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Fitness grades help South Colonie students measure up

Students will receive grades in running, stretching and sit ups as part of a new physical education report card being sent home to parents in the South Colonie Central School District next week.

According to Athletic Director David Foust, the district has been working on a report card for physical education for the past several years. With help from the IT department, the district was able to come up with a system for recording and reporting a student's progress.

The report cards are based on six physical fitness components: a pacer test to measure cardiovascular endurance; a sit-up test to measure abdominal strength and endurance; a sit-and-reach test to measure hamstring and lower back flexibility; a flexed arm hang to measure upper body strength; a shuttle run to measure agility; and a body mass index test of the ratio of height to weight.

Students are ranked as either a participant the most basic level; national; and presidential the highest level of physical fitness. They are graded with a

number that falls in a range that matches one of those three categories. The fitness grade does not affect a student's overall grade point average.

If students fall into the participant category, suggestions are made for how they can work harder to achieve their fitness goals. If a student receives a presidential ranking, the comment bar to the side of the number grade congratulates the student and tells him or her what can be done to continue that success.

Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Buhner said this feature is what makes the report card a useful tool for students and parents.

"What I liked, as a superintendent, was that you don't just have the reporting on the top but you also have some helpful information on the bottom. We want it to be a constructive tool to kind of make sure our kids know that fitness is important," said Buhner.

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