Assessment in Physical Education: Charting progress through Authentic Core Tasks
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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.
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