PE Data & Assessment – Insights For Students, Teachers, & Admins
Data, data, and more data. In a data-driven world, schools have often been forced to play the data and assessment game that leaves just about everyone feeling overwhelmed.
Students are stressed and tossed around by the constant assessment laced into school. Teachers dread the never-ending demand to prove growth and change in students. Administrators always have to shift to the latest and greatest way to measure and monitor their students and teachers.
Why are these three different groups constantly at odds with the data and assessment that they are expected to adopt and embrace? Because we often mandate these three unique and diverse groups to operate under the same data and assessment benchmarks.
Meet Brandon Siegel
For Brandon Siegel, K-12 PE teacher in Fullerton, Nebraska, data and assessment have developed into a major area of harmony among students, teachers, and administrators. For Brandon, he has taken the different data he collects and helps to put it into the proper perspective for the different groups he serves.
We asked Brandon to share just how he looks at data for his three groups: 1) Students, 2) Teachers, and 3) Administrators. In a recent interview, Brandon broke down how he looks at these three groups and highlights some of the key insights that inspire his Physical Education curriculum. Along the way we will include a few helpful images from PLT4M to get a better sense of the progress and data tracking options he uses.
“When you are talking about data and assessment, it really is three tiers, and all the tiers are looking for something a little different from the assessment.”
“The students absolutely love to see growth. If a kid can look at their phone and they get a little trophy that says ‘my max just went up 5 pounds,’ then they are feeling good about themselves. Whereas in the past, it might have been hard for me as a teacher to keep track of everyone’s stats, or they would have had to keep it themselves.
The data and assessment from a student perspective is really an awesome motivating factor to keep them physically active as they continue through junior high and high school. Students love that because they can physically see the growth in themselves due to the program and how it is set up.
I think the biggest thing is from a student’s perspective is to encourage not only the students who have been doing things for a few years but also those first-timers. As a teacher or coach, I often say something said from you (a student) means a million times more coming from a coach/teacher because that is a peer-to-peer relationship.
I love it when I have a junior in high school that is in a class with an 8th grader who is just coming in for the first time. When the 8th grader is looking at this junior who is lifting all this weight and doing all these impressive things, the 8th grader will say, “I want to do that.” And the junior will just say, “Follow the program and trust the process.”
And they know that as a junior, or 8th grader, or whatever grade, you can go on your phone to the PLT4M app and look at your progress report, and you can see your growth over time. And that junior can pull up their phone, and show that 8th grader, ‘This is where I was in 8th grade. I was just where you were. Just trust it.” It promotes a lot of buy-in from the kids.”
“From the teacher’s perspective, I love it because I can check in on my students, and I can see growth throughout the entire curriculum.
I can see growth, but I can also see a lack of growth. I can see where I might want to change some things or redirect a student, or maybe work with a student a little bit more. It is hard when you have a class of 30 kids, and you only have two eyes, and you are trying to keep an eye on everyone. If I can connect to a computer or phone after a class and review what everyone did, maybe I can see that they failed a test set, and we can revisit things. It allows me to keep tabs on all of my students in class.
Or if I am gone for a day and a sub has to manage class, I can still check in on my kids and make sure they are doing their workouts.
It is an awesome tool from a teacher’s perspective because I have that assessment there to look back on from years and years of progress reports.”
“And then from an administrative perspective. Administrators are all about the numbers, and they want to see growth and statistics. ‘What is your curriculum doing for the kids numbers-wise?’
So I can sit down with an administrator, whether it is my high school principal or my superintendent, and say, ‘Okay, here is what this class is doing. Here is the growth they have shown as a class. Here is the growth they have shown as individuals.”
And it is not the case here at Fullerton, but in many areas, PE is really fighting for time throughout the school day. And you are really fighting for the legitimacy of your curricular area. So more information, more assessment, more data that you can bring to administration, and you can say ‘Hey, look, these kids are progressing, they are living healthy lifestyles, they are learning things’…that is really going to promote your curricular area and it is going to be in your corner in regards when it comes time to say ‘PE needs to stay in the school and we need to have it this many times a week, and this is what it is doing for the student body.'”
Check out how you can use PLT4M in your classroom!
Putting It Into Perspective
For Brandon, being able to put the data and assessment into perspective has continued to move his PE curriculum and program in the right direction. Students can get real-time feedback through things like worksheets and know that the work they are putting in is garnering results. As a teacher, Brandon can manage busy classrooms with an activity dashboard and not lose sight of the long-term goals because of his ability to also tap into progress reports. And administrators can get what they need, when they need it, knowing that the qualitative stories of improvement they hear and see in the hallways align with the quantitative data that Brandon can present.
For each group, it has lead to confidence in a PE curriculum that is helping students to learn lifelong fitness skills, teachers to administer high-quality curriculum, and administrators to support and encourage Physical Education as a subject area. While the data might tell each group different stories, they all have a similar theme: “Fitness education at Fullerton Public Schools is a success.”