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Physical Education: Should it be Graded? Counted in GPA?

rutgersmammarutgersmamma Posts: 350Registered User Member
edited September 2009 in Parent Cafe
Had a thoughtful conversation over the holiday weekend. There were 3 states represented (all treat gym classes differently) plus a couple of private schools. A wide variety of opinions were expressed, so thought I'd continue it here. This is a largely an academic group, so some may prefer their kid had the time during the school day to take another AP class rather than 'waste' the school day playing games, etc.

Should p.e. classes be required? (If so, how much?) graded? (If so, how?) count toward the GPA? (If it's counted toward the GPA wouldn't colleges remove it for their GPA calculations, making some of the argument against counting it a nonissue?) If music is graded and counts toward the GPA, why not p.e. class? Should these classes be considered a stress-reliever for the kids or should it be a "crack the whip and work until your tongue is hanging out" course? Maybe it shouldn't even be offered. Maybe we should spend those dollars elsewhere in the curriculum. Does the school (and therefore the phys. ed. program) play a role in the battle against obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, etc? Can you really make the proverbial horse drink? What responsibility does the school have in preparing students with regard to health and fitness?
Post edited by rutgersmamma on
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Replies to: Physical Education: Should it be Graded? Counted in GPA?

  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    required - Yes!
    graded - Yes!
    GPA calc - Yes! High schools can't control what colleges do. They also might not count wood shop or art but that should be graded as well.

    Phys Ed can and should be far more than picking teams for dodge ball. Untalented kids can do well in phys ed and talented kids can fail - I have seen this.
    Of course, some schools and teachers don't do much more than babysitting but that's a whole 'nother issue.

    If the school has the responsibility to teach math, science, english and history they can also teach about health and fitness. One could even go so far as count it as science education.
  • NorthEastMom2NorthEastMom2 Posts: 387Registered User Junior Member
    I'm in NJ, which requires 4 years of PE, and it is graded and included in the GPA. It also includes one quarter per year of health or drivers ed.

    Why is PE ever considered related to fitness ? In a 45 minute class period, they get 5 - 10 minutes on either end to change, another 5 to walk to the field, another 5 to come back in. Not to mention another 5 - 10 just getting organized. There is very little in the way of actual physical activity. They can't take showers any more, so for those kids who really sweat with physical exertion, there's a disincentive to actively participate. It seems like a huge waste of time and effort to me.

    I think they should require PE for 2 years, but drop it Junior/Senior years.
  • Nova10Nova10 Posts: 699Registered User Member
    In IL, PE is required for 3.5 years. The other semester is health class. At my high school, freshman and sophomore gym was a general PE course. For Junior/Senior year, you could choose which class. You could pick a general course, adventure ed, aquatics, aerobics, etc. The period was 50 minutes long. Most of the grade was based on attendance and attitude. PE was the only required course not calculated in the academic GPA, but was counted in the all subject GPA.
  • blankmindblankmind Posts: 2,006Registered User Senior Member
    I think PE should be required, along with Art & Music. It is important to be exposed to as many different areas as possible in order to be well educated.

    As for the grading & GPA questions, my first thought was, no. But my second thought is, why not? The kid who isn't a natural at math, or has no interest in science, has to take the ding on their GPA, so why should Art or Music or PE be any different? And maybe this would help relieve some of the pressure to achieve the perfect GPA. Every student would have their "bad" subject, and the true "Renaissance Man" would stand out.

    If I ruled the academic world, I would have PE classes set up so that students could choose from a variety of activities, like a Running for Beginners class or an Archery class. The grade would be based on acquiring knowledge of the sport, understanding what physical & mental qualities makes one successful in the sport, learning the rules of competition for the sport, learning about the history of the sport, and who the great participants have been. Hopefully classes like these could lead to the development of a love for the sport, but if not, at least an understanding for why someone else might.
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 3,020Registered User Senior Member
    My thoughts on PE - what is the purpose of it? If it is for exercise for the kids, why do those who practice a school-sponsored sport every day after school have to take it? If it is to learn about health and wellness, it is not working as it is currently structured in our district. I don't mind it being graded, here your grade is based on participation and not necessarily on athletic prowess. The school started offering summer gym a couple of years ago to accommodate those who want to take more academic classes, which I think is a good idea. I know the phys ed dept is talking about overhauling the system and calling the classes "wellness", incorporating health education and hoping to instill lifetime exercise habits by offering options and choices in gym class.
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,370Registered User Senior Member
    We have PE all four years, it's graded Pass, Fail and High Pass and doesn't count in the GPA. That's fine with me.

    My high school had different grading systems every year, but I recall one year they gave one grade for skills and one for effort. I also recall one year they gave me a C in a calisthenics class whereas my best friend who had a seasonal sport and therefore had more of a relationship with the teacher got an A - our behavior in class was no different - I did just as many jumping jacks and the like as she did. It crabbed me no end. (Still does.) I switched to only doing modern dance as my sport after that.

    I also think that kids doing a team sport shouldn't have to take the PE classes. (And my kids aren't on teams.)
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,187Registered User Senior Member
    At my daughters school if you were on a school team, that counted for a qtr of PE.
    She was on school and rec league teams all through school.
    Im so glad she was, her friends that took PE complained bitterly about the teacher and I agree with them.
    ( she set the standards for weight lifting class and if you didn't meet them, your grade suffered accordingly)
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Posts: 4,563Registered User Senior Member
    In my kids high school, if you found a reason NOT to participate in Fitness, i.e. sick, forgot gym clothes - then you could not play or practice that day in your sport. Even if it was the last home football game and you were Captain.

    I think exempting athletes leads to resentment and the elevation of status. If you are on the Math team you don't get out of math class.
    The sports they play in Fitness class were not the same as the school sports. My two sport athlete learned a sport in Fitness that she then played competitively in college.
  • walkinghomewalkinghome Posts: 6,933Registered User Senior Member
    At my son's HS, PE is mandatory for one semester each year in HS and MS and is graded. The kids learn the rules of sports (and have tests on them), try out yoga and kick boxing, weight training, jogging and all the normal sports. My non-athletic kids have gotten A's an B's.

    I think a good alternative is one like emeralkity4's school, where students in a team sport (or marching band!) can be exempted from gym.
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Posts: 5,828Registered User Senior Member
    I believe Maryland requires 1 credit of PE. I don't think that's enough.

    I like the 4-year requirement. But I doubt Md will go that far without granting credit for school sports.

    GPA? I think all classes should be counted in the GPA...especially those that are required for graduation, including PE.
  • BigGBigG Posts: 3,885Registered User Senior Member
    Just a thought; Could the military's success in teaching recruits complex skills be attributed in part to the PT requirement in the services? Run them until they don't get "itchy butt" in class.

    I think taking P.E. away from boys accounts for some grade disparity despite high SAT scores.

    P.E. should be graded but only pass/fail.
    Real exercise should be involved for those who want or need it . Slacking should be permitted but not enouraged for less athetic types.
    This is worth our education money.

    American teachers are about the only ones in the world too lazy to fool with "recess". Flames invited. You know its true!!!
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Posts: 16,742Registered User Senior Member
    Here in WA there is a mandatory health and fitness component of PE which cannot be waivered out (regular PE can be if a kid participates in HS team sports - 4 seasons of HS sport counts as 1 year of PE, I believe) and is graded. Grading PE classes is a sensitive issue. What counts more towards the grade - a kid's athletic ability and performance or his/her effort, participation and willingness to try new things?
  • hops_scouthops_scout Posts: 3,898Registered User Senior Member
    Yes it SHOULD be required. And not like it's "required" now. Where you can get an exemption for just about anything to get out of it. Play a varsity sport? Out of PE. Play in the marching band? Out of PE. Want to take an "academic" class? Out of PE. Pain in the a$$? Out of PE. Lazy? Out of PE.

    PE should be required EVERY DAY 5 days a week every semester you are in school.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,187Registered User Senior Member
    I disagree that PE should be everyday for all students ( I do think physical fitness is important and D's college has even denied graduation to people who didn't complete their PE credits)
    We don't have the money or the time.
    Varsity sports are often coached by the same people who would be teaching a PE class.
    Schools do not generally have enough money to hire them to teach full time ( 5 classes x 30 students) as well as coach a sport after school for three hours every day.
    I would rather see every student required to participate in a sport- for three semesters, or better yet- have active recess required for elementary through middle school.
    ;)
  • Beil1958Beil1958 Posts: 583Registered User Member
    Bunsen, I'd say there's nothing wrong with grading on athletic ability/performance. Take music for example, those who perform the piece with the fewest errors sit first chair, perform the solos and get good grades in music class. Or take math class, the math teacher isn't all that sympathetic when students say they've given their best effort, but failed to come up with the right answer. Why is is wrong to give the athletic student an 'A' and the clumsy one a 'B' or worse?
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