can my students improve if they cannot even do 1 rep?
Challenge as an Assessment Tool
Personally, I use the Presidents
Challenge as a major assessment tool in my Physical Education class.
I give the test 2 times during the school year. Once in the Fall, and then
again in the Spring. I use the data from the Fall test, to help
determine the areas in which my students are lacking, both individually
and as a whole. For example, the past several years, my students are
lacking in upper body strength and endurance. Therefore, I
continually add upper body and endurance skills, drills, and equipment, to
my curriculum. Furthermore, I can track the data of each student and
monitor their progress during the school year.
The Presidents Challenge is comprised of 5
events: Curl-ups (partial curl-ups), Sit Reach (V-Reach), Endurance
walk/run, Pull-ups (Arm-Hang, Push-ups), Shuttle-Run.
My Personal preference.
Personally, I use this test as an assessment
tool, so I make so modifications to the actual test, as written.
First, due to time and test control issues, I use Curl-Ups, Sit Reach,
Mile walk/run, Pull-Ups (Arm Hang), and Shuttle Run. In my humble
opinion, I feel that push-ups and the partial curl-ups are difficult to
monitor and therefore may skew my test results. Furthermore, I can
test the same area with pull-ups (arm-hang), and curl-ups. Following
are how I run each event and the modifications that I use, if any.
- This event measures abdominal strength and endurance.
Have student lie on cushioned, clean surface with knees flexed and feet about 12 inches from buttocks. Partner holds feet. Arms are crossed with hands placed on opposite shoulders and elbows held close to chest. Keeping this arm position, student raises the trunk curling up to touch elbows to thighs and then lowers the back to the floor so that the scapulas (shoulder blades) touch the floor, for one curl-up. To start, a timer calls out the signal "Ready? Go!" and begins timing student for one minute. The student stops on the word "stop."
Personally, place my students in groups of 4. 1 person performs the
curl-up, the 2nd holds their feet, the 3rd and 4th are counters.
With this set-up, I have 4 counters for each person performing the
curl-up, so there is less chance for getting a wrong count.
Also, I have some students who cannot do a
curl-up, so these students will do crunches, or I may let them grab their
pant legs to help pull themselves up. Of course, they cannot earn a
presidential or National Fitness Award, but it gives the student and me a
number on which we can work to improve. (By the way, I take time at
the beginning of this unit to discuss feelings and not "putting down
others". When a student uses a modification, the other students
are very supportive. Furthermore, the student can now work on the
exercise with success.
- This event measures flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings.
Sit and Reach A specially constructed box (see below) with a measuring scale marked in centimeters, with 23 centimeters at the level of the feet. Student removes shoes and sits on floor with knees fully extended, feet shoulder-width apart and soles of the feet held flat against the end of the box. With hands on top of each other, palms down, and legs held flat, student reaches along the measuring line as far as possible. After three practice reaches, the fourth reach is held while the distance is recorded.
- This event measures flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings.
Mark a straight line two feet long on the floor as the baseline. Draw a measuring line perpendicular to the midpoint of the baseline extending two feet on each side and marked off in half-inches. The point where the baseline and measuring line intersect is the "0" point. Student removes shoes and sits on floor with measuring line between legs and soles of feet placed immediately behind baseline, heels 8-12" apart. Student clasps thumbs so that hands are together, palms down and places them on measuring line. With the legs held flat by a partner, student slowly reaches forward as far as possible, keeping fingers on baseline and feet flexed. After three practice tries, the student holds the fourth reach for three seconds while that distance is recorded.
Preferences: I have students
perform a variety of lower back and hamstring stretches before we actually
test. Personally, I use a homemade box, and use the Sit-Reach
test. However, that is my personal preference,
and I cannot say that it has a huge advantage over the v-reach.
However, considering the increments of the Sit-Reach (cm) compared to 1/2
inch increments (V-Reach), I feel I can be more accurate with the
Sit-Reach. By the way, having students remove their shoes will help
improve their score (slightly).
Walk/Run - This event measures heart/lung endurance.
On a safe, one-mile distance, students begin running on the count "Ready? Go!" Walking may be interspersed with running. However, the students should be encouraged to cover the distance in as short a time as possible.
Personally, I have my students pair up for the run. One will run,
while their partner will help count their laps. I also, tally the
laps for each runner. I have each runner say their last name and
their lap, each time they go by me (at the finish line). This way,
not only can I count laps, but this helps me check for any problems with
the runners (ex: if they are having trouble talking, breathing).
I have learned to prepare students for this event
by having them do a timed jog, at the beginning of class, once a week. ( I
use a large timer so they can see how long they jogged before having to
walk, they will then try to best their time. 5min. max). I help
motivated kids by publishing the students who can jog 5 min. without
stopping, in the Joggers
Guild. My guild is on the internet, but
also placed on our bulletin board.
By the way, I use the mile because I feel it
gives me a better measure of the endurance of my students. Stress,
that while we know some kids are competing for an award, each student is
competing only against him/herself! The goal is to personally
improve upon your own score.
- This event measures upper body strength and endurance.
