Physical Education Assessments

By Patrick Healey

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Assessments in PE?

Assessing student learning has always been an important aspect in physical education, but has often been underutilized. Having formal and summative assessments integrated in regular classroom instruction is an imperative aspect of documenting student growth alongside teaching effectiveness. Physical education is a class where students can get a break from their usual structured classroom setting, and these written assessments bring back the formality of classroom activities. Let’s be honest, students dread written work in a class designated to increase physical activity and improve social skills. We can make these assessments more exciting and fun for students. Yeah, that’s right, fun assessments.

Storyboard That offers the ability to express student comprehension of psychomotor, cognitive, and affective domains in a formal format. Using technology with physical fitness is just an added bonus when taking advantage of this program. Bring a class to the computer lab for half the class or utilize a iPad/laptop cart as a station during a regular class. This could be especially useful during observations or the colder seasons when there is an abundance of students in one gymnasium at a time. Do you have students who cannot participate in activities for medical reasons? Here is a way to include them in a more interactive way. The following assessments are examples of how to use Storyboard That and can be modified to different cognitive levels with various unit plans.

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Cognitive Domain Assessment

Assessments that focus in the cognitive domain are designed to measure student understanding and knowledge of various aspects in specific classroom topics. The following activity is going to assess student learning on tennis rules and could be used as a formal formative assessment. Adapting this assessment to any sport, activity, or concept in the classroom could be done easily. Asking the students what type of hit is being used (forehand, backhand, etc.) is a great way to check for multiple aspects of the game. When students complete this storyboard, it reinforces basic student understanding of foundation skills for game play.

Cognitive assessments using Storyboard That could include having students create visuals of different rules of games and sports. Examples include asking students to differentiate between a ground rule double and an automatic double, or college football touchdown rules and professional football touchdown rules or showing the different areas covered in zone defense. These assessments can also look into strategies in a game situation, such as asking students to show what a "give-n-go" strategy looks like vs. a "pick-n-roll". Students may also practice different strategies by creating plays, routes, or other plans in a storyboard. This will help them better conceptualize plans of action and make them ready for a game setting.

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The following activity could be used as a summative assessment of a student’s ability to analyze a situation in a game setting. Student success will reinforce teacher effectiveness at a higher cognitive level. Giving the students the scenarios on the left and asking the student to complete the cells on the right will allow students to analyze a game situation. Asking students to create both cells will help them think critically about the game as a whole and challenge students on a higher cognitive level. Using two examples will allow you to see a bigger picture of the student.

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Psychomotor Domain Assessment

Assessments in the psychomotor domain measure student’s understanding of motor skills during gameplay or specific activities. This example assessment evaluates student understanding of proper volleyball form as a summative assessment. The activity does not challenge the ability to perform, but gauges students concept of form and techniques. Specifically, the focal point is on the proper form of a bump in volleyball.

Other psychomotor assessments might include different types of performance like variations of pitches in baseball. Concepts like adding spin on the ball using different tennis strokes could be easily understood as a visual concept. Asking students to create extensive form examples for the bump, set, and spike in volleyball could be a great summative assessment.

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Affective Domain Assessment

Assessments in the affective domain determine students' values, attitudes, and feelings about different aspects of a sport, game, or physical activity. Proper sportsmanship, effort, and teamwork are all measurable aspects of the affective domain and are assessed below. This assessment could be utilized as a formal formative or summative assessment at all grade levels. Teachers could modify this to a higher grade level by setting improvement goals.

The affective aspects of game play is critical in the early stages of development. If students recognize how to make sports fair, they will be likely to participate as life-long player. A great way to do this could be providing scenarios where a student is being challenged by someone from the opposite team. Ask students to create positive support scenes for opposing teams helping to foster more gracious winners and less sore losers. Failing in front of people is tough, but even the professionals strike out sometimes. Having the students create a three-cell story with the first showing a failure, second cell showing practice, and the final cell showing success, will help get the message across that hard work pays off.

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