Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning in senior cycle physical education. Ongoing assessment allows students to make their learning visible so that they can receive formative feedback about how to improve their participation, performance and learning. Students can receive feedback as they engage in activities such as performing, competing, organising physical activity events, preparing presentations, designing advocacy campaigns for physical activity, self- and peer-assessment, reflection, and undertaking roles other than performer. Constructive feedback can be given by their peers, their teacher and/or through the use of ICT including apps, during or following assessment events. By taking greater responsibility for their own learning students can develop the skills necessary for lifelong, self-directed participation in physical activity. Assessment also provides teachers and students with information about what students are learning, how they are learning and how teaching and learning can be planned and improved. Further information and advice on how ongoing assessment can support students’ learning in physical education can be found in the NCCA Assessment Toolkit: Focus on Learning.
Using portfolios to support assessment for learning in SCPE
The use of a portfolio provides the flexibility for learners to gather evidence of progression in their learning and performance in SCPE. As students complete different ongoing assessment activities, including reflections during and at the end of the different blocks of work, they collect different pieces of evidence of their learning in a portfolio. It is not envisaged that learners will collect evidence of all activities completed. Learners are encouraged to use different media, including photographs, video and/or audio recordings in the compilation of the portfolio. The use of ICT allows learners to work independently on their portfolios and to develop the kinds of skills that will support them in becoming self-directed learners. Portfolios can be either paper based or digital depending on the particular circumstances in the school. Further advice on the management of students’ portfolios is available in Appendix A. Sample items for inclusion in a portfolio in the different blocks of work are outlined in Appendix B.
Teachers can choose to offer learners the option to compile a showcase portfolio using a selection of items from their portfolio. This selection should provide evidence of their important learning in each block of work in senior cycle physical education. Learners can use the features of quality below to support them in compiling a carefully-assembled showcase portfolio. Further advice on item selection and what a showcase portfolio might include is available in Appendix C.
Learners can also be actively involved in the assessment of the showcase portfolio, as they are then more likely to take ownership of it and find it worthwhile. They can be encouraged to assess how well their portfolio reflects the features of quality for the showcase portfolio using the self-assessment and peer-assessment skills that they have learnt throughout the course.
Features of quality for the showcase portfolio
All components of the portfolio are included in a well-organised fashion with a table of contents included. A variety of media is included. Items clearly represent evidence of learning for a selection of learning outcomes for this block of work. The learner displays a significant understanding of the concepts and applications involved. There is substantial evidence of a capacity to reflect on how the learning is influencing their attitudes, opinions and behaviour. The self-evaluation component is completed showing clarity of thought and insight.
Most components of the portfolio are included. Items represent learning in some of the selected learning outcomes for this block of work. The student has gained some understanding of the concepts and attempts to apply them. There is some evidence of a capacity to reflect on how the learning is influencing their attitudes, opinions and behaviour. The self-evaluation component is completed and shows evidence of thought and careful consideration.
The portfolio is largely incomplete. There is little or no evidence of important learning. The student has very limited or no understanding of the concepts. There is little or no evidence of a capacity to reflect on learning. The self-evaluation component is not completed.
It is important that learners’ participation in senior cycle physical education, including the completion of the portfolio, should be formally recognised by the school in a manner which is meaningful to students.