As I approached my invasion games unit this year, I began to think about how I could not only teach the unit, but how I could authentically assess student performance and learning throughout the unit. I wanted to be sure that the learning opportunities that I was planning and presenting to the students were enabling them to develop not only their skills within these invasion games but also their tactical understanding and decision making skills.
In Dr Stephen Harvey‘s paper on Using a Generic Invasion Game for Assessment where he suggests “starting a games curriculum with a generic invasion-game unit, in which students are introduced to tactics in a non specific manner, may facilitate the teaching of basic game concepts before progressing to specific invasion games.”
Too often as physical educators we fall into the trap of wanting our students to play the “full version” of a sport like basketball, soccer or hockey without considering if this is the most appropriate way to introduce them to game concepts, strategies and decision making. By using a generic invasion game you may be able to create an environment where students are able to develop the transferable skills and understanding needed in order to play the “full version” later on.
Planning a Generic Invasion Game: Benchball
The basic 4v4 game of benchball that you see above was the perfect generic invasion game for me to use with my Grade 3-5 students as it enabled them to demonstrate their ability to pass, move into open space and make appropriate decisions with and without the ball. In this version of the game students were aiming to maintain possession of the ball by passing to their teammates and ultimately score by passing the ball to the player on the bench at the end of the court. The player with the ball could not move, only pivot when in possession of the ball.
Choosing the Assessment Tools
At it’s most basic I want to know if students know what they should do with and without the ball and if they can execute the skills necessary to be successful. I want to be able to assess their decision making ability as well as their skill execution.
The Game Performance Assessment Instrument (GPAI) (Oslin, Mitchell, & Griffin, 1998) was developed to measure “game performance behaviors that demonstrate tactical understanding, as well as the player’s ability to solve tactical problems by selecting and applying appropriate skills.” The GPAI contains seven basic components and can be adapted to assess students in a variety of games. Sounds like exactly what I was looking for right?
Another assessment tool that I knew about was the Team Sports Assessment Procedure (TSAP) which was developed by Grehaigne, Godbout and Bouthier in 1997. The TSAP provides information that quantifies an individuals overall offensive performance in an invasion game. It reflects both tactical and technical aspects of game play, allowing assessment of both how a player gains possession of the ball as well as disposes the ball once they have it. Through my research into the TSAP, it seemed like another tool with which I could assess my students decision making as well as skill execution.
From Research to Practice: The Next Step
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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 Twitter, Facebook or subscribing to our RSS Feed.
Nathan can be contacted on Twitter @PENathan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org