Students at high school have required physical education each of their 4 years, except for 1 semester of health education in the sophomore year. But this is no ordinary program, where his/her schedule for physical education is determined by what grade he/she is in or what period he/she has open.
Students are tested twice per year on an eleven item test battery that focuses on health-related fitness and motor skills prerequisite to successful participation in a range of sport activities. The health-related fitness items are also tested three times during the school year.
Teachers at the school have developed their own norms based on national data and on what students at their own school have done. Each of the eleven items on the test is scaled and equated to produce a total possible score of 150 points on the battery.
Students are then scheduled for their next year’s physical- education class on the basis of their point score: 75 points or below places a student in a “low” group, 76 to 90 points in a “medium” groups, 91 to 106 points in a “medium high” group, and 107 points and above in a “high” group.
The curriculum for each of the four levels is determined by the needs of the students as shown by the test scores. The lower groups focus more on health fitness and basic skills.
The highest group focuses on advanced skills, but students in this group plan and implements a personal fitness program outside of class time. As students move up the four levels, they have an increasing number of choices within those levels.
Students are graded for skill performance, knowledge, participation, and fitness improvement. Each of the four levels has a different scale reflecting the improvement necessary at that level.
Thus, both within the yearly class program and between years, in terms of placement for next year, students are highly motivated to improve both their motor skills and their fitness levels.
The physical-education program at Prospect High School reflects the developmental approach to physical education, with a strong, continued emphasis on fitness.
Most important, the program is arranged so that students of similar abilities can be motivated, instructed, and assessed in ways that are fair to them and to the teachers who work with them.
Students are clearly held accountable for performance, and strong incentives for improvement are made available.