Being confident and competent in the water is one of the most essential life skills you can have. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a pool, in a river or lake or in the ocean, having the ability to swim is not only essential for safety but it can be a hell of a lot of fun as well. Having the confidence and competence to swim opens up your physical activity options to include things like surfing, wakeboarding, fishing, water polo, diving or simply just having a good time splashing around with your friends during the summer.
If you have been following me on social media for the past 5 years you will know that in my current school in Singapore, that as part of our physical education curriculum we finish every year with 7 weeks of swimming at a local pool. This is one of my most favourite times of the year and I love seeing the students develop their ability in the water. There is nothing better than seeing a student, who is a little hesitant at first, develop their confidence and finish our swim program happy and confident to swim even in deep water.
Along with a focus on water safety, the main purpose of the swimming portion of our curriculum is to develop our students’ ability to swim the four recognised swim strokes to a level where they are able to compete in our annual House Swim Gala. Over the past few years, to assist us in helping the students to develop their swimming skills, I have created a number of different assessment tools which I have used to help assess and provide feedback to the students on their stroke technique.
The Swimming Assessment Toolkit
The Swimming Assessment Toolkit is a collection of all the different assessment tools that I have created and used as part of our swimming program over the past few years. It contains a combination of printable and digital tools that have helped me to assess student progress in developing their freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. All of the assessment tools use the BLABT principle. BLABT stands for the order in which a stroke is taught: Body position first, then Legs, then Arms, then Breathing and finally Timing.
Stroke Assessment Cards
The first set of assessment tools are the printable Stroke Assessment Cards. These two-sided cards are designed to be used for either teacher or peer assessment of the four recognised strokes. The front side features an image of the stroke and the back contains success criteria for each of the BLABT principles. When I use their cards I print them and then laminate for easy use by the pool.
Stroke Assessment Templates
To support the Stroke Assessment Cards, I created a number of different assessment templates that can be used for individual and group assessments. Each of the templates is different and provides space for recording student progress in the different stroke techniques. To round these templates off it the Individual Swim Stroke Assessment Record which shows student achievement in all four strokes.
Digital Assessment Tools
Also included in the Swimming Assessment Toolkit are three different digital assessment tools which can be used in place of the printable templates. Through the use of Google Sheets, Google Forms and Google Docs it is super simple for you to assess student progress right on your device and have the results immediately collected into a spreadsheet. Each of the digital assessment tools has an accompanying How to Use Video to help you get started using it straight away. One of the videos will show you how to use automation to create individual Personal Swim Records for your students created using the assessment data captured using the Google Form.