Part 3 Evaluation

Part three of this three-part blog series will focus on evaluation. We have major problems with how we evaluate students. We will identify those problems as well as a solution to those problems.

Part two  of this three-part blog discussed how we respond to our students once we diagnose where they are in their learning journey. Part one discussed diagnosing student understanding or preexisting knowledge of the material at the beginning of the unit.

How do we evaluate our students? Dr. Dean Dudley, a professor at Macquarie University, questioned the way we evaluate. During his video he states the following about evaluation:

It seeks to assist learning based on norm referenced health standards. You may have come across a few of these– fitness scores, quantifying moderate to vigorous physical activity, and so forth. Norm referencing in educational settings is inappropriate for three reasons. First, it gives us no indication of quality. Second, we seek as physical educators, we constantly seek to improve learning in our students, not merely stabilize it or compare it to others. And three, we work hard to reduce the gap between our high and low-performing students, not to normalize it. On the other side of the coin, we have educational assessment, which has now been driven largely by standards-based assessment protocols.

However, these models are often nebulous in their descriptors and lack validity and reliability to defend logical progressions of student learning. They also have failed to accommodate the students that exceed the described standards. Both of these predominant models of assessments do not focus on the needs of the individual student. There are differing stages of competence and progression in the student’s individual learning growth. Nor do they focus on significant attention across multiple learning domains, let alone do it simultaneously.

What’s great about Dr. Dudley is that he isn’t someone who just complains about something and doesn’t bring a solution to the table. His solution is to use solo taxonomy as an evaluation method. “The structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in student’s understanding of subjects.” link 

There are five levels that solo has the students identify their progress at:

  • Pre-structural – The task is not attacked appropriately; the student hasn’t really understood the point and uses too simple a way of going about it.
  • Uni-structural – The student’s response only focuses on one relevant aspect.
  • Multi-structural – The student’s response focuses on several relevant aspects but they are treated independently and additively. Assessment of this level is primarily quantitative.
  • Relational – The different aspects have become integrated into a coherent whole. This level is what is normally meant by an adequate understanding of some topic.
  • Extended abstract – The previous integrated whole may be conceptualised at a higher level of abstraction and generalised to a new topic or area.

I am going to end the blog here because I have very little knowledge of what solo taxonomy actually is or how to implement it. I am going to interview Lynn Burrows and Jo Bailey about solo taxonomy for the new series BlabberMouths 101.  The series takes the concepts we hear about and unpacks them for newbies like myself who have no knowledge and is overwhelmed when attempting to implement anything new. Jo and Lynn will take us through the process of where to start and any roadblocks that may arise along the way.

I would like to close out this series of the blog thanking Dr. Goodyear, Dr. Dudley, Mr. Vasily and every other professional who helped create the MOOC Outstanding Physical Education Lessons. You gave freely of your time and effort and the physical education community appreciates your dedication.


Q1. If you have participated in a MOOC what gave you the motivation to do it. If not why haven’t you?


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