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  #1  
Old 08-14-2009, 08:11 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Should PE grades count towards GPA?

This year our local HS enacated a new policy that grades in PE classes would be included in calculating GPA. They had not been included in the past. My youngest graduated last spring, so I have no dog in this fight. But it got me thinking about exactly how I felt about this.

My first reaction was that it would be okay so long as PE grades were awarded on effort, rather than ability. And I questioned whether I would trust the PE teachers I have known to fairly acknowledge effort, instead of favoring the athletically talented.

But then I realized that that was inconsistent with the way I felt academic classes should be graded. Your effort should only go so far if you don't get the correct answer. In academic classes, the academically talented student is generally expected to have an edge over the merely industrious.

Further complicating matters is that I am generally pretty supportive of mandatory PE in schools. Another possible wrinkle - ought there be honors PE available?

I'll have to ask my kids what they think - as well as what their PE grades were.
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2009, 08:40 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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I don't see why not to include them in the overall GPA. I mean, I think some people just get too caught up in GPAs anyway. They're not always indicative of how well a child is learning.

I don't think PE should be mandatory in schools.

Wouldn't someone who qualified for 'honors' PE actually be on one of the school's sports teams? Seems like that's kind of the same thing.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:43 AM
Fuzzy Dunlop Fuzzy Dunlop is offline
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
This year our local HS enacated a new policy that grades in PE classes would be included in calculating GPA. They had not been included in the past. My youngest graduated last spring, so I have no dog in this fight. But it got me thinking about exactly how I felt about this.

My first reaction was that it would be okay so long as PE grades were awarded on effort, rather than ability. And I questioned whether I would trust the PE teachers I have known to fairly acknowledge effort, instead of favoring the athletically talented.

But then I realized that that was inconsistent with the way I felt academic classes should be graded. Your effort should only go so far if you don't get the correct answer. In academic classes, the academically talented student is generally expected to have an edge over the merely industrious.

Further complicating matters is that I am generally pretty supportive of mandatory PE in schools. Another possible wrinkle - ought there be honors PE available?

I'll have to ask my kids what they think - as well as what their PE grades were.
Some of my teachers introduced quizes on the basics of a sport after that 'unit' was done. So if you played tennis for a week and a half you'd answer a one page quiz about rules of tennis. I think that's a good approach and grading based on physical ability would be silly.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:52 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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What's a high school GPA used for, anyway? College admissions, of course. And what else? I'm drawing a blank here.

Are there any nontrivial uses of GPA (a) besides college admissions, (b) where inclusion of PE grades would make them more accurate for that use?

Unless the answers are (a) Yes, and (b) Yes, then there's absolutely no reason to include PE grades in high school GPA. It's hard to see how including PE grades in a student's GPA would increase their accuracy as a predictor of college success.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:59 AM
belladonna belladonna is offline
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In my school, PE was mandatory, and the grade did count towards your GPA.

However, the grade was based on showing up in uniform, participating (ie: not sitting on the bleachers gossiping or sneaking out for a smoke), and small quizzes like Fuzzy mentioned.

The only exception to this I recall was the annual fitness test where you had to do as many sit ups and push ups as you could, hang with your chin on the bar for as long as you could, and run as far as you could in, maybe, 5 minutes. They compiled all this into a fitness score and it counted as a very small percentage of your final grade.

I never really thought much about it being unfair. Considering how fat we are as a nation, I actually think it's pretty important that we reward at least the bare minimum of physical effort and ability.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:06 AM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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I don't think they should be included (they aren't in the UK, it's just an excuse to let kids blow off steam and keep fit), but suppose that they are. Why should grades be based on effort, rather than ability, when in any other subject they aren't? Why is PE always treated with this sort of double standard? Nobody gives kids an A grade for being shit at maths, so why should it be so for being shit at sport?
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:06 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by NinetyWt View Post
I mean, I think some people just get too caught up in GPAs anyway.
Colleges, for one, and colleges should have no reason to care about how well little Timmy can bounce a ball unless he's going on an athletic scholarship. Inflating the GPA with PE grades is just another way to make the GPA useless and force colleges to insist on test scores as a condition of entry.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:09 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy Dunlop View Post
Some of my teachers introduced quizes on the basics of a sport after that 'unit' was done. So if you played tennis for a week and a half you'd answer a one page quiz about rules of tennis. I think that's a good approach and grading based on physical ability would be silly.
My high school's PE grading was similar. It was a combination of knowledge of the sport played (rules, scoring, movements, equipment) along with effort and participation. If you played tennis for a couple weeks and could explain the scoring system, what a top spin was, what type of player should use an oversize raquet, and actually attempted to play the game throughout the class time rather than chatting it up with friends you got yourself a decent grade. Ability was never a factor.
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  #9  
Old 08-14-2009, 09:21 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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I don't think PE grades should be included in GPA's, for two reasons. First, the GPA is used as an indicator of academic achievement, and PE is something else entirely. Second, my experience, and I suspect that of many others, is that PE grades essentially reflect academic ability, despite teachers' proclamations that "anyone can get an A" or that "effort and attitude are what counts." I think it's plausible that in certain cases one's chances for college admission can be negatively affected by one's lack of athletic prowess, and I don't think that's fair.

