Assessing Multiple Standards
The skills and knowledge that we teach in physical education are best learned as a whole or in conjunction with each other. Our brain thrives on relationships, including the relationships among the various areas of the brain and the connections among the various standards. When we assess and teach multiple physical education standards at the same time, we are putting our students into natural learning situations, allowing the brain to do its best work! We are also helping students to understand the relationships among our standards.
We do not learn skills or concepts in isolation; the brain simply does not work this way. We know that the whole-part-whole method of learning is best for physical education, meaning you should teach the entire concept, break it down into more manageable parts, and reemphasize the entire concept. Our brains thrive on making new connections with as many neurons as possible. The more connections, the more learning will take place. Individual areas of the brain were once thought to work in isolation, but research has discovered that the areas of the brain work together and connect with each other. When we isolate our physical education standards, we are depriving the brain of what it does best—integrating the various areas of the brain so that greater learning takes place.
Many of the concepts taught for each standard can easily connect with one another. In making these connections, students construct their own meaning and develop skills they will need to lead healthy and fit lives. This also allows students to see how the standards relate to each other and makes it easier for them to recall and comprehend what we are teaching and assessing. There are many natural connections and similarities among the six power standards, and often we teach several learning targets at once that are not from the same standard. For example, when we do fitness testing (standard 4: “I am fit”), we also ask which fitness concepts we are testing from (standard 2: “I can train myself”).
When creating assessments from multiple standards, ask these questions:
- Which standards and objectives do I want to assess with this test? (Every standard should be assessed in some manner, but an occasional objective may be taught without being assessed; some of the standards and objectives within this domain may be assessed through other means.)
- Have I included questions for all the standards being tested?
- Have I included questions that assess the critical elements of the standards?
- Does the distribution of items across the standards reflect the importance I attached to the standards and that I communicated to my students?
- Do I have a sufficient number of items for each standard?
Effectively assessing multiple standards might involve one or all of the following:
- Using concepts from several standards
- Creating projects and assessments that require the understanding and application of more than one standard
- Encouraging students to recognize the relationships among concepts taught from each standard
- Using thematic units that measure several learning targets for more than one standard
- Using and assessing various domains (psychomotor, cognitive, and affective)
Table 10.2 shows an example of a general rubric for any standard or learning target to assess. How do you assess more than one? You can use this particular rubric to assess the depth of concepts understood and explained, level of mastery in a skill, and the student’s personal values. We highly recommend that teachers share their rubric with their students so that the students clearly understand how they are being assessed, regardless of whether the assessment is simply used to check for understanding or counts toward their cumulative grade in class.