The New Way to Track Heart-Healthy Fitness in Schools

Are kids putting enough effort into physical education class? Educators in Dubuque, Iowa are determined to find out.

Starting this school year, middle and high school students will be required to wear heart rate monitors during gym class. It’s hoped that this will show teachers which students are putting in the proper effort, and which ones are slacking.

“It will be a large portion of their [the students'] grade, because we want to grade them on what they’re actually doing in our class,” Amy Hawkins, Dubuque Schools Athletic and Wellness Director, told ABC News.

“It really takes the opinion out of things,” she added. “You know it’s not really ‘I think your kid is doing this and this in class.’”

Students will wear the monitors on his or her chest during class. Middle school students will receive their monitors at the beginning of class, and return them when class is over. High school students will be responsible for bringing their monitors with them to class.

Once the students start moving around, their heart rates will appear on an iPad used by the teacher so they can monitor who is putting in the correct amount of effort.

It’s not just the teachers who will see the heart rate monitor information. The readings will also be sent to a projector that shows the data on a large screen. The idea is that students will be able to self-monitor and self-motivate based on what they see from the monitors.

As students participate in class, they can see when they reach their target heart rate and get an idea of the amount of effort they need to put in to stay there. Teachers hope the new heart rate monitors also prevent people from slacking in class, as well as give them a clearer picture of how the class is doing.

A similar effort from multiple students in P.E. may not always equal similar results. Some people are faster runners, some are better at sports, and some are pretty bad at whatever physical activity you throw at them. With the new monitor system, grades may begin to reflect effort and ability to keep heart rate up instead of athletic ability.


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Catrin K.
Catrin NoForwardsPleaseabout a year ago

Heart monitors seems a bit over the top ...

Fi T.
Fi T.about a year ago

Can it be workable for the grown-up?

JL A.about a year ago

interesting approach

Alexandra G.
Alexandra G.about a year ago

thank you for good article

Janet B.
Janet B.about a year ago


John chapman
John chapmanabout a year ago

I'm all for fitness, I ran today in 90+ heat.

But requiring kids to wear heart monitors, sounds a little big brotherish.

Luna starr
luna starrabout a year ago

so many fat kids

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harperabout a year ago


Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harperabout a year ago


Spencer Young
Spencer Youngabout a year ago

Not sure about this, but we need to do better for these kids today