I do think PE is important and should be mandatory. I just don't think it should be allowed to affect what is purported to be an academic indicator.
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  #10  
Old 08-14-2009, 09:30 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Are there any nontrivial uses of GPA (a) besides college admissions, (b) where inclusion of PE grades would make them more accurate for that use?

Unless the answers are (a) Yes, and (b) Yes, then there's absolutely no reason to include PE grades in high school GPA. It's hard to see how including PE grades in a student's GPA would increase their accuracy as a predictor of college success.
PE isn't making anything less accurate, is it? Is there a huge section of straight-A students who are failing PE? Or straight-F students who are acing it? I would imagine the A students would put in enough effort to do well in PE. And the F students, well, I'm not sure what kind of college is going to be admitting these people anyway. I dunno, maybe CSUN.
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  #11  
Old 08-14-2009, 09:36 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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It was included in our school GPA and it sucked. Athletics should be separate from the academic average. The boys athletics director 10-12 grade in high school would only give a C as the best grade unless you went out for after school athletic activities. He ruined the GPA for many academically exceptional kids.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:41 AM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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In my gym class you had to now be a complete lazy ass to get an A. It counted towards GPA, and I have no problem with it. GPA is basically indicative of effort and not ability anyway and so for a class that is graded purely on effort then I have no problem with it being counted. If multiple levels of PE were offered for student of a wide range of physical abilities then I think grading on ability could be considered, but not when everybody is thrown into one class.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:07 AM
Oredigger77 Oredigger77 is offline
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I have no problem with them grading PE based on ability and I think it would be a good thing if they treated it more like a class and assigned homework like running a mile. Obviously the homework couldn't be graded but if they based the final grade on progress over the semester and if you did the homework your final grade would improve more them if you didn't.

As for including it into the GPA I really have no problem with it because it will just serve to separate the truly exceptional students from the rest. I think the kid who is athletically and academically gifted should be rewarded more then the kid who is just one or the other. Besides it is only one class and the only way it will significantly make a difference between two top candidates is if they are already equivalent academically.

If I was going to remove something from the GPA it would be the foreign language being able to learn a new language is significantly harder then the other courses and requires much more work and is about as useful in a career as being athletically inclined.
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  #14  
Old 08-14-2009, 10:08 AM
Rysto Rysto is offline
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
Colleges, for one, and colleges should have no reason to care about how well little Timmy can bounce a ball unless he's going on an athletic scholarship. Inflating the GPA with PE grades is just another way to make the GPA useless and force colleges to insist on test scores as a condition of entry.
I don't know how things work in the US, but here in Canada universities look at your HS transcript, not just your average mark. The university I went to took the average of your English, Calculus, Algebra and Geometry, Chemistry and Physics grades along with your top mark in another "academic" course(as it happened, all three of my other grade 12 courses were eligible "academic courses", and the average of all 8 courses I took was higher than the average of the 6 courses they took into account).
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:20 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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I am fairly sure my P.E. grade was included in my GPA, although it might have been weighted in some way.

I'm fine with that. While P.E. classes might not represent academic ability, they represent the ability to show up and make some sort of effort to do what's expected of you. I trust that the students are held to a reasonable standard, the same that I expect from a math class or a biology class.

And I say this as someone who hated P.E. and received mundane P.E. grades.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:20 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by belladonna View Post
In my school, PE was mandatory, and the grade did count towards your GPA.

However, the grade was based on showing up in uniform, participating (ie: not sitting on the bleachers gossiping or sneaking out for a smoke), and small quizzes ...
Same exact experience excepr quizzes weren't always given. And we WANTED PE grades in our GPA ... everyone got A's with minimal effort
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:23 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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I currently have 3 kids in college. Whether you like the practice or not, my experience is that class rank is one of a few factors that contribute to scholarships. (I believe it also affects admissions decisions as well.) For example, my one kid was told that a certain category of scholarship is only available to kids who were in the top 5% of their HS class (in addition to other factors). My kid was 1 place outside the 5% in a class of 500, and was not even considered.

I find myself of differing opinions. Yes, it is a shame that some kids forego classes they would be interested in, simply because they do not want to risk lowering their GPA. At the top of the class are kids who take almost entirely honors/AP classes. But if everyone was required to take gym, with very few exemptions granted, at least the playing field would be level.