Student hangs from a horizontal bar at a height the student can hang from with arms fully extended and feet free from floor, using either an overhand grasp (palms facing away from body) or underhand grip (palms facing toward body). Small students may be lifted to starting position. Student raises body until chin clears the bar and then lowers body to full-hang starting position. Student performs as many correct pull-ups as possible.
- Using either an overhand grasp (palms facing away from body) or underhand grip (palms facing toward body), student assumes flexed-arm hang position with chin clearing the bar. Students may be lifted to this position. Student holds this position as long as possible.
When testing for an award, if a student does not qualify National on the
pull-ups, I will let them do the arm hang. According to the
Presidents Challenge, a person can only do the arm-hang if they cannot do
1 pull-up. I feel this is unfair to the students who can do 1
pull-up but not qualify for National. In short, you are penalizing a
student because he can do a pull-up. This is why I allow all
non-qualifying students to test for an award with the arm-hang.
On the arm-hang, will lift (or let them use a
chair) to start with their chin above the bar. This way they are not
wasting energy to start.
Run - This event measures speed, quickness and agility.
Mark two parallel lines 30 feet apart and place two blocks of wood or similar object behind one of the lines. Students start behind opposite line. On the signal "Ready? Go!" the student runs to the blocks, picks one up, runs back to the starting line, places block behind the line, runs back and picks up the second block and runs back across starting line.
My Preferences: I have found that the scores are
substantially lower when I set this up on the blacktop. In the
gymnasium, the students tend to slide, which will increase their
to the top
to help students improve.
First, it is important to have a variety of
levels of most, if not all, exercises, skills etc, to insure that the
students have an opportunity to succeed. The Presidents Challenge is
no different. While I hold true to the criteria for earning awards,
I have optional modifications for students who will not qualify for a
National or Presidential Award, to succeed. Remember, this is an
assessment tool, so students only need be concerned about their own
personal improvement. With this in mind, I will give you a handful
of modification ideas, then you will see that your creativity is key to
insuring success. For students who cannot do, or have trouble doing
- Students can improve in this area by practicing
similar to the curl-up, but only raise upper body as high as possible
(lower back on the ground, face toward the ceiling).
Curl-up- Similar to a curl-up, but allow the student to grasp their
pant legs to help themselves up.
Curl-Up - Allow the help of a partner to support their shoulders to
assist them up, or allow them to join hands to assist.
- Students can improve in this are by practicing any number of
stretches designed for the lower back and hamstrings. Make sure that
you demonstrate proper stretching and breathing technique.
Walk/Run - Students can improve in this are by
practicing proper endurance and pacing technique. Practice timed
jogs (as described in the Mile section above), keep it interesting with
(Music, Games, Motivators,).
- Students can improve in this area by practicing:
Pull-Up - I have my students work in pairs by similar size.
One person will perform the pull-up, while the other holds their waist
(Hands only on the belt line) and helps lift them through each rep.
Pull-Up - Lower the bar so the student can keep their feet on the
ground (body and legs stay straight, but are slanted away from the bar,
while chest is directly under the bar). Perform modified pull-ups.
- you know how this is done. Arms directly under shoulders, feet together,
Push-up #1 - Same as a push-up, but knees are on the floor instead
of toes. (bottoms of feet toward the ceiling).
Push-up #2 - Lay flat on the floor, and just do the push-up cycle
(knees or regular).
Push-Up #3 - Perform push-up slanted against a wall, instead of the
floor. The steeper the slant, the more difficult the push-up.
Push-up - Have a partner help lift at the hips.
- Students can improve in this area by practicing games, skills, and
activities that encourage quickness and agility. Back
to the top
Now, lets discuss the gathering and tracking of
data. First, I give all of my students sheets in which they will
track their own data (3-5 grades, younger grades may be less
independent). Students tracking their own score has many
perks. First, they can see the areas in which they need to
improve. Secondly, they can monitor their progress. Finally,
they can make sure that my tracking is accurate. So, as stated
earlier, I will test in the Fall and then again in the spring. The
fall test lets the students and me know in what areas we need to improve,
while the Spring test will give us feedback on how effective we were
during the year.
Until last year, I collected and crunched this
data by hand. In fact, I made a mini unit where the students would
help crunch the data and come to their own conclusions. While this
was a great idea, it was very time consuming. Now I have a program
called Fitness Pro, that is a lifesaver in analyzing all the data.
Yes, I still have to collect and enter the data (I have high school
aides. Bet you have parents or student aides who could help), but
the rewards are great. I can analyze any student, group of students,
class, school etc. It can give me average scores, high scores, low
scores etc. I will not go into all the details of the program, but
it will do virtually anything, including creating your own tests (The
Presidents Challenge is preloaded, however, I had to make a few
To help with motivation, I always have my
all-time high scores posted (by gender and grade for each event).
And now that I have Fitness Pro, I post the top-ten scores (by gender and
grade) for the year.
In short, by collecting and analyzing this data,
I can modify my curriculum to improve on our weak areas.
Furthermore, each students can see and improve on their own weaker
to the top
& Lead Up/Tag