November 6, 2012

Purposeful #PhysEd: From Curriculum to Grades

Two months ago, I wrote about how “Purposeful #PhysEd” was going to be the theme of my year. I explained how I had taken my province’s Physical Education curriculum document (in Quebec, the Progressions of Learning), sorted it’s elements by grade, and then grouped those elements into teachable units. I then mapped those units out into my teaching calendar, et voilà: my Physical Education Curriculum Map was complete.

Today I would like to go deeper into how Purposeful #PhysEd has allowed me to turn my provincial curriculum into units, units into lessons, lessons into assessments, assessