An Exploration of the Change of Teacher Assessment Practice, in Physical Education at Key Stage 3, between 2000 and 2005/2006

Burkinshaw, Diane J. (2011). An Exploration of the Change of Teacher Assessment Practice, in Physical Education at Key Stage 3, between 2000 and 2005/2006. EdD thesis The Open University.



Teacher assessment has been the ‘modus operandi’ in Physical Education (PE) since its inclusion as a foundation subject in the National Curriculum in 1992, yet the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has consistently reported that assessment in this subject is problematic (1995, 1998, 2003, 2009). This research focuses on schools involved in initial teacher education and training, in partnership with Riverside University. Using an overarching case study strategy and a mixed methods approach to data collection and analysis (Yin, 2003), this longitudinal study explores the changes in teachers’ assessment practice in PE at Key Stage 3, over a seven-year period, at a time of unprecedented reform of teacher assessment and its relationship with learning at national level (Black and Wiliam, 1998a; DfES 2004; ARG, 1999 -2010).

Using the work of Harlen (2004a) as a tool for analysis, it demonstrates that within the framework of NCPE (2000), at the three data collection points (2000, 2005 and 2006) PE teachers, in the Riverside Partnership, are using an ever-wider range of methods and tools, in order to make dependable assessment judgements at Key Stage 3. There is evidence that teacher assessment practice in PE has developed in line with current thinking at national level, particularly in terms of involving the pupils in their own assessment to inform their learning. However, teacher observation remains the dominant assessment mode.

The study concludes that driven by the prevailing culture of performativity and accountability (Broadfoot, 2000b; Ball, 2003) in the schools in which the teachers were working, the PE teachers’ assessment practice increasingly moved towards the notion of ‘good practice’ in assessment in PE, as defined by Ofsted (2003b). However, given that teacher assessment practice continues to vary across the schools in the partnership, issues of consistency remain for the initial teacher training of the PE student teachers.

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