The Value of Evidence
Evidence of program effectiveness increases the value of physical education for all stakeholders. The current high stakes academic environment has marginalized physical education while carefully designed assessment and effectively administered evaluation provides credibility, as well as positive change to the field. Collier (2011) states that physical education has traditionally held less value in the education system and one reason for this is the lack of assessment of student learning. As a solution, Collier (2011) says we must let all stakeholders know what valuable content has been learned through accurate documentation. We assess and evaluate to gain information on student learning and performance as well as to better understand the quality of instruction. The role of assessment and evaluation must be carefully examined as it gives crucial support to the credibility of physical education and the survival of the field.
Problems and Objectives
There are multiple problems and objectives to be considered with commitment to assessing and evaluating learning in physical education. Despite the barriers, if constructive and attainable steps are taken physical education teachers can effectively assess, evaluate and grade their students. According to Collier (2011) some of the problems teachers face are: inappropriate equipment, large class sizes, insufficient time, unsupportive educational environment, individual’s tightly held belief systems and knowledge of effective teaching with regards to assessment and evaluation. Though difficulties are present, current changes are taking place within the profession that help align assessment with learning objectives. Collier (2011) states that if assessment and evaluation are carefully designed and effectively administered it will: promote student interest and engagement, decrease off-task behavior, provides students with an understanding of the reasons behind their current level of performance, how to improve and give the teacher accurate information in relation to instructional effectiveness. If physical educators can commit to effective assessment and evaluation then student learning, enhancement of instructional practices and positive worth can be added to the field.
Methods of Assessment and Evaluation
Three methods with assessment and evaluation were identified and explained in the article. This included assessment literacy, embedding the assessment in instruction and grading. According to Collier (2011) five foundational elements of assessment literacy are: clear purpose, clear targets, sound design, effective communication and student involvement. Clear purpose answers the why, who, what and how the assessment fits into the big picture. Clear targets articulate and define an agreed aim of the assessment. Sound design of an assessment reflects accurately and objectively measures student achievement and abilities appropriately. The tool selected must validly measure the purpose at hand. Effective communication includes accurately recording information and sharing its understanding with all stakeholders. Student involvement in assessment includes peer-assessment, self-assessment, tracking personal progress and goal setting with discussion of targets and how the targets will be assessed. Embedding the assessment in instruction is also known as authentic assessment. This is a practice where knowledge and skills is assessed within the context of a real world situation rather than isolation. For example a tennis serve, volley and understanding of the rules are assessed while a student plays a game of tennis rather than testing each skill or knowledge separately in isolation. According to Collier (2011) it is a better measure of true ability, holds students accountable for on-task behavior and decreases the subjective nature of assessment. Collier (2011) offers guidelines to keep in mind with grading that includes: relating grading to standards, base a students’ grade off achievement in a number of assessments without comparing to other students (no bell curve), relate factors to achievement while variables such as dress, participation and attitude are reported separately, sample student performance rather than using one high-stakes assessment, not every assessment needs to be used for summative or evaluative purposes, give multiple assessments opportunities with precedence towards recent evidence, consider using mode and/or median as opposed to mean for accuracy, carefully record, store and maintain records and involve students in the assessment process. Utilizing the methods of assessment literacy, embedding the assessment in instruction and grading will bring validity and credibility to the assessment and evaluation process.
Positives and Negatives
Assessment and evaluation in physical education effects student learning and performance, instructional practices, quality of the program and the perception of the profession. A commitment to effective practices can increase the quantity and quality of these outcomes while a lack of commitment can have adverse effects. Collier (2011) states a need for a system that enhances learning, improves instructional practices, leads to a culture of continuous improvement, demonstrates student learning of important content and increases the value, accountability and credibility of the professional field. If a system is not in place and effectively used then physical educations perceived value is lowered, marginalized or even eliminated. The information stakeholders receive may be inaccurate and lead to inappropriate instruction further lowering student interest, increasing off-task behavior and lower level of performance. With the role of assessment and evaluation physical educators must carefully consider the influence of effective and ineffective practices and its impact.
The value of physical education as a profession is improved with effective assessment and evaluation practices. If there is to be a positive change to the field then physical educators must consider the role carefully designed assessment and effectively administered evaluation plays, its objectives, methods and effects for all stakeholders. If effectively implemented, assessment and evaluation provides evidence of student learning and accurately documents their achievement which brings validity to the learning process and credibility to the program as well as the profession.