By Vera Lin
Instead of seeing the familiar pass or fail marks, students will now receive letter grades next to Physical Education on their report cards. This new grading system began this year as part of the Physical Education department’s incentive to motivate students to be more active participants during gym class. Students will now be graded based on a five point system in which students receive one point for being present and dressed appropriately and four points for effort during each class.
The new grading system has generated mixed responses among students—some fearing low grades and others anticipating the opposite.
However, the new grading system was not established to judge athletic skill during gym class. “We want to stress that the grades are not based on ability. Rather, they are based on effort and attitude,” said Coach Tom Umstatter, head of the Physical Education department.
Along with encouraging students to be active during gym class, the new grading system also aims to acknowledge the students who are consistently prepared and willing to participate. Although the grades will not affect students’ GPAs this year, the Physical Education department is working to incorporate the grades into GPAs in the near future.
While this grading system is just being introduced to South this year, many schools on Long Island, including Commack, Port Washington, and even Great Neck North, have already been using this system for many years.
So far, it seems that this grading system has had a positive influence on student participation in gym. “Overall, it seems that the new system is working well for students,” said Coach Umstatter. “The majority of the grades that I’ve been giving out are 5’s. They seem more willing to participate, which makes grading a lot easier.”