Standardizing Physical Education Classes

Whether it is in the weight room, the gym, or outside the indoor track, every student has had to take a written exam in physical education at least a few times each year. Yet, few seem to understand why this policy exists and whether or not it has any substantial benefits.

When most students envision a typical physical education class, they assume that one’s grade is solely based on participation. It seems simple enough: show up to class prepared, put in effort, and you are guaranteed a good grade.

Gregory Slonim ’15 says gym is strictly about “physical activity,” therefore, “there shouldn’t be any written exams.”

Although class participation is weighed much more than exams (80% to 10%), students should remember that because Tech is a specialized school, where there is an underlying pressure to prioritize testing. Thus, it is no surprise that we are assessed in physical education.

While students like Jackie Jiang ’17 may claim, “gym should be fun,” some believe in the significance of these examinations that the Physical Education department has expanded upon.

Ms. Besler, a physical education and health teacher said, “I love my job—that’s why I do it,” stresses the importance of having such assessments.

Exams motivate students. They get us invested in the class because we realize that we are going to be assessed, giving the class a place on our list of priorities.

After all, what is the point of taking a whole marking period worth of basketball if you don’t learn the rules and regulations? How can we ever be expected to stay active as we mature if we don’t know how to engage in basic sports?

In Tech’s defense, Ms. Besler added, “Tech offers a variety of sports.”

From weight training to capoeira, the exposure to different sports gives us plenty of leeway to find a sport that we actually enjoy and can take part in after we graduate from Tech. If we ever decide to hit the gym, we will know how to perform leg extensions and chest presses, which is something that most of us take for granted at the moment.

In a society that is growing increasingly dependent on technology and staying home rather than playing outside, it is very important that we still know how to kick a soccer ball.

In fact, Ms. Besler said that she doesn’t blame adolescents for their lack of enthusiasm toward physical education.

“You could not get me to run,” she admitted, reminiscing on her own high school experiences.

These assessments are not meant to be some elaborate ruse to torment students. We should take advantage of the information that our teachers are offering us because one’s health is irreplaceable, and learning how to protect something so indispensable can only have positive outcomes.

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