Heart rate monitors are an unfair way of assessing students, especially if “heart rate days” are being counted as summative assessments. Heart rate monitor straps are one of the main components that make up a student’s grade, in the physical education (PE) curriculum at LT. Classes that you would not think require this, such as Basic Self Defense for Girls, require a bi-weekly assessment using the heart rate monitor straps. There is no reason students should be attaining a low grade in PE, due to failure to meet the 25-minute threshold needed in order to to receive an A.
Students who tend to be more active outside of class have a harder time raising their heart rate than students who only participate in physical activity during PE class. This is unfair due to the fact that heart rate monitors do not measure how fit you are, but just measure the speed of your heart rate. The amount of work put in by each student varies; often students with higher fitness levels have to work harder than those with lower fitness levels. Working harder while using a heart rate monitor during class does not correlate with higher merit and may even result in a lower grade.
This system does not need to be eliminated from the entire curriculum, but should be counted as a formative experience instead of a summative. Another possible alternative is students could be assessed on their participation levels on heart rate monitor days, instead of how long they were in their target heart rate zone. It’s important to reiterate that students should not be failing PE class, especially if they are already in good physical shape. These assessments should be used to gauge how hard students need to work in order to reach their target heart rate zone.
This could be utilized by students when exercising outside of school, because they would then have an idea of what they need to do in order to have a successful workout. Students should use heart rate monitor days as a way to get some physical activity by participating in a fun type of exercise such as Just Dance, or a basketball game with friends. Many students already carry a heavy class load and shouldn’t have to stress about PE.
Schools should be pushing students towards success, but the use of heart rate monitors in the PE curriculum is sending a certain group of students towards failure, by no fault of their own. It should be much easier for students to maintain a high PE grade, especially if they are giving full participation. While these assessments can be made up to improve the initial grade during a lunch or study hall period, why would we deprive students of time to get school work done or give up their lunch period? The concept of heart rate monitor use as summative assessments in PE classes needs to be reevaluated by administrators in charge of the curriculum.