But even tho I can criticize the sytem, it is the current system within which kids must apply for college. So it is hard for me to criticize someone for maximizing his or her position within that system.

Personally, I think one of my reasons for not wanting PE to count towards my kids' GPA is that a couple of the PE teachers were just about the only HS teachers I encountered with whom I was not impressed.
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  #18  
Old 08-14-2009, 10:25 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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I think gym was pass/fail at my old high school. It wasn't easy to fail, but if you did, it meant summer school. I don't know if it was included in anybody's GPA, but it shouldn't be. I see not point to doing that, and the effort shouldn't be mandated.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:28 AM
Ruken Ruken is offline
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Depends. Is it actual physical education? Sure

But then again I didn't do PE in high school, so I don't know how it works.

But does it even matter? Won't colleges just remove it during the admissions process?
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:31 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Originally Posted by Oredigger77 View Post
I have no problem with them grading PE based on ability and I think it would be a good thing if they treated it more like a class and assigned homework like running a mile. Obviously the homework couldn't be graded but if they based the final grade on progress over the semester and if you did the homework your final grade would improve more them if you didn't.

As for including it into the GPA I really have no problem with it because it will just serve to separate the truly exceptional students from the rest. I think the kid who is athletically and academically gifted should be rewarded more then the kid who is just one or the other. Besides it is only one class and the only way it will significantly make a difference between two top candidates is if they are already equivalent academically.

If I was going to remove something from the GPA it would be the foreign language being able to learn a new language is significantly harder then the other courses and requires much more work and is about as useful in a career as being athletically inclined.
... seriously? Put in PE and take out foreign languages? Geez, and then you wonder why some people think Americans are the assholes of the world. "You shouldn't be graded in Spanish 'cause it's, like, hard and stuff. People aren't good at stuff that's hard and shouldn't be penalized."

ETA - trust me, foreign languages were NOT harder in high school than AP Calculus. Anybody can learn enough of a romance language to limp through two years, which I think is the requirement here. And as for career usefulness, I'm going back on my own dime to learn Spanish even as we speak, for my job.

Last edited by Zsofia; 08-14-2009 at 10:33 AM..
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  #21  
Old 08-14-2009, 10:46 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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I currently have 3 kids in college. Whether you like the practice or not, my experience is that class rank is one of a few factors that contribute to scholarships. (I believe it also affects admissions decisions as well.) For example, my one kid was told that a certain category of scholarship is only available to kids who were in the top 5% of their HS class (in addition to other factors). My kid was 1 place outside the 5% in a class of 500, and was not even considered.
I honestly, honestly don't know if this will sound consoling, or like poking you with a stick ... but I work at a college and we recalc just about everything the high schools give us.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:48 AM
Harriet the Spry Harriet the Spry is offline
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I like the idea of making PE pass/fail, or perhaps making it optionally pass/fail.

I'll note that whether or not PE grades are predictive of college success is an empirical question, and we haven't seen any evidence. It may well be predictive, since good health is correlated with socioeconomic status and attendance.

Still, colleges themselves generally allow classes outside the major or core requirements to be taken pass-fail.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:49 AM
Blaster Master Blaster Master is offline
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I'm pretty sure my PE grade was included in my GPA, and I think it should be. PE is important because it is something that is supposed to teach us about being physically active and fit, and even if it fails at that, at least it gets kids who might otherwise do no physical activity other than walking the halls between classes. If it's not counted in your GPA, it only reduces the incentive for the kids to participate.

And you may be concerned about how it affects kids who are academically gifted but not athletically so. I also think it should include those quizes about the rules for various, proper form for exercises/weight training, and it should include at least some class time learning about basic health and anatomy. All of that is important for physical fitness and is academically relevant.

Similarly, I think progress is more important than actual ability as well, and this is true for the rest of academia. I could be the smartest kid in school, but if I take all the easy classes and breeze through them, I might have a great GPA, but not get into a good college because my class load was unimpressive; that is, a 3.5 GPA in Honors and AP courses is far more impressive than a 4.0 in the bare minimum. So do some sort of basic physical fitness test at the beginning of the year, assign some "homework" to be physically active, and then reassess later. For kids who are already pretty fit, they may see little progress, but since they're already fit, that's fine and they can get a good grade for that portion anyway, though they'd still have to do well in the academic portion. For kids that aren't athletically inclined, if they show good progress, even if they can't run a 5 minute mile or do 50 pushups, they deserve a good grade for that portion too, because they've applied what they've learned to improve their physical health.

