Credit flex requirements in process

As the Credit Flex Committee works to identify options and protocols to offer students alternate ways to earn credit for any type of class, a number of questions and issues will arise.

One the committee will likely wrestle with on an ongoing basis is how to make options “equal”.  For some classes, this is easier than others.  For instance, with a foreign language, it’s fairly simple for a student to show mastery:  if the student knows the language sufficiently to pass a test, it doesn’t matter if that student sat in a class for years or learned the language at home from bilingual parents.  The same is true of math – easily measurable subjects like this will be fairly easy to address in the Credit Flex system.

However, for other subjects, such as physical education (PE), this can be difficult.  At the board meeting last night, we discussed how students can earn PE flex credit by showing improvement in certain “lifetime fitness” skills, such as strength, endurance, flexibility or speed (among others).  However, if students must demonstrate an improvement in one of these areas to receive credit, then they should also be required to show an improvement if they are taking an actual PE class.

The discussion last night simply raised more questions than are yet answered:  are we truly teaching “lifetime fitness” skills in current PE classes?  How would a marching band member put together a flex credit program to earn PE credit from the physical activity of marching?  And how do we “measure” these more elusive subjects where a simple test cannot demonstrate “mastery”?

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7 Responses to “Credit flex requirements in process”

  1. Wendy Fend Says:

    Regarding the PE issue…my daughter runs cross country and track and gets FAR more physical activity and lifetime fitness skills through those sports than she ever did in a PE class. I always wondered why there isn’t an exemption from PE for these situations. Why not have a check list for coaches to sign off showing improvement at the end of a season that would exempt their players from PE? Same could be true for community/rec sports teams. PE classes are a joke and a waste of valuable time for these kids who are already developing their “lifetime fitness skills” outside of school. As a 4.0 honor student, having that extra class period for academics would be so much more valuable to my daughter!

  2. andreabrady Says:

    Wendy, you make a very good point, and one we started to discuss last night (and will likely be discussing much more in the future!). The Credit Flex program will require students to show some sort of “mastery” – and how to “measure” that is the issue. What you’re suggesting may be a great way to do that and I will pass your comments on to the Credit Flex Committee.

    Right now, the concern is not providing an “automatic out” for student athletes & band members. While this allowed by the state, it may be eliminated soon. In addition, the Curriculum Committee is recommending focusing on “lifetime fitness,” and some sports are not “lifetime fitness”-oriented as a matter of course, although the skills used can be. It is very confusing, and a very difficult subject to address since PE improvement is so individualized.

    I appreciate your input on this. Hopefully more people will weigh in on this subject as well.

  3. Betsy Anderson Says:

    I think if a student is playing a sport, coaches might rate the level of physical activity required, and report the number of hours per week, and weeks of practice. If it equals strenuous activity and the number of hours is more than a semester’s worth of PE, give the kids an A. Moderate activity =B, light activity = C. The kids can decide if they want to count that as a credit or not.

  4. Ryan Dodds Says:

    I am currently enrolled in MHS and this is how a typical week went in gym:

    Monday-an activity like badminton or ping-pong
    Tuesday-walking, either around the gym or around the track, for 20 minutes. Then sitting and listening to your Ipod or talking.
    Wednesday-same as monday
    Thursday-same as tuesday, or maybe dodgeball
    Friday-free day: either play basketball or badminton, or sit and listen to your Ipod or talk.

    This is my schedule for marching band:

    Band camp:
    6 hours a day for 3 days, then 12 hours a day for 6 days.

    After-school practices (about 10 weeks):
    Tuesday-2 1/2 hours
    Wednesday- 2 1/2 hours
    Thursday- 3 hours

    I never broke a sweat in gym, but I always am sweating during marching band. I think that one season of marching band should count for one semester of PE. All you have to do in gym to get an A is to show up and wear what you’re supposed to. I believe that this should be taken into consideration when setting up the credit-flex program.

  5. Brenda Ely Says:

    On the issue of Flex Credit, the issue of marching band has been raised several times. I can understand this, since I was a member of the marching band many years ago, and I still remember the tough schedule and the very physical nature of the activity. Certainly, marching band on Milford’s rigorous pace qualifies as “physical education” in a practical sense. Why not in an academic sense as well?

    Since marching band is a class for which the district can and does control the curriculum, is there a reason why this class cannot be designed to satisfied the PE requirement simply through some attention to the specifics of the curriculum and the associated assessments?

  6. Brenda Ely Says:

    On the subject of Flex Credit, certainly our school sponsored sports programs should be able to satisfy a PE requirement. The district controls these programs, their leadership, requirements, etc. Why can we not also require appropriate assessment of skills to satisfy a PE requirement as part of the activity. Certainly students who are active, successful participants in a school sponsored PE type of activity(sport or marching band) could earn credit for that if properly assessed.

    In my view, the determination of credit for any activity should be made based on the ability to assess student skills. If student skills learned, practiced or demonstrated in activities outside the classroom can be measured at a level equal to or greater than those commonly measured inside the classroom, credit should be granted.

    The state is fairly specific in its content standards. Why can’t we let those be our guide, create flexible assessments that can be customized and applied to many different kinds of projects, activities and experiences in every subject area, and then let our students be creative in how they prove their knowledge?

    The kinds of learning that take place in “real life” outside the classroom are often more valuable and long-lasting than the typical sucking in of facts from a lecture followed by the spitting out of answers in a written test. School districts seem to be so focused on classroom learning, they fail to give proper respect to the education a child receives from other sources. They also tend to dis-respect “teachers” outside of their own faculty (coaches, piano teachers, dance teachers, mentors).

  7. andreabrady Says:

    I understand what you all are saying. I’ve been reviewing the current gym classes & evaluation requirements. My belief is that Flex Credit cannot be more onerous than what is required of students in a formal classroom, and it has to get at the “end result” of whatever that class is. I don’t know how this will all pan out, but I plan to follow up on where requirements are going not only for gym, but for all classes. I’m sure Mrs. House and the Flex Credit committee will also be presenting in the fall as they clarify direction.

    Please keep the comments coming – they are very helpful to gain perspective.

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