GPA Shouldn’t Be Influenced By Physical Strength

Physical achievement should not be equated with scholastic aptitude

By Shonushka Sawant | Web Editor

Many of us are either fortunate or devoted enough to get an A in P.E. However, some are subject to health conditions that are severe enough to lower P.E. grades, but not critical enough to merit exception from P.E. altogether. Physical achievement should be removed from GPA calculation altogether because these health conditions affect many high school students; some are so common that symptoms such as pain and stiffness are wrongly attributed to fatigue, and underlying conditions often go undiagnosed.

One such condition is Osgood-Schlatter disease, which is a common adolescent-onset condition. When a child’s long bones begin to grow more quickly than tendons, muscles, and ligaments, the result is a painful, bony prominence just below the knee that swells and aches during and after strenuous exercise.  Most teenagers who suffer from the condition are never diagnosed; those who are tend to participate in sports involving running and jumping, such as soccer. Students experience varying degrees of discomfort and pain, and Osgood-Schlatter disease often prevents the student from participating fully and getting an A in P.E.

Some might argue that a high grade in P.E. is easily attainable; so many people do well in P.E. with ease. However, this isn’t always the case. I’ve known students to take 5-Hour Energy or doses of painkillers that are higher than recommended–and all to earn an A on the Buum. Perhaps it’s the motivation to achieve a 4.0 that’s pushing students to such measures in P.E., but the system is flawed for one specific reason: the school lacks different levels of placement for different levels of ability.

To illustrate, we can compare the physical education department to the math department. Every Irvington student must take three years of math to graduate, just as he or she must achieve 20 physical education credits. However, there are over thirteen math courses to choose from, including Geometry, Algebra 2, and AP Calculus. Currently, there are about four math classes I could be taking instead of the one I’m in; each one would be a natural course to take after my sophomore math class and each has varying degrees of content and difficulty. There’s only one P.E. class available for a ninth or tenth grader; and it isn’t necessarily suited for the students’ physical abilities. Students come with different physical strengths as well as academic strengths. All students in Irvington have the option to take academic classes which they’re capable of doing well in; if P.E. is the exception, it’s only fair it shouldn’t be counted in a student’s G.P.A.