PE Credits


Elena De Schutter

Students play Street Hockey during PE.

In California, high school students are required to take two years of PE to graduate. Many Wilcox students choose to finish these credits in their freshman and sophomore years in addition to a quarter of PE and a quarter of health in their junior or senior years. On the other hand, students have the option of taking Sports PE which is offered only during seventh period. Many coaches and student athletes use this class as additional practice time during their season. 

“It’s definitely worth it,” said Todd Beadell. “You get PE credits and it’s extra practice for the sport. Some sports even start practice during that time.” Beadell is enrolled in Sports PE for the volleyball season. He explained that because the season is in spring, the last sports season of the year, the volleyball coaches take advantage of the extra PE class to prepare the athletes in advance.

While the class itself counts as credit, many students, such as sophomore Lina Wordelman, have complained about their after-school seasons not counting as part of their physical education graduation requirements. 

“Other schools such as Homestead give out PE credits for participating in school sports. So why doesn’t Wilcox?” Wordelman asked. “Even if we don’t give out credit, it is absurd that school athletes are required to make up PE! One time, after a travel tournament, I had to run three miles a day in addition to the regular PE class.”

Wordelman’s complaints were not only about the credits that were not given on her transcript but about the pain and tiredness that she felt during the season when she took a regular PE class for credit as well as competing and practicing for the school swim team and then had to make up runs she missed because of the meets.

“I understand that missing classes besides PE would require me to make up work for that class,” explained Wordleman. “But for PE, I already exercise during my school swim tournaments, so why do I need to make up the credit?”

According to senior Alex De Schutter, some PE teachers, such as Mr. Huth, excuse student athletes from missed days due to sports. “One student had to make up a run, but was allowed to receive credit for it by writing a short paragraph about his track meet,” explained De Schutter. “Since he was already going to be running and getting exercise there.”

Lewis Keens from The Medium argues that sports are specific and certain sports will continue to exercise certain parts of the body and that PE in comparison covers a variety of physical activities designed to exercise all parts of students.

Most rules in sports are universally agreed and understood by those who participate,  yet ‘Physical Education’ as a term is used to describe a myriad of different experiences and activities,” wrote Keens.  

While physical activity outside of school is a healthy habit, and encouraged by many schools with sports programs it is not an option for all students. Yes, any student is able to participate in sports but it is possible some students do not have the time or motivation to do extracurriculars. By offering PE credits for sports, there will likely be a lot more students trying out for each season and in turn a smaller percentage of people trying out will actually make the team. This has the potential to make students who do not make sports teams feel worse about their physical abilities. 

However, having after-school sports count as physical education credits will allow students to take a wider variety of academic courses with open spots in their schedule. Many students chose to do summer PE for this exact reason, to open up their schedule to more APs or to double up on math or science classes. 

In conclusion, there are many differences of opinion on the amount of PE high school students should take and the variety of ways they are able to acquire these credits. Regular PE, Sports PE, and after-school sports are all adamant types of physical activity but whether that activity is considered an element of physical education is still up for debate.