Recently, major changes have been issued in the PE department regarding its fitness testing program. These include the introduction of the PLT4M app to record the results of students’ tests as well as new fitness tests themselves.
“The idea behind these changes was to assess athletic ability with the same efficacy but greater efficiency,” says athletics director Tim Bicknell. He, along with Doug Mynatt and Rachael Brewer, decided to “scratch it all, start with a clean piece of paper,” Bicknell said.
Cardiovascular strength will be tested by the mile run, and so came the removal of the twelve-minute-run. Upper body strength is assessed by the pull-ups test and abdominal strength by the plank. Push-ups and crunches are no longer necessary, as they evaluate one’s fitness in the same areas. Explosiveness, speed, and power will be tested by the forty-yard dash, replacing the hundred-yard dash, high-jump, broad-jump, and shuttle run tests.
These changes cut the time set aside for fitness testing in half, from 2-3 weeks to just one. The number of fitness tests was cut down from twelve to six and the program still has the same effectiveness in evaluating the students’ athletic ability.
“We tried to make “it” [testing] efficient as possible and still have the same effectiveness,” explains Bicknell.
The next problem addressed was the recording of test results. Prior to the introduction of PLT4M, students’ results were hand-written in a chart and then uploaded on a private server far from the hands of the student and their parents. It was a system that was poor at indicating individual growth and highlighting areas that need improvement.
A major reason Uni students are now required to use this “frustratingly complicated app,” as described by many students, is because it’s actually a lot simpler than the previous system. Students inputting their own results allows ease of access to the student, parents, and teacher.
The app not only gives the information, it interprets the data as well, customizing workouts depending on the student’s results. PLT4M is filled with thousands of videos created by experts designed to take one’s fitness to the next level.
“It’s efficient and allows for full use of the thirty-odd minutes I have for each class,” Bicknell says. “It’s used in over 1500 schools in 48 states across America so it must have some validity. So students, just bear with it and it’s bound to take your fitness to the next level as well.”