Effort Grades?

Lucy Ly, Student Life Reporter

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The PE locker room doors swing open. You wheeze ragged breaths, lungs hitching at every single attempt at inhaling oxygen. As you feel the disgusting pools of sweat dripping off your weak, sore frame, you crawl towards your locker in pure agony, having had the day’s physical activities relentlessly torture your muscles; every fiber of your body screams for rest.

Fortunately, PE is over. You can take things easy now, knowing that you’ve made it out of there alive for the day. That is… until you check your grades:

Effort — 80%… WHAT?

            In a flurry of panic, you feverishly analyze the play-by-play sequence of what happened during PE class: today, the day before, everything. But you come out empty-handed. Nothing you could think of could explain this, leaving the question of “why?” circling throughout your mind.

In fact, part of being a student is questioning why you get the scores you receive. Specifically in PE, students sometimes wonder exactly what it means to be graded on “effort,” as that is a quality they believe only they themselves can know. One sophomore, whom many others agree with, says that the grading “feels random…” since it is unclear to them how the grade is determined. Consequently, students are indignant at this perceived unfair treatment.

However, the PE teachers do have a reason for grading you the way they do. According to their rubrics, effort (which is 50% of your grade) is based on “active participation in daily activities, sportsmanship, and fitness test results.” This means that the teacher may have seen you talking with your friend or idly standing somewhere doing nothing rather than, say, hitting a birdie before it touches the ground in a badminton tournament. Maybe they witnessed you aggressively telling off a teammate for their poor pass in a volleyball game. Or they may have also noticed the decrease in your sit-up, push-up, or pacer test stats. Overall, these amount to some points of deduction when it comes to “treats all with respect and contributes maximum effort.”

But even then, teachers make mistakes, and so do you. The best way to respond to a grade you find to be faulty is to talk to your teacher. Unless there is communication between you two, the teacher will never know how you feel or how you performed, and you will never know what you did wrong or how you could improve.

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Effort Grades?