I think doing that will both help keep PE encourage more kids to be more active and keep it academically relevant enough to allow it to be part of the GPA.
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  #24  
Old 08-14-2009, 10:53 AM
Oredigger77 Oredigger77 is offline
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... seriously? Put in PE and take out foreign languages? Geez, and then you wonder why some people think Americans are the assholes of the world. "You shouldn't be graded in Spanish 'cause it's, like, hard and stuff. People aren't good at stuff that's hard and shouldn't be penalized."

ETA - trust me, foreign languages were NOT harder in high school than AP Calculus. Anybody can learn enough of a romance language to limp through two years, which I think is the requirement here. And as for career usefulness, I'm going back on my own dime to learn Spanish even as we speak, for my job.
The last paragraph was merely my dream and has nothing to do with what I would do in reality. For the record I failed Spanish 1 and barely passed on my second try while I got my D for done in Spanish 2 while I got a 5 on my Calc 2 AP test and never even took calc 2. So Spanish is much harder then AP calc which is one of the easiest thing I ever learned.

As for useful to careers being physically fit is helpful for attractiveness which can improve career prospects and the only foreign language that I would need to be able to do my job better would be Navajo.

I'm not a proponent of eliminating foreign languages from school but it is similar to PE in that if takes a special set of skill to memorize a list of words and conjugations that you only use for a half hour a day and never again while PE requires a special skill set to use muscles for that half an hour a day and then never again.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:55 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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I honestly, honestly don't know if this will sound consoling, or like poking you with a stick ... but I work at a college and we recalc just about everything the high schools give us.
I've got complete faith that admissions and scholarship decisions are made in just about as fucked up a manner as most other decisions made by large institutions - including the one I work for!

No worries, tho. I was just repeating something I was told directly by one individual who claimed to be in a position to know at one college. All 3 are attending the schools of their choice, with bills I can afford, so life is good.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:01 AM
Blaster Master Blaster Master is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
... seriously? Put in PE and take out foreign languages? Geez, and then you wonder why some people think Americans are the assholes of the world. "You shouldn't be graded in Spanish 'cause it's, like, hard and stuff. People aren't good at stuff that's hard and shouldn't be penalized."

ETA - trust me, foreign languages were NOT harder in high school than AP Calculus. Anybody can learn enough of a romance language to limp through two years, which I think is the requirement here. And as for career usefulness, I'm going back on my own dime to learn Spanish even as we speak, for my job.
Somehow I missed this before, and I agree. Even if you don't apply a foreign language in your job, it's still much more important than people think it is. I took 4 1/2 years of Spanish, and chose not to take AP Spanish since I already had a full Senior year and the credit wouldn't help me in college anyway (my program allowed me to wave the foreign language credits if I took them in highschool, I'd just have to replace them with something else). I don't use Spanish AT ALL in my job, nor is it relevant in my daily life; in fact, I was semi-fluent at one point, and can barely speak it now.

However, I learned more about grammar from taking Spanish than I did in all of my years of English, not because it wasn't taught in English, but because so many of the grammar rules in English are things I take for granted, but they were things I actually had to pay attention to in Spanish and see how it related back to English. I think that, as a result, I'm a better writer and speaker because of that, and writing and speaking skills are relevant to virtually every job. Not to mention that part of learning Spanish included learning about other cultures which is also important for that "well-rounded" thing that colleges like.

Perhaps requiring 3 years or 2 and 2, as my school did for my diploma (they had different levels of diplomas with different requirements), is probably a little excessive for anyone that isn't going to major in the liberals arts, but I certainly think it's important. Hell, even for a science major, if the writing portion weren't important enough, most schools these days offer latin, which I imagine has to have some additional benefits there as well.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:03 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Just remembered a somewhat relevant personal experience.

In college I took weightlifting 2 semesters in a row. The second time around the credit would not count towards graduation, but the grade counted towards my GPA. First semester I dove into the class, and added a good 10-15# to my skinny frame, significantly increasing all of my lifts, and got the A. Enjoyed it so much I took it again the following semester. The next semester a different instructor graded ENTIRELY on improvement from the bginning to end of the class. My improvement was more limited, due to the significant improvement I had made the previous semester. As such, I got a B.

Here's the kicker - I took 19 hours that semester - all As with the exception of 1 hour of B! Convinced me that a perfect GPA was unatttainable, and that I needed to spend more time drinking beer!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:11 AM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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I don't think PE classes should count toward GPA because you'd be penalizing individuals who might not have athletic ability. At my high school, PE was mandatory (which I like), but it was on a pass/fail basis. If you had crappy attendance, forgot your uniform or refused to participate, you failed. If you showed up on time, dressed out and did what you were told, you passed. Of course, they did the typical physical assessments (how long does it take you to run a mile, how many pushups in one minute, how many situps), but those were provided to you and your parents as an indicator of your fitness.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:20 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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Our school runs multiple GPAs. Your records show "Overall," "Adjusted" and "Academic." The "overall" includes PE. The others don't. The "Adjusted" is the one used for class ranking. It includes weighted grades for AP, but doesn't include non-academic classes like PE, ROP, TA and the like. "Academic" is the same classes, only unweighted.

Last edited by silenus; 08-14-2009 at 11:21 AM..
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  #30  
Old 08-14-2009, 11:24 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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PE isn't making anything less accurate, is it? Is there a huge section of straight-A students who are failing PE?
Probably not failing - just getting B's and C's. So yes, PE's making GPAs less accurate when included.

Is anything as arbitrary and subjective as the grading system of a given PE teacher? At my wife's HS, they all had different standards; what your grade was depended in large part on which one you got. Which is why they make the GPA less accurate.
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I would imagine the A students would put in enough effort to do well in PE.
Effort only goes so far if your grade is based on getting under a certain time in the 440, or some such.

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And the F students, well, I'm not sure what kind of college is going to be admitting these people anyway. I dunno, maybe CSUN.
I'm not worried about them either, because they won't be getting into colleges in the first place, and the colleges (and college-bound kids) are apparently the only consumers, if you will, of high-school GPAs.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:01 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by Harriet the Spry View Post
I like the idea of making PE pass/fail, or perhaps making it optionally pass/fail.

I'll note that whether or not PE grades are predictive of college success is an empirical question, and we haven't seen any evidence. It may well be predictive, since good health is correlated with socioeconomic status and attendance.

Still, colleges themselves generally allow classes outside the major or core requirements to be taken pass-fail.
I don't think it would be horrible for high schools to allow a student to take one or two courses pass/fail each semester. They might not want to allow it for Algebra or Composition or Biology - but letting kids take a pass fail course lets them do something they might enjoy, but not be very good at - Theatre or Woodshop or whatever - without impacting their college bound GPA.
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  #32  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:04 PM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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Originally Posted by overlyverbose
I don't think PE classes should count toward GPA because you'd be penalizing individuals who might not have athletic ability.
Sorry, but what's wrong with that? Don't GPA's penalise those who don't have mathematical ability, for instance? Isn't the student who is athletic and an excellent scholar better than the student who is only good at book learning?

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If you had crappy attendance, forgot your uniform or refused to participate, you failed. If you showed up on time, dressed out and did what you were told, you passed.
So basically if you weren't a truant, didn't "forget" your kit and actively participated in class, you passed.

This is a bad thing ... how?
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  #33  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:07 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Probably not failing - just getting B's and C's. So yes, PE's making GPAs less accurate when included.

Is anything as arbitrary and subjective as the grading system of a given PE teacher? At my wife's HS, they all had different standards; what your grade was depended in large part on which one you got. Which is why they make the GPA less accurate.
Effort only goes so far if your grade is based on getting under a certain time in the 440, or some such.

I'm not worried about them either, because they won't be getting into colleges in the first place, and the colleges (and college-bound kids) are apparently the only consumers, if you will, of high-school GPAs.
That isn't that different than other variations in teaching though. In my high school there were something like six English teachers. One was EASY. One was HARD. Getting an A from Mr. Emerson meant you had worked your butt off. Getting anything other than a B+ from Ms. Bryer meant that you hadn't even bothered to show up in class. Mr. Emerson's lit course had a list of over 100 books, most of them pretty difficult, and you had to read 3000 pages over the semester and write multipage book reports on each one for an A. Ms. Bryer's class was free form - any book would do, and her grading was subjective - reading one "hard" book like Grapes of Wrath was enough to get you an A. She'd even accept reports on books she knew we'd all read the year before.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:11 PM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
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If the GPA is only really used for college entry, then any inclusion of PE should weight it much lower than the academic subjects. Like other people said, your PE grade doesn't actually predict how well you'll do in college.

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Originally Posted by Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party View Post
I don't think they should be included (they aren't in the UK, it's just an excuse to let kids blow off steam and keep fit), but suppose that they are.
Huh? You can get a GCSE in PE, and there are various level 3 PE qualifications that count towards your UCAS score for university entry.
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  #35  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:18 PM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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Huh? You can get a GCSE in PE, and there are various level 3 PE qualifications that count towards your UCAS score for university entry.
Sure, but a GCSE in PE is optional, and nothing like the PE that the rest of the students, who don't take it, continue to receive, which is basically playing football, rugby, tennis etc.
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  #36  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:40 PM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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Originally Posted by Oredigger77 View Post
If I was going to remove something from the GPA it would be the foreign language being able to learn a new language is significantly harder then the other courses and requires much more work and is about as useful in a career as being athletically inclined.
1.) Lots of jobs currently require fluency in a second language, or are at least easier to get with one.
2.) If you plan on doing anything beyond a Bachelor's, you will need at least one foreign language and probably more, because you will need to be able to read research published in languages other than your native one.
3.) Even for people who do not ever use their second language in their job, learning that language is also about being exposed to another culture and way of thinking.

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Originally Posted by Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party View Post
Sorry, but what's wrong with that? Don't GPA's penalise those who don't have mathematical ability, for instance? Isn't the student who is athletic and an excellent scholar better than the student who is only good at book learning?
This was always the way I mentally reasoned through it, but I thought a really good point got brought up byother people in this thread: if you plan on being a professional athlete, your English grade won't matter, but if you want to go into academia, the top universities are hypercompetitive enough that the slight drop in your GPA could have an adverse effect.

For consideration: When I graduated high school, there was a big bruhaha about who should be the valedictorian. The salutatorian would have had the top GPA, but she had taken one more class than the person with the "best" GPA, and even though she got an A in it, it pulled her GPA down because it was a 4-point-A instead of a 5-point-A.
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  #37  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:44 PM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
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Originally Posted by Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party View Post
Sure, but a GCSE in PE is optional, and nothing like the PE that the rest of the students, who don't take it, continue to receive, which is basically playing football, rugby, tennis etc.
It sounded like you were saying GCSE grades never count.

Apart from maths, English and science, all courses are optional.
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  #38  
Old 08-14-2009, 12:49 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is online now
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I oppose including PE grades in the GPA, largely because of something that happened to a friend of mine in high school. She was a bright girl...very bright, carried a 4.0 GPA all the way through school, until she got to 10th grade PE. That teacher graded on athletic ability. My friend wasn't very good at sports. Only "B" she ever got on her report card, and it kept her from being valedictorian. Worse, the guys all had coaches as "PE Teachers". The coaches could not be bothered to actually teach much of anything. The "exam" usually involved the coach coming in to the locker room, instructing everyone to state their name when he counted three, and then congratulating us all for getting an "A" in PE. A guy ended up as valedictorian because he got the easy A in 10th grade PE, while the girl got the "B".

Last edited by Oakminster; 08-14-2009 at 12:50 PM..
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  #39  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:02 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Most PE classes are worthless anyway, at least mine were. Except for my last year in high school, we had co-ed gym and Miss Krebs taught us.

Every other gym class consited of the coach tossing us a ball then we'd go out and toss the ball amongst ourselves. But Miss Krebs actaully had days where, for instance we learned fencing, we didn't dress. Instead we got a list of rules for fencing and we had to learn them and we'd take written tests to assure we knew how each sport was played.

When we played softball we not only played but in her class we had to learn the game, take a written test and learn what actions were legal, which weren't, we had to get together as a team and come up with a stragedy and put it on paper and prove to Miss Krebs that we implimented it.

Her classes for PE were actual schooling like any other class, but the other gym classes were a waste of time.

I especially hated gym my sophmore year, I had it last period. I was like "Jeez can't I just go home early."

High School GPA is used in heavily competitive schools so I can understand some kids being wronged by it. I don't really buy into the argument that one poster noted, that "unless you went out for sports, you got a lesser grade," not because it isn't true, but because that happens in other classes as well.

I was a very smart kid, and truthfully, I got away with a LOT of things, simply because the teachers didn't check my work as hard as they should have. I believe teacher mean to be fair but in practice, it doesn't work out that way.

Since GPA isn't standard the whole thing is biased anyway. For instance, in my school we had we termed "tracks." blue, white, and red tracks. With blue being easy and red the hardest. Red was like an "honors course."

But on your transcript it says "Algebra." It made no distinction between blue or white or red.

So a kid on blue track Algebra which was easy gets the same reward as one busing his brains for red track Algebra. It didn't take long for kids to figure this out and get dropped down.

The biggest argument for keeping PE and other course in your GPA is simply that life isn't fair. You're going to have to learn to deal with things one way or another and the GPA is one of those.

It's like when you get a review at work, sometimes the categories are bunk.

I once gave a review to my staff member Annie. I gave her a "5" (scale 1 poor - 5 best) on attendence. The H/R director says "Mark, you know it's our policy never to give a "5" so they have something to shoot for." I said "But she was NEVER late and NEVER absent." The answer from H/R was "then give her a "4."

So a PE inclusive GPA is kind of like that. It's just one of those potentially unfair things in life so learn to deal with that stuff.
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  #40  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:06 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Originally Posted by scifisam2009 View Post
Like other people said, your PE grade doesn't actually predict how well you'll do in college.
Do you actually have any data to back that up, or are you just claiming that's the case? Looking around the web I can find numerous abstracts for papers that show links between physical fitness and academic success. I haven't read them, but several abstracts claim to have found a statistical link. example, example.

And, even if being fit doesn't lead to more academic success, I think we can generally agree that it's a good thing to encourage for everyone. If some students are so focused on getting into college that they only care about their GPAs, then what's wrong with using that to motivate them to get into better shape? College is not the ultimate goal in life, and I'd argue that living a life balanced by exercise and general fitness is more important than getting into a slightly better college, in the long run.

Of course, maybe PE doesn't actually promote fitness or exercise. But that is at least its goal, and if it's not meeting that goal, I think the solution is to reform the curriculum, not keep it going as a zombie and disregard the results.

The problem of grading PE classes is a little trickier than other classes, but I don't think it's as horribly unbalanced as some people in this thread are claiming. Yes, people who are naturally athletic will have an easy time of it. So what? This is no different than people who have natural skill in math or language excelling in those classes. Personally, I think that anyone who's fit enough to be on an actual sports team should be excused from PE, since they're obviously at a reasonable level of fitness without it.

For people who struggle, then effort should be taken into account, but so should results. I'm not saying that everyone should have to do 50 pushups and run a 6-minute mile (5 and a 10-minute seems pretty reasonable, though), but the vast majority of people who can't meet a certain level of fitness should at least be able to make some progress toward that goal. Every other class carries the expectation that you'll improve over the course of the year. Why shouldn't PE be the same?

Will this be subjective? Sure. But what high school class isn't? Even math class, with it's bright line between the right answer and the wrong answer, allows for students to do extra homework, or present homework problems to the class, or participate in class discussions as ways to improve your grade... even if you're not particularly good at math.

The biggest difference with grading is handling students with persistent medical issues or injuries. It's a lot more likely that an injury would keep you from doing standard PE class activities than keep you from standard match class activities.
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  #41  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:17 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is online now
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Back in the day HS PE was an easy A. Show up and participate every day and you get a straight A. It took a real screw up to get a C in PE, but apparently some people actually failed in PE. Mostly because they would cut class and do whatever it is that students who cut class do. And yes, it counted for GPA.

Last edited by The Second Stone; 08-14-2009 at 01:18 PM..
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  #42  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:18 PM
kushiel kushiel is offline
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Hmmmm. Having a couple different PE classes would not be feasible in most schools, but what about being able to choose 3/5 different units (like, if you did basketball, baseball, football, badminton and lacrosse, choose 3 of those) to make up your mark? A lot of people above are saying that ability should count, since classes like math go on ability, not effort. But I got to choose from the three hard sciences (bio, physics and chem), so I could pick the one I thought I'd do the best in (coincidentally, I picked the one I was most interested in, so my mark suffered a bit but I had more fun).
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  #43  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:20 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shot From Guns View Post
This was always the way I mentally reasoned through it, but I thought a really good point got brought up byother people in this thread: if you plan on being a professional athlete, your English grade won't matter, but if you want to go into academia, the top universities are hypercompetitive enough that the slight drop in your GPA could have an adverse effect.
I would not say this is true of top universities ... that's actually where it matters the least. A slight drop, that is. Because demand is high, top universities have the luxury of building the class they want for whatever reasons they want. They can afford to boot someone with a high GPA but a bland application overall in favor of another student with a lower GPA, if that student has something the university wants. And it happens all the time.

Dangerosa, one of the best admissions essays I ever read was called "Why There is a D on My Transcript; Or What I Have Learned About Band Saws." That kid got the green light before his recommendations came in.
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  #44  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:23 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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In my school (in the 90s) we got graded on effort and those little quizzes, just like others experienced. I know we took those physical fitness tests but I'm not sure how they were calculated into the grade, if at all.

Do you guys that think PE shouldn't be counted also think that home ec, shop, art, photography and music classes shouldn't be counted either? After all, performance in those classes is also subjective and takes skill. Yet, as far as I know, at least one of those classes is mandatory in two years at my high school.
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  #45  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:23 PM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Do you actually have any data to back that up, or are you just claiming that's the case? Looking around the web I can find numerous abstracts for papers that show links between physical fitness and academic success. I haven't read them, but several abstracts claim to have found a statistical link. example, example.

And, even if being fit doesn't lead to more academic success, I think we can generally agree that it's a good thing to encourage for everyone. If some students are so focused on getting into college that they only care about their GPAs, then what's wrong with using that to motivate them to get into better shape? College is not the ultimate goal in life, and I'd argue that living a life balanced by exercise and general fitness is more important than getting into a slightly better college, in the long run.

Of course, maybe PE doesn't actually promote fitness or exercise. But that is at least its goal, and if it's not meeting that goal, I think the solution is to reform the curriculum, not keep it going as a zombie and disregard the results.

The problem of grading PE classes is a little trickier than other classes, but I don't think it's as horribly unbalanced as some people in this thread are claiming. Yes, people who are naturally athletic will have an easy time of it. So what? This is no different than people who have natural skill in math or language excelling in those classes. Personally, I think that anyone who's fit enough to be on an actual sports team should be excused from PE, since they're obviously at a reasonable level of fitness without it.

For people who struggle, then effort should be taken into account, but so should results. I'm not saying that everyone should have to do 50 pushups and run a 6-minute mile (5 and a 10-minute seems pretty reasonable, though), but the vast majority of people who can't meet a certain level of fitness should at least be able to make some progress toward that goal. Every other class carries the expectation that you'll improve over the course of the year. Why shouldn't PE be the same?

Will this be subjective? Sure. But what high school class isn't? Even math class, with it's bright line between the right answer and the wrong answer, allows for students to do extra homework, or present homework problems to the class, or participate in class discussions as ways to improve your grade... even if you're not particularly good at math.

The biggest difference with grading is handling students with persistent medical issues or injuries. It's a lot more likely that an injury would keep you from doing standard PE class activities than keep you from standard match class activities.
People should be encouraged to be physically fit, but this thread wasn't about whether PE should be mandatory.

Phyiscal fitness almost definitely does help with academic skills (and all sorts of other skills), but being good at sports is not the same as being physically fit.

Is PE grading about being good at sports or being physically fit? From the sounds of it, it can be about anything at all.
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  #46  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:24 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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I think it should count and it should be graded on participation. The #1 thing that sinks college students is not showing up to class or not turning in work. Gym requires that you show up and participate. Therefore, failing gym class is a good indicator that the person isn't right for college.

CS, guy who failed Gym but passed college.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party View Post
Nobody gives kids an A grade for being shit at maths, so why should it be so for being shit at sport?
Silly Brit. They invented the language, and they don't even know the 's' goes on sports, not math! ((seriously though, awesome use of both words in the same sentence w/o trying))
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  #47  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:31 PM
sachertorte sachertorte is offline
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When I graduated HS the difference between Valedictorian and Salutatorian was PE. Specifically 10th grade PE which was taught by some idiot who gave grades based on who he liked. Other years, grades were pretty "much show up and get an A".
The policy has been changed since then. PE no longer counts towards GPA.

Most of my college classmates were amazed that we got letter grades for PE at all. Pass/Fail seems fine to me.
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  #48  
Old 08-14-2009, 02:13 PM
Grumman Grumman is offline
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To me it sounds like a bad idea. Assuming the goal of PE is to promote general fitness, the best way to do that is to make the students like getting exercise. Treating it as Serious Business is just going to make the unfit kids resent the class.
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  #49  
Old 08-14-2009, 02:13 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Count me as another whose GPA was messed up by PE. I had a 3.98. What messed it up was a B in PE and one B in a drama class (which was my own fault, so I won't complain about that one).

The problem with PE is not that it's required (I think it should be, in some form) but that, unlike academic classes, I don't think most schools take varying abilities into account. At least they didn't when I was in school (admittedly back in the Dark Ages). Honestly, I was hopeless at anything athletic in school. I was the equivalent of the inner-city kid with a single working mom, no academic role model, and no books in the house--only I was a middle-class kid whose parents had absolutely no interest in anything athletic. Thus, I grew up holed in my room reading, writing, having a great time, and doing nothing physical.

I wasn't a fat kid (I thought I was chubby, but looking at pictures, I really wasn't). I just had no endurance and no athletic prowess. I would have done great in "remedial PE" or "PE for nerds," if there'd been such a thing, but there wasn't. So I had to compete with the kids on the sports teams, the kids who could run and jump and do pullups...and I couldn't. I showed up, did what I was supposed to, and tried my best, but it didn't happen. Most of my teachers did give A's for effort, which was good. But some didn't, and there was the problem. At least if you're going to insist that kids take PE and that it counts for their grade, make an effort to segregate them by ability, so those of us who always get picked last for teams don't get made to feel even worse because we're competing with people we can't hope to beat. It would be like tossing an average student into a class full of kids like me (all A's, type A academic overachiever)--it wouldn't be fair to them. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and mine was athletic.
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  #50  
Old 08-14-2009, 02:14 PM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Looking around the web I can find numerous abstracts for papers that show links between physical fitness and academic success. [snip] And, even if being fit doesn't lead to more academic success, I think we can generally agree that it's a good thing to encourage for everyone. If some students are so focused on getting into college that they only care about their GPAs, then what's wrong with using that to motivate them to get into better shape?
Since when does your PE grade have anything to do with being in shape? I spent over a decade of my life doing Irish dance--from age 7 to 17. I was in great shape in high school: in my sophmore PE class, during the weightlifting unit, I was able to max out the weight on the machine for leg extensions (at least 200lbs). I was also in the advanced academic classes. Guess which had the better grades and which had the worse ones.
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