Assessment in Physical Education: A Teacher's Guide to the Issues

By Bob Carroll | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

How Can Theoretical Work be Assessed Satisfactorily?

This chapter would not have been appropriate a few years ago. However, as we have seen in chapter 2, the advent of the CSE brought theoretical work into PE which needed to be assessed in conventional ways. Theoretical work has since become established in GCSE PE syllabuses, and included as part of the National Curriculum, and has been discussed under 'cognitive objectives' in chapter 3. Traditionally theoretical work was not a demand of PE teaching, so it is not surprising that PE teachers had not been trained in the use of conventional techniques of assessment. There are many teachers of all subjects in schools who also have no formal training in assessment techniques either. All teachers have gone through schooling and are in fact successes of the examination system. They are also experts in their subjects so perhaps it is often taken for granted that they know how to set and mark different types of questions and examination papers very well. However, in fact, specific expertise is required to devise suitable questions and mark schemes over and above the expertise in the subject. It is my experience through INSET and examination moderating that many PE teachers lack this expertise. Before I examine the general requirements of specific assessment techniques, I will look at the technique requirements related to objectives and knowledge component of the GCSE and the National Curriculum.

The same basic principles are required for an effective assessment of theoretical work as well as practical work (see figures 4 and 5 and chapter 1). The task must adhere to the principles, but is now in either written or oral form, and the teachers' criteria is purely in the cognitive domain. The problem with selecting oral methods is the time consuming nature of individual answering and, like physical performance, there is no permanent record unless recorded. The advantage of the written word is that it can be assessed outside the lesson in a more considered way and is a permanent record. The same basic requirements of the teacher are also essential to theoretical assessment as in practical assessment (see figure 5 and chapter 1), but the skills required shift from observational to question and answer and traditional examining techniques.


Cognitive Objectives in the National Curriculum and GCSE

Table 12 shows the National Curriculum End of Key Stage Statements which require a cognitive assessment and these have been related to suggested forms of

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