Official Journal of Physical Education Foundation of India.
Vol. 10 No. 1 (2021): Volume 10, Issue 1, Year 2021

Assessment in Physical Education: Charting progress through Authentic Core Tasks

Nigel Roland Green
Chair of International Physical Literacy Association, 9 Pine View, Winstanley, Wigan, WN3 6DF, England, UK.

Published 2021-05-27


  • Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes Taxonomy,
  • Physical Education, Physical Literacy,
  • Threshold stages,
  • Assessment,
  • Charting Progress,
  • Authentic Core Tasks
  • ...More

How to Cite

Green, N. R. (2021). Assessment in Physical Education: Charting progress through Authentic Core Tasks. International Journal of Physical Education, Health & Sports Sciences, 10(1), 32-41. Retrieved from


Assessment has increasingly been used for accountability purposes rather than as an important part of pedagogy. This has certainly been the case for Physical Education (PE), where it has tried to maintain parity with other subjects (Decorby, Halas, Dixon, Wintrup, & Janzen, 2005; Kohn, 2003). However, the clarity of what is being assessed, in the name of physical education, and how to do this most effectively, has, in many cases, not been clearly articulated to teachers or clarified by governments and guiding physical education organisations. With a clear understanding of what physical education is and what progress looks like, it is possible to develop assessment practices that allow teachers and pupils to reflect on and chart progress. Clearly articulating stages of progression in learning in a multifaceted subject enables PE teachers to chart progress with confidence. Supporting the assessment process with ‘authentic core tasks’, that allow progress to be considered and reflected upon, relative to realistic practical activities, enables teachers, pupils and parents to appreciate and celebrate progression in PE. This paper will consider the key stages of development within PE related to the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) Taxonomy and Threshold Stages, underpinned by physical literacy. It will also consider students progression through surface and deep learning (Marton and Säljö, 1976) within PE. The paper will go on to provide practical examples of how ‘authentic core tasks’ can provide the mechanism by which teachers and students can reflect on their progress and consider their next steps in PE.


Download data is not yet available.


  1. Arnold, P. J. (1979a). Education, Movement and the Curriculum. In P. J. Arnold (Ed.), Meanings in Movement, Sport and Physical Education (pp. 162-181). London: Heinenmann
  2. Biggs, J. (1999). What the student does: Teaching for enhanced learning. Higher Education Research and Development, 18(1), 57–75.
  3. Biggs, J., & Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the quality of learning: The SOLO taxonomy. New York, NY: Academic Press.
  4. Brown, T. D. (2013). A vision lost? (Re)articulating an Arnoldian conception of education ‘in’ movement in physical education. Sport Education and Society, 18(1), 21-37.
  5. Caffrey, E.D. (2009). Assessment in elementary and secondary education: A primer. A CRS Report for Congress (7-5700). USA: Congressional Research Service.
  6. Chambers F. C., Aldous D., & Bryant A. (2020). Threshold Concepts in Physical Education. Retrieved from
  7. Davids, K., Button, C., & Bennett, S. (2008). Dynamics of skill acquisition: A constraints-led approach. Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois.
  8. Decorby, K., Halas, J., Dixon, S., Wintrup, L., & Janzen, H. (2005). Classroom teachers and the challenges of delivering quality physical education. The Journal of Educational Research, 98, 208–221. doi: 10.3200/JOER.98.4.208-221
  9. Desrosiers, P., Genet-Volet, Y. & Godbout, P. (1997) Teachers’ assessment practices viewed through the instruments used in physical education classes. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 16(2).
  10. Dudley, D.A. (2015). A conceptual model of observed physical literacy. The Physical Educator, 72, 236–260.
  11. Hattie, J. A. C., & Brown, G. T. L. (2004). Cognitive processes in asTTle: The SOLO taxonomy (asTTle Tech. Rep. #43). Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland/Ministry of Education.
  12. Hay, P. J. (2006) Assessment for learning in physical education, in: Kirk, D., MacDonald, D. & O’Sullivan, M. The handbook of physical education, London, Sage.
  13. Kohn, A. (2003). The 500 pound gorilla. The Teachers’ Net Gazette, 4(2). Retrieved from
  14. Marton, F. and Säljö, R. (1976) On qualitative differences in learning. 1 – outcome and process. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46, pp. 4–11.
  15. McTighe, J. and Wiggins, G. (2012) Understanding by Design Framework accessed 16.3.21
  16. Melograno, V. J. (1994) Portfolio assessment: documenting authentic student learning. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 65 (8): 50-61.
  17. Meyer, E., & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines. Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses Project, Higher and Community Education. Universities of Edinburgh, Coventry and Durham, TLRP ESRI. Occasional Report 4.
  18. Pe´rez-Pueyo, A. (2004) Estudio del planteamiento actitudinal del a´rea de educacio´n fı´sica de la educacio´n secundaria obligatoria en la LOGSE (Leo´n, Universidad de Leo´n).
  19. Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. London, England: Routledge.
  20. UNESCO (2013a). Declaration of Berlin. MINEPS V, Berlin, Germany, May 28-30. (Accessed 20/11/2014).
  21. UNESCO (2015) Quality Physical Education (QPE): guidelines for policy makers.
  22. Whitehead, M. (2019) Physical Literacy Across The World, Routledge Oxon.