Practical assessment is something which many of us consider as the holy grail when planning the delivery & assessment for BTEC & especially for us BTEC Sport Assessors. The concept of assessing using alternative methods (other than the written report) is something which we as assessors and practitioners see as a dreaded task. We very often associate practical assessment as a lot more time & work for us as assessors. Although there is a requirement for evidence to be provided (and not just in the form of a witness statement or observation alone) this can be done with relative ease & developed using the skills & time of the learner & not just ALL your time & effort. In this BLOG I am going to provide you with some examples of how to assess using practical and vocationally relevant assessment methods to assess the learners in your centre on the level the level 2 BTEC Sport Programme.
The easiest units to select to assess using practical assessment methods would be the units which include a vast amount of practical content (Practical Sport & Sport Leadership). However, one who always seeks a challenge I thought I would examine practical assessments for Unit 4 Anatomy & Physiology for Sport to provide you with an insight into how I use practical assessment when assessing my learners.
The first hurdle to take is to understand the concept that practical assessment does not mean that learners will complete the assessment on a sports field, court, or fitness suite simply playing a sport. However, the idea that learners cam use some of these situations within their assessments is not outside the realm of possibility. When delivering BTEC Sport I always think that the concept of practical as a tool or assessment & even delivery hour never be used lightly. Personally I never have a fill session where learners simply turn up & play every session has a purpose. Every week at key stage 4 my focus is to give learners at least 1 hour a week practical activity when possible. It is the ‘outside the box’ thinking that helps me maintain this ethos for practical assessment.
The first and in some way the most important concept to overcome is that we consider how we are going to contextualise the evidence requirement into the vocational scenario which runs through the assessment. In order to engage the learners into the tasks and assignment it is important that the scenario are tasks are appropriate for them. It is therefore important that the learners can see the meaning of the assessment and see the relevance to them within your centre. The more a learners engages into the assessment and sees the relevance as to why they are doing something the more involved and motivated the learner become with the completion of the assessment. For example the scenarios which are used which are overlooked by the learners often lose the focus of the assessment and the assessment loses its relevance to them. Using the assessments as a project personally for me is the most important concept. From lesson 1 I use the scenario and the requirements of the assessment from the first teaching session until the final lesson of each assessment (the assessment deadline). By the end of delivery & assessment the learners refer to assessment requirements & scenario rather than the unit name.
For this particular unit the learners in my key stage 4 class are set two projects but with the same theme (vocational context) running through each project (assessment/assignment brief). The theme which I use is that the learners have been asked to develop a range of revision materials which will support the GCSE students who are preparing for their summer PE exam. The theme of the assessment is that the materials which are to be developed using a more interactive approach. Through having the same theme running throughout the assessments for this unit enables my learners
The practicality for each learning outcome comes in a variety of forms. For learning outcome 1 effective methods of practical assessment include the methods of teaching that we all use when teaching the theory to the learners. For those who have delivered GCSE PE this will be how you used to do if for those groups. The only difference is now as assessors we have to ensure there is evidence for this.
For P1 – describe the structure and function of the skeletal system – the learners simply label the designated bones and I supply them with the list of bones which they need to label and they stick self made labels (which are large enough for a camera to see) upon a partner. For evidence the assessor the takes a still photograph – ensuring that each of the labels can be seen – this will need to be stuck or pasted onto a sheet of paper and labelled up. The learner should then be given the task to ensure that each of the labels is visible for you the assessor to make your judgement. This should be done by the learners prior to submission. As the assessor you would then simply check the correct location of each of the bones as listed in the specification (on page 68). If there are any incorrect bones located on the image then you simply request that learners complete the task again. Below the poster learners should also provide a summary of the functions of the skeletal system. The poster would the revision materials which could then be used to decorate the classroom and be referred to for future teaching or to support those GCSE learners.
For P2 – describe the different types of joint and the movements allowed at each – learners here should be encouraged to complete a video resource as part of their revision materials. This resource should consist of the learners carrying out 6 sporting movements which demonstrates each of the movements listed. The learners should then provide a voice over for the video (which includes themselves demonstrating each of the movements) which describes the movements and the joints which are involved in each movement. For those students who have a high level of knowledge they may be able to demonstrate more than one movement in a specific sporting action. I have seen this done with learners simply talking over the video as it is rolling and whilst one of their peers carries out the movement.
For M1 – explain the movements occurring at two synovial joints during four different types of physical activity – learners could submit both the video and the notes/script which they have prepared for the video/voice over
For P3 – identify the major muscles of the body; P4 – describe the different types of muscle and muscle movements; M2 give examples of three different types of muscular contraction relating to three different types of physical activity; D1 analyse the musculoskeletal actions occurring at four synovial joints during four different types of physical activity – to ensure that learners differentiate between the skeletal system and the muscular system I personally like to split the two and allow the learners to draw their knowledge together for D1 only. I would therefore, ask the learners to complete a separate labelled photograph of each of the muscles (like the one for the skeleton – this would be a poster) – however, for this poster there is no requirements for further description below the labelled diagram as this is not a requirement of the assessment criterion.
For the video I would ask learner to provide power point slides which will be recorded as the introduction of the video. Learners should then provide a talk over of each of the different types of muscle which should be the theme of the power point presentation. Learners should be encouraged to use only images for this part of the assessment and use a script to talk over the resources – this could be done either as a video or even as a blog.
After the presentation and introduction to the video learners should the learners should then recreate sporting movements which demonstrates each of the muscle movements. The key thing here for the learners is to apply them to sporting actions and not just basic physiological movements Evidence for D1 would need to be applied to an additional four movements which again I would ask learners to complete a separate four movements so that the requirements of the criterion cannot be confused. In this voice over learners should describe the actions (muscular and skeletal) occurring at each of the joints and muscles involved in the movement. Learners should use the table below to support them complete the analysis:
|Physical Activity||Type of Joint||Movement at joint||Agonist muscle||Type of muscle contraction||Antagonist muscle|
For the final two learning aims learners will need to be back in the classroom and I would suggest rather than drawing and labelling diagrams that learners are encouraged to build 3D models of each of cardiovascular system and the respiratory systems. The models should be clearly labelled to demonstrate understanding.
To demonstrate the requirements of M3 and D2 learners could be asked to produce a podcast which is easily done and the tasks which are requested within the assessment should guide the learners through requirements of the targeted criterion.
The guidance and advice which is provided could work for some centres and may not work for other centres. Some teachers will see the benefit of thinking outside of the box whereas other will see a lot of hard work and time needed to carry out the examples provided. The ideas provided hopefully do show you that you can be as creative as you like. The major goal is to develop evidence which meets the requirements of the assessment criteria targeted through a way which engages the learners.
The fear of more paperwork with the BTEC qualifications does not always have to be a concern as we the assessor should also consider methods of how to reduce the paperwork for use. We too could use methods like these provided to reduce the amount of paperwork. For example, orally recorded feedback, feedback provided through the use of email, blogs or other social media could be used effectively. As long as we follow the guidance provided within the assessment guidance documentation.
Good luck with your teaching and delivery.
We would welcome your comments and would love to see examples of the evidence that your learners have produced.