With the growing trend of alternative options for receiving physical education credits, many schools, districts, and states are turning to online courses. The process of developing an online physical education course and integrating FitnessGram® assessments can be challenging, yet beneficial. Working in conjunction with The Cooper Institute®, Cobb Virtual Academy’s (CVA) method for testing students has evolved into an important aspect of the overall Personal Fitness course.
Since CVA only serves students residing within our school district, it is possible for students to meet face-to-face with teachers at the beginning of the semester. During this meeting, students participate in FitnessGram® to get a baseline of their current level of fitness. Scores are recorded on the individual student’s scorecard provided by CVA. After the assessment, students upload their data into our learning management system through a quiz format. This data will be utilized by the students throughout their course work during the semester. This reporting also enables CVA to gather our required student assessment data to report to the state of Georgia.
Using the data from their initial assessment, students create a personal wellness plan that includes self-analysis of their FitnessGram® scores and how their course workouts will help improve their fitness levels. Additionally, goal setting is an integral part of this plan. At the midway mark of the semester, students get a chance to revise their goals based on their progress. Students also get the opportunity to predict how their workouts will impact their final FitnessGram® test. At the end of the term, students complete a post-test assessment on their own during the last week of CVA Personal Fitness. These final scores are applied to a final wellness plan created by the student. This last assessment allows them to compare, contrast, and analyze their previous and current fitness levels. Furthermore, the students reflect on their scores and how they will implement fitness into their lives moving forward. For many of our students, this will be their last participation in a physical education course. Thus, teaching students the skills critical to assessing, monitoring, and developing their personal fitness is crucial. Through self-testing on the final FitnessGram®, CVA is preparing our students to be autonomous with their personal fitness for a lifetime.
Administering FitnessGram® in the online environment poses potential pitfalls, however, there are also multiple unique prospects available. For example, students can tailor their workouts to improve the specific aspect of fitness that they deem their weakest based on FitnessGram® results. In addition, the use of video for submissions can be an asset. CVA students have assignments to upload video of themselves completing repetitions of FitnessGram® assessments with analysis of performance errors. This also allows for teacher feedback on potential errors and corrections that need to be made for their final self-assessment. Valuable tools for our teachers include the availability of video conferencing, live online tutorials, or video recordings reviewing the protocols for FitnessGram® assessments. Next, the SmartCoach section of MyHealthyZone® allows teachers to download cadences, videos, and other resources to assist students in completing the final assessment on their own. While FitnessGram® can be a challenge in an online course, it can lead to a variety of engaging learning opportunities that will empower students for a lifetime of health.