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New PE rubric enforces reasonable fitness standards for students

SIS requires students to take at least two years of PE regardless of athletic ability. As both Physical Education 9 and Life Sports are graduate requirements, it is clear that the school takes these courses seriously. Recently, however, students who take Life Sports have been complaining that definite standards in evaluating fitness skills are not fair because athletic abilities vary among all students. Contrary to student opinion, however, the standards are reasonable and beneficial.
In the past, students’ grades were only evaluated by how much they improved throughout the unit. However, according to Tamara Atanaskovic, PE teacher, students purposely underperformed to feign improvement. If students do not try their best, they defeat the purpose of the course, which aims to teach the importance of an active lifestyle. Therefore, to ensure that students learn from PE courses as they would from academic courses, the department’s decision to implement a standardized rubric for fitness is reasonable.
Students’ concerns are understandable because PE is required for all students despite varying athletic abilities. However, according to the PE department, the new fitness rubric is not unreasonable because it is based on standards for the average 11-year-old. For instance, while girls have to do more than 20 push-ups in order to achieve full credit, they can still earn 95 percent by completing only two. Although the standards for receiving full marks may be challenging for some, the rubric ensures that those students do not get extremely low grades as most grades from the rubric start above 90 percent.
The change in the rubric is a direct result of students’ unwillingness to participate in the different physical activities during fitness classes. If they had diligently engaged in fitness tests from the beginning, teachers would have adhered to past standards. However, because students showed a lack of motivation during fitness units, teachers had no choice but to create new standards that would motivate more participants and help them in the long run. Therefore, students should not solely condemn the new system with bias, but rather embrace it because the new rubric will benefit both the teachers and the students.

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