Assessment in Invasion Games: Part Six – Reflecting on the Journey

This is the sixth and final part of the Assessment in Invasion Games blog post series. If you have not yet read part onepart twopart threepart four and part five start there before continuing to read here.

Throughout the Assessment in Invasion Games series I have shared how I aimed to use proven physical education research to change the way I assessed student learning in invasion games.  In the previous five parts to the series I have described why I wanted to change the way I assessed students in invasion games, how I planned for an implemented the assessments, as well as shared examples of assessment templates that I used with my students. I showed you how technology assisted me and my students throughout the unit and shared assessment data gathered throughout the unit.

In this final part of the Assessment in Invasion Games blog post series I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect upon the process. To assist me in reflecting on the process  I have decided to use the Taxonomy of Reflection framework which I first blogged about back in May 2015. This is a framework I regularly use with my students to help them focus their thinking when reflecting upon their learning.

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When I began my invasion games unit earlier in the year, I knew that I wanted to overhaul the way that I assessed the students progress, particularly after reading a paper by  Shane Pill where he suggested that  “assessment of games and sport in physical education has often not been authentic.” and that “assumptions should be authenticated with authentic evidence of student learning.”
I went about researching methods for assessing student performance in decision making and skill execution and created a Passing & Catching Peer Assessment as well as a Google Form assessment based upon a video by Dr James Mandigo. Once the assessments had been conducted throughout the unit, I analysed the data using Google Forms and used this to inform my reporting of student learning and achievement.

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As Shane Pill mentioned often the way that we assess students in physical education is based upon assumptions. Every time that we make an assumption that Student X is the “best player” so they must have the best tactical knowledge and understanding of the game we are reinforcing this inauthentic assessment.
In their book, Doherty & Brenna argue that physical education has traditionally been a relatively “data-poor” environment because of an absence of effective strategies to capture what learning has taken place. Brown & Hopper also suggest that as physical educators, too often we attempt to measure pyschomotor competence in games units through skill tests, and we create contexts that mitigate against student success no matter how much effort they exert. By using simple skill test reliant assessments & observation rubrics implemented at the end of a unit we are failing to authentically assess student performance.

By changing the way I assessed my students and focusing on assessments developed to capture explicit pieces of evidence in an simple invasion game, I was able to collect meaningful data on each student. This enabled me to make informed decisions not only about the way that I reported on student learning and achievement but also to reflect on the way that I was teaching the unit.

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Changing the way I assessed my students in this invasion games unit definitely opened up my thinking about the way that I will assess my students in other areas throughout the upcoming school year and in the future. The invasion games assessment tools which I used throughout this process will form the basis of my assessment in my next invasion games unit. I will also endeavour to create more assessment for other units, with the focus being on being able to collect meaningful data which demonstrates student learning and achievement.

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In part one, I shared how Doherty & Brenna argued that physical education has traditionally been a relatively “data-poor” environment because of an absence of effective strategies to capture what learning has taken place. I believe that the data that was collected using the GIF assessments and Passing and Catching Peer Assessment helped me as a teacher to capture the learning that had take place over the course of the unit. It allowed me to see improvement in individual students ability to make good decisions with and without the ball, as well as execute skills effectively. It also allowed me to reflect on the way that I taught the unit and which tactical areas need more focus next year.
One issue that I did face with the assessments was the validity of the data gathered using peer assessment. How could I be sure that the students completing the peer assessments were fully aware of what they were looking for and subsequently was the data that collected valid. This is an area which I will inquire further into as I continue my assessment journey in the future.

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Overall I was extremely happy with the assessment journey that I undertook over the course of the invasion games unit. I feel that the research I consulted and the assessments I created enabled me to gather meaningful data, which in turn enabled me to see genuine evidence of student learning and achievement throughout the unit.
As I mentioned earlier, one concern was the validity of data collected through peer assessment, however this is an area I will continue to inquire into.

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After the success of this assessment process and the popularity of the post within the #PhysEd community, I will aim to develop further authentic assessment procedures for other areas of learning within physical education throughout the coming year.

I will also be turning this Assessment in Invasion Games blog series into an easy to access and use eBook resource for iPhys-Ed.com subscribers which will enable you to begin your assessment journey. This resource will be released very soon and to make sure you do not miss out make sure to subscribe here to have it delivered directly to you.

Nathan Horne is a Physical Educator based in Singapore and founder of iPhys-Ed.com. Be sure to never miss out on any of iPhys-Ed.com’s future posts by connecting with us via TwitterFacebook or by subscribing.
Nathan can be contacted on Twitter @PENathan or via email at nathan@iphys-ed.com