Common Core Requires Written Work in Gym Classes

By Anna Ng’15 and Amy Li’15

Gym class now includes written tests and projects on top of physical tests and regular activities because of the new common core standards.

“Students are not familiar with common core assignment so now that it is introduced to them, they don’t take it seriously,” said Donna Bishun’15.

The common core standards are led by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief School Officers. Its mission is to show students what they are expected to learn and know based on their grade levels. The standards are based on real world applications to help students prepare for college and succeed in the future.

Mr. Steve Basile, a physical education teacher, said the federal government of the United States suggested the common core standards and states are being offered money for its public schools to pass the common core tasks to students. Because New York City took the money, public school teachers are now told to give out common core tasks, including written assignments and tests, and projects to their students.

The tests are gym related depending on the different gym classes. Yoga class tests ask for names of the poses demonstrated. Yoga fusion classes are asked the benefits of different types of exercises and how they help. Weight training tests include naming exercises and what parts of your body are used for the exercise.

This is a very stressful time for students and adding gym tests is not in the best interest for students,” said Mr. Basile.

Most students believe that these new rules are not useful. Since it’s a gym class, the idea would be to just do physical exercise. In their view, it wastes time and the class is starting to seem more like health.

“These tests are absolutely not necessary; they ask simple minded questions that waste time and paper,” said Timmy Dhakaia’15. “Gym class is to perform a designated workout, not to reflect what you’ve learned onto a piece of paper. We have enough of that in our other classes.”

“Instead of tests, we should be incorporating physical activities to help students stay healthy,” said Anas Cheema’16.

Steven Zhang’14 said,“No gym assignments should be a necessary assignment because gym doesn’t even count towards your average. It’s also a burden for the teachers to grade them. Gym is a way to bring some fun into the day; it’s the only class students get to move around and not have to worry about a drop in their grades.”

On the other hand, some students take the common core as a benefit for them in gym class.

“I think it’s a good idea because we learn about what we do in gym and the benefits of exercising daily,” said Kieying Li’15.

The common core homework task, to be due at the end of each term, require students to read any news articles relating to health and write about how it relates to fitness & exercise, nutrition, sport, or wellness & disease. Students are to connect the article to PE themes such as sportsmanship, culture, responsibility, respect, honesty, community, diversity, exercise, and sports. They are also told to connect the article to themselves and state how it applies to them. Students also have to define vocabulary words relating to health.

“Generally, the projects and the common core task do help me learn about health,” said Gerry Tran’16, “because the articles offer different situations, which can help me understand what to do and what is happening.”

The article assignment was given to all students in different grades. The gym teachers gave the same assignment regardless of what class gym was taught, but the in class assignments for each class is different.

“My friends and I had to do the article assignment from gym class,” said Dhakaia’15. “It’s unnecessary to have to read articles about health and write about it for gym.”

Mr. Basile said, “Personally, I would rather see students spend more time being active than answering questions. I feel like it takes away the time for physical activity.”

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