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.