes should be graded differently depending on the amount of effort they put, but this is a controversial topic with many varying opinions weighing in.

Of course, P.E. is so essential these days, especially with the growing concerns of medical problems such as obesity, other weight-related medical conditions, increasing sedentary lifestyles, and more, especially when it comes to children and teenagers. Today, we’re going to explore both sides to ensure you can make up your own mind.

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A Case Study

Back in 2019, Nick Senske, a seventh-grade student in Florida, was running around his school track when he succumbs to an asthma attack and couldn’t breathe. He was fine after going to the hospital, but it sparked the discussion where it was discovered he was planned to receive a B in the class. The running assessment he had been given a 60% mark in, although he was giving 100% effort.

This is a very interesting idea because not people are made for sport. Some people are naturally athletic, and others really enjoy getting involved in sports. However, this doesn’t equate to everybody, and some people just don’t enjoy sports or will be the fastest nor the most successful from a competitive standpoint, but that doesn’t mean they don’t put the effort in to try.

This can be discouraging for students even to try at all, and they won’t focus on being healthy. If your children or students resemble this, you can find information on braceyourhealth that could help.

So, with this in mind, should students who are less physically able be penalized for this?

The Student Comparison

To take this idea a little deeper, consider the current long jump criteria. To get an A, students must jump a certain distance, but this distance is the same for each child. If you compare the jumping abilities of a six-foot child and a five-foot child, of course, the taller student is going to have the physical advantage.

Every child has a different limit to their abilities, and nobody knows this better than the child themselves. With this in mind, it’s argued that students should be graded on their personal performance, not in comparison to others or based on averages.

Some of the key areas students should instead be graded on include; sportsmanship, participation, behaviour in lessons, effort, rate of improvement and traits of similar ilk. While it’s hard for teachers to grade on these subjects, a level of trust is needed with the students, and teachers need to be more aware of the needs and abilities of each individual student.

While difficult at the beginning of the year, teachers and students will form a relationship over the year in which it should be easy to tell, as well as being able to use their experience as a teacher gained over the years. Of course, schools could also introduce self-evaluations that can allow for this process to happen more successfully and easier for all involved.


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