Assessment of Games and Sport in Middle and Secondary School PE

I recently worked with one of Australia's leading sport development officers, Mitch Hewitt from Tennis Australia, and John Williams from the University of Canberra, to professionally develop sport development officers in the ACT on the assessment of games and sport in PE (thanks to the Physical Activity Foundation: PE Pulse for organising this opportunity). The Sporting Schools Program provides a vehicle for sport in Australia to access schools, both for incursion type experiences and longer curriculum experiences. However, this funding 'won't last forever'. Therefore, two 'key ideas' in this workshop were that to create a demand for sport programs in PE, sports need to solve two 'problems' for the teacher: content that meets the PE curriculum expectations at different bands/year levels, and providing valid and reliable assessment of student achievement that teachers can use in their reporting to parents and other stakeholders.

At this point, I will clarify that in this blog, assessment is taken to mean "any action of information collection within education settings that is initiated for the purpose of making some interpretive judgements about students" (Hay & Penney, 2013, p.6).

Assessment practice is important as it is part of the focus on a key idea - educative purposes: that is, providing ongoing, developmentally appropriate and explicit learning about movement (ACARA: Health and Physical Education, 2018). However, research tells us that historically, many teachers assessment of games and sport has lacked a sense of legitimacy as their assessment has relied on a technique focus through the use of subjective observation or skills tests rather than contextual assessment. Further, many teachers have used subjective observation to give weighting to things like effort, wearing uniform, attendance, and participation (Young, 2011).

Contextual assessment is a form of authentic assessment. Authentic assessment involves real world contexts, transparent criteria, and a sensitivity to students. It also requires understanding of appropriate content obligations, such as those contained in common curriculum frameworks (such as, the Australian Curriculum for HPE). An important feature of authentic assessment is that it is valid. In other words, the assessment tool or process requires appropriate criteria for evaluating student evidence of achievement. Authentic assessment also requires reliable assessment instruments. This means, the degree to which the assessment tool produces stable and consistent results (Wiggins & McTighe, 2014).

To really know that a tool achieves stable and consistent results requires the tool be subjected to a validation process. Two assessment tools for games and sport have been through a process of validation and independent review.

The Game Performance Assessment Instrument (GPAI: Oslin et al., 1997, 1998)


The Team Sport Assessment Procedure (Grehaigne et al., 1997)




In the workshop with sport development officers, we showed how the two tools could be used as assessment for, as, and of learning, using examples that have been built into the Tennis Australian Tennis for Primary Schools and Tennis for Secondary Schools resources, and participants got to bench coach so they could play with the tools to better understand them. We explained how summative assessment within the context of the Australian Curriculum HPE context means gathering data to make judgements about students' demonstration of the Band level descriptions of student learning provided by the Achievement Standards. This requires understanding of appropriate content obligations, such as those contained in the Australian Curriculum HPE curriculum framework. In a previous blog I explained how to decode curriculum statements such as achievement standards, outcomes, or competencies so as to understand the content obligations along the continuum of achievement detailed in the framework.

I will be running some similar workshops for primary/elementary and secondary PE at the 2018 Asia Pacific PE Conference (APPEC), November 17-18, which will also include looking at, and getting to 'play with', ideas for formative assessment to both form and inform the learning. If you are interested in the assessment of games and sport teaching in PE, I hope you can join me at these workshops.





















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