Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evaluating a PE Program

When evaluating a physical education program, it is important to look at many aspects besides cognitive learning. While student learning is important, there are other parts of evaluation that must be met. These two other parts are curriculum and opportunities and cost-effectiveness. All three are part of the concept of triangulation, which puts three concepts together to create better research.

Student learning is reviewed by evaluating assessments. In a physical education class, this could often include cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning. Using tests or written assessments are a great way to see if cognitive learning is increasing in the students. Journal writing is one of the most effective evaluations for a physical education course because the teacher will learn if the students are enjoying the class or not. Skills tests are often completed for psychomotor learning, which generally pertain to a pre- and post-test. All three domains need to be looked at to see if student learning is increasing overall.

Curriculum and opportunities needs to be reviewed constantly. In a physical education program, there often is not a curriculum built that includes assessments. The curriculum needs to be looked at to find out if there are enough opportunities for physical activity and improvement throughout the year. Especially in elementary physical education, the time spent doing physical activity is limited because of state testing. An evaluation of this program would see the need to increase time spend in physical education.

Lastly, the cost-effectiveness of the program needs to be evaluated. When looking a physical education program, it may take some time to gain all of the research necessary in order to show the cost-effectiveness. Many communities find that physical education costs a lot of money for equipment and many times students are not getting the right opportunities. A physical educator would need to show how keeping students active is limiting their disease and less money spent at the doctor’s office.

If all three of these are included in a program evaluation, then the best results will be found. Triangulation is a great way to check to make sure the results that are found are the strongest evidence to show whether the program is effective or not.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Master Grade Reaction

After reading this review on Master Grade, I felt it was necessary to try it out. I have to say I am very impressed by this software. It was so easy to input all the information and all the calculations are done for you. The attendance is great as well since I go in daily to write in attendance. I feel that all of the strengths listed previously are all there and very appealing to any teacher.

One drawback I found was when calculating the final averages. When trying to include all of the previous data from this year, I could not label the categories to say what term it was. I was left with other term and miscellaneous. I would hope that there would be some way to fix this so that I would not have send reports home to parents that would confuse them more.

Also, if someone is planning on using this program, it is important to make sure that the whole school is on board. This program would be really great for all teachers in the school to use because then report cards would be easy. Putting all of the information in at once would be the best way to print them out or email them out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grade Book

After reviewing many grade book options, I settled on Master Grade by Maxium Developments, Inc. This can be found at: This is compatible with a Mac, which was a necessity for me to use it. This program can calculate grades, put in assignments, take attendance, have a seating plan, includes comments, creates reports and can be published on the internet.

This software is extremely easy to use and appealing to the eye. All of the buttons are located on the left to get to any section necessary. Everything is easy to add and edit as the semester continues. One great feature is that the class list can include address, phone numbers and emails of the students. This could make contacting parents very easy. Also, when doing calculations, it is easy to change the grading procedure specific to each student. A scoring system can be created and used, instead of just number grades. The attendance list and seating chart, may be a necessity for a school.

If a whole school is using this, it is a good program because attendance can be taken and then put online. Also, class lists and comments could be uploaded easily and not written in by each teacher. If one class is using this, it will take some time to set it up and it will look different from other report cards coming from the school. The program would need to be used throughout the school, but it cannot integrate multiple subjects. If a school needed to send out a report card that included all of the student’s data on one, it would not be possible to do with this program.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Please consider...

After reading Marzano’s book, I realized that the feedback style I received as a student, is the same I hope to give to my students. Health and physical education teachers are often considered specialists and many people believe that grades in these courses are unnecessary. In order to change this perspective, assessment needs to be changed to show that learning is happening, and this can begin with feedback. The assessment plan should be full of assessments given for each domain.

Especially in physical education, it is important to realize that many students will not want to continue participating if they do not succeed. When creating a curriculum, it is important to make sure that options are always given for students in order to create a positive learning environment. Also, teachers should note that if a student is not succeeding, there must be some sort of corrective feedback to help the student and attempt to keep them less frustrated.

When creating an assessment plan, it is very important to include both formative and summative assessments. I feel that in health and physical education, it is easy to incorporate those assessments because they can be part of any activity. Currently, there is not much of a push for these assessments, so it is important to revamp any assessment plans that are in place now.

Marzano feels that standards have created many problems in the United States. I would agree with this because there is a lot of content to follow. In health and physical education, it is important to remember that while each class has limited time, getting skills completed is one of the most important standards to complete. It is quite possible that all of the standards will not be completed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kindergarten Groups

This is for the kindergarten level:

• Introductions of classmates
• First day of classes
• Meet all of the other students in the class

• Self-assessment
• First day of classes
• Learn about who you are and about cooperation

• Create learning groups
• First week of classes
• Places students into teams after learning how to cooperate with others

• Talk about issues
• First weeks of class
• Teach students how to talk to others about the issues their groups are having and to work out problems

• Evaluation of progress
• Frequently throughout the semester
• Make sure students are working together and progressing

• Self-evaluation
• Mid and end of the semester
• Have students evaluate their own progress and cooperation

• Peer assessment
• Mid and end of the semester
• Have students evaluate their group members cooperation and progress

At the kindergarten level, it is important to realize that many students are egocentric and have difficulties working with others. When forming teams, it is best to put the students into groups. It can be as easy as by where they are placed in the classroom or an evaluation can be done to see what students work better in different situations. Once these teams have been made, it is important to re-evaluate the students frequently. Effective groups will be made with kindergarten students if they are constantly checked to make sure they are working together and helped with issues.

Peer ratings are difficult at this age, because many students cannot read very much. The best thing for this would be to give smiley and sad faces based on how well someone worked with others. At this age, one of the most important concepts to learn is cooperation with others, so it is important to put a focus on this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grade Confusion

To Whom It May Concern:

After reading the Chicago Tribune’s front-page story on grading, I found myself in complete awe that there are so many options. My daughter is in kindergarten and I felt comfortable with the 1-4 grading system this year. What I am confused about is the fact that this will be changing for next year. Why is there this need to change the grades after each school year?

I understand that my child receiving some 2s on her report card means that she needs improvement in this area. I don’t understand why we need to change this system for next year. I try to work with my daughter outside of school on the areas she needs improvement, but I cannot do this if the report card is changed each time. Will the next year include letter grades or number grades? Why can’t letter grades be used for all the grades?

While it may be shocking to you that parents don’t want to read through all the fine print of the report card, it shouldn’t be a shock that it doesn’t happen. I wish that information had been given to me at the beginning of the year explaining that the report cards will be changing each year and a new system will be used. If this article was not written, I would never have known there would be a change and my daughter would continue to perform poorly in some areas. Can we please figure something out to make this easier on everyone?


Jessica Lewis

Dear Mrs. Lewis,

After reading your concerns and the article in the Chicago Tribune, I can completely understand your confusion. Here at Wilmette School District 39, we attempt to help the children progress in every way possible, which means that standards-based grading must be used.

This grading is actually more helpful for you and the child because it tells you specifics about your child’s needs. Instead of just putting letter grades of averages, we attempt to show you how well your child’s competency in handwriting is, for example. We are currently changing this each year because we are trying to find the best grading system to use.

Letter grades that are averages of overall class assignments are not best suited for the elementary level, or for your child. We hope that you will stay patient with our testing and allow us to find the best way to educate your child. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Thank you,

Joseph Breen

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Which is better?

Criterion- and norm-referenced measurements have been debated over which is the best type of assessment. Both assessments have positives and negatives, but its up to the teacher to decide what is best for their classroom. Criterion-referenced measurement is used to compare an assessment to a learning task. Norm-referenced measurement is used to compare an assessment to the own student’s level (Linn & Gronlund, 2000).

Criterion-referenced measurement is also known as grading on a bell-curve. This has been criticized because it sorts students into categories, which can be unfair to students that perform poorly on one exam, but are placed into a different level. Criterion-referenced measurements are then used to place students into their “class” system by how well they have performed. Using this type of assessment can be considered a plus though because it is considered “democratic equality,” but this idea is not often agreed upon (Fendler & Muzaffar, 2008).

The United States classrooms are pushing to use more norm-referenced measurements, but criterion-referenced measurements are still used for standardized testing. An international look into Sweden shows that the use of criterion-referenced testing can be helpful in increasing grade point average. This is due to many different aspects and was shown to depend on the grade level and the gender of the students (Wikstrom, 2005).

While criterion-referenced measurement can be a positive, norm-referenced measurement can be as well. It does not allow for discrimination between high and low achievers. This type of grading also individually specific, so it does not compare the student to other students, which allows for more creative assessments other than just exams (Huitt, 1996).

While criterion-referenced measurement has been used often, even in the international setting, it may not always be the best choice for a teacher’s classroom. Many teachers are required to use it for standardized testing, but hopefully more teachers are beginning to use norm-referenced measurements in the classroom for their grade determination. In the end, it is up to the teacher and administration to make the final choice of how grading will occur.

Fender, L. & Muzaffar, I. (2008). The history of the bell curve: sorting and the idea of normal. Educational Theory, 58(1), 63-83.
Huitt, W. (1996). Measurement and evaluation: Criterion- versus norm-referenced testing. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from
Linn, R. L., & Gronlund, N. E. (2000). Measurement and assessment in teaching (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Wikstrom, C. (2005). Grade stability in criterion-referenced grading system: The swedish example. Assessment in Education Principles Policy and Practice, 12(2), 125-144.