Developing a digital assessment in senior secondary physical education

Background: The Digital Forms of Assessment project is a three-year Australian Research Council Linkage research project being conducted by Edith Cowan University's Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies (CSaLT) in partnership with the Curriculum Council of Western Australia. The project is investigating the potential for a digital format external examination to rigorously interrogate student learning as demonstrated in and through practical tasks. Aims: The project has been designed to inform the ongoing development of Physical Education Studies assessment in Western Australia and contribute to national and international developments in assessment in physical education and other areas of education that incorporate a practical and/or performance dimension. It aims to investigate authentic digital forms of assessment with high levels of reliability that are capable of being scaled-up for state-wide implementation in a cost effective manner. It seeks to provide research based insights for physical education teachers concerned to design authentic assessment tasks that maximise opportunities for students' varied knowledge, skills and understandings to be demonstrated. Method: The project has utilised multiple methods of data collection to gather data relating to the development and implementation of assessment tasks utilising digital technologies, student participation in the assessment tasks, the experience and outcomes arising from marking procedures also utilising digital technologies, and teacher and student responses to the new forms of assessment. It has involved video-recording and computer-based digital capture of student work, participant observation, digital capture of computer-based marking outputs, and interviews with teachers and students. This paper focuses on data from the first two years of the project, relating to the design, implementation and experience of undertaking digital forms of assessment. Discussion draws on data from five teachers and a total of seventy-two students in four schools participating in the first two years of the project, with assessment tasks addressing a range of physical activity contexts. Results: An assessment task comprising integrated computer-based and practically based components was designed, adapted for varied physical activity settings and successfully implemented in project schools. Students have perceived the assessment task to be authentic and meaningful for the Physical Education Studies course and have liked the way in which ‘practical’ and ‘theoretical’ aspects are combined in the task. Teachers have identified the task as aligning well with the pedagogic intent of the course and as providing a valid means of assessment of students' skills, knowledge and understandings relating to the aspects of course content that it was designed to address. Evaluation of the task implementation has utilised a feasibility framework, addressing technical, pedagogic, manageability, and functional feasibility. Results to date are encouraging in relation to each dimension. Refinements have been made to further enhance the task and implementation processes in the final year of the project. Conclusion: The study has demonstrated the pedagogic feasibility of digital assessment aligning with the pedagogical intentions of the new course in Western Australia. Issues are discussed in relation to the prospective wider implementation of the technologies employed.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Penney, D., Jones, A., Newhouse, P. & Cambell, A. (2012). Developing a digital assessment in senior secondary physical education. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 17(4), 383-410.