Quick Assessment Strategies for Student Learning! [Interactive]

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[0:02] Hey, everyone. Today on the PE Express podcast, I wanted to talk about an important word, assessment. This word may bring up a variety of feelings within you upon hearing it. My hope is that by the end of the short podcast, you will have a quick assessment strategy that you can add to your teacher toolbox to help your students and yourself in the gym. Let’s get to it.

[0:43] So if your school schedule is anything like mine, your students probably don’t have much time in Physical Education class. When I am in person, in the building under normal circumstances, my students get 60 minutes of PE per week. In the world of virtual teaching and learning that has been our new reality since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, my students are only getting half of that each week. Neither amount is enough in the grand scheme of things. So regardless of this lack of contact time with our students, it is still important to check to see what our students could do, know, and show as a result of our instruction. That’s where assessment comes in.

[1:18] Oftentimes, for assessments to be practical within our limited time frame with our students, our assessments need to be quick. For this reason, I like using an instructional strategy called E.P.R.s or Every Pupil Responses. So just like the name suggests, E.P.R.’s allow for all of your students to show an answer to the same question pretty much at the same time. There are many educational tools that can be considered PPR’s, but for the context of this podcast, I want to focus on the methods that don’t require any extra student materials. So keeping things simple ensures quickness. So let’s take a look at E.P.R. method in which students respond to a question using only their hands as sort of a come to life version of a typical multiple-choice question that students may see more commonly on a formal quiz or a test.

[2:14] So as a teacher when I plan to check for my student’s level of understanding related to a skill or concept in which I want them to respond using an E.P.R., I like to pose questions to my students both verbally as well as display it on my screen. When I’m teaching virtually this involves sharing my screen so they can see it on their end on the computer or when I’m in person with my students I like to use my projector for this. So on display not only do I have the question that I want them to answer, but I will also have potential answer choices usually in picture form displayed as well. Each with their own hand signal for students to show me their answer nonverbally. So for example, during a lesson on pathways, I may display a question of which picture is a straight pathway on my screen. I will then have a picture of each of the three pathways, curvy, straight, and zigzag on the screen as well, and each of those picture choices as answers are labeled with a number. So maybe curvy has a number one labeled on it. Straight has a number two labeled on it, and zigzag has number three labeled on it. So after showing students the potential answers in picture form with their corresponding signals 1,2, or three, I would then ask them to show me on their fingers, which answer they think is correct and as students hold up their answers on their fingers, I as a teacher can quickly kind of scan the group, engage how well my students understand the concept of the question that I was asking.

[3:46] And if I wanted to use this strategy as more of a summit of assessment compared to a formative one, I can even record their answers by using a checklist or simply just take a picture of my class as they’re all holding up their answers on their fingers. That way, I can look back at that picture later and give them a grade based on their response. So hands-only E.P.R. strategies have been tremendously helpful for me over the years for a quick cognitive and affective type assessment for my students. And this year, especially as I’ve embarked on virtual teaching and learning with my students, I would say that they have become absolutely essential, particularly for my youngest students with limited digital literacy skills.

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