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Verbal Assessment in PE – Part 2

 By Tammy Berry, CSS Phys. Ed teacher

 For more information on this project, please read the first blog post here.

I have now completed 100 grade 6 Garage Band (converted into iTunes) audio recordings. These audio recordings were placed on the desktops of students’ personal computers. Students received a mark on their written report card and then had an audio recording to replace the written comment for PE Term Two. These recording were about 3-4 minutes long in length.

Why did I do these recordings?

  • To get to know the students better (especially to find out what physical activity they were involved in outside of school) 
  • To help connect students to the Physical Education rubric and to clarify the PE expectations on a more consistent level 
  • To find out if students prefer the old method (written report card comment) to a verbal interview format. 
  •  To ensure that I connected with EVERY student in my Grade 6 PE classes by term end. 

After completing the interviews, I discovered a few things...

The benefits were as follows: 
  1. The students were open-minded and willing to have conversations with me. Having positive students who are comfortable giving and accepting feedback was key. 
  2. Students appeared to understand the language on the rubric (ie: Enhancing and Supporting Community, Contribution, Skill Acquisition, Connecting with Daily Life). It was quite an authentic way of assessing where they were at. 
  3. It helped me focus on what the true goals of our PE program were. For example; encouraging students to be active both inside and outside of class, to apply sportsmanship and leadership qualities attitudes learned in class to their activities outside of class. 
  4. It opened up more collaboration with my team teacher, Dean Schmeichel. We had numerous of conversations on teaching and learning in our PE classes. 
  5. Students were given a voice and in turn could take on more ownership of their learning and understanding in PE class. 
  6. It allowed me to get to know the students on a different level and also solidified the marks that I was already planning on giving them in class. 
  7. It ensured that I had a quality conversation with each Grade 6 student by term end. 

Some of the lessons learned were as follows: 
  1. Converting the conversation to an Itune was much better than leaving it in Garage band. I learned this after my audio recordings with 100 grade 8 students in Term One. I realized that Garage Band can be edited, but once it is moved to an iTunes file, it can not. 
  2. At times it took time away from time in gym class or away from the homeroom teacher’s class time. 
  3. I found that more prep work was necessary. I had to get ready for the conversation more than when doing written report cards. I used a Google document to get self-assessments from the grade 6’s before I started each of the interviews. The students took a look at the rubric on Google Docs, then rated themselves on their efforts during the term. I would then assess if we were on the same page before the recorded conversation started. 
  4. Keeping the interviews to 100 of my 300 students made it workable. I don’t think I am ready to take this on with all 300 of my PE students at one time. It gets quite redundant and tiring to have this many verbal interviews in a short time span. 
  5. It was necessary having a lot of support from administration with respect to trying a new way of assessing and when it came to getting a sub day to finish the verbal recordings that remained. Also the support of homeroom teachers was necessary and appreciated. This was because I had to pull some students out of class one day for 5-7 minutes each in order to finish the recordings.


Aimee said...

I really like your honesty in these reflective comments. Good for you to try this new approach. It sounds like it was very successful overall.

Garry McKinnon said...

Tammy, you share some great insights relating to the benefits and lessons learned through your action research on oral assessment in physical education. I like your focus on connecting with each and every student. In addition to enhancing the assessment process, you have demonstrated how verbal assessment deepens the student understanding of the rubric and curricular expectations, increases self-awareness and gives more ownership for their own learning. As well you provide an in-depth analysis of some of the challenges you encounter. Clearly the benefits outweigh the challenges and you have established a solid foundation for success on which to continue to build your assessment practices.

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