Assessment: Don’t Overthink It!

As we begin the school year, many of you may be developing your assessment strategies and student growth/learning objectives. And if you’re like many teachers, you may have a tendency to overthink this by asking yourself questions such as:

Am I formally assessing the right skills?
Am I assessing enough skills?
Am I assessing too many skills?
What is the role of informal assessment in my daily lesson planning and does it “count”?

I’ve been supervising health and physical education for 16 years, and I’ve seen all of the above scenarios. I wish my answer was a definitive one, but of course, it depends.

Meaningful Assessment Questions

I would propose that the more important assessment questions to ask yourself are:

How many children are in my classes and how often do I see them?
What is a realistic and attainable assessment plan throughout my school year?
What tools/resources do I need and where can I get them?
What am I doing every day, in every class, to provide meaningful, specific and corrective feedback to the students that I teach?
What questions am I asking them?

Meaningful Assessment Questions

Every teacher needs to customize their expectations — and SHAPE America can help. Become familiar with SHAPE America’s National Standards for K-12 Physical Education and the National Health Education Standards. Then, log in to the SHAPE America Online Institute to identify professional development around assessment and more!

I also recommend having a look at the new edition of PE Metrics, the definitive resource to help you measure your students’ achievement. In addition, taking a skill-based approach to health can assist in developing assessments that are truly student-centered.

I know assessment is stressful. It doesn’t have to be. Just remember to ask yourself these two questions at the end of each lesson: “What did I want my kids to learn at the end of this lesson that they didn’t know before?” and “How do I know they learned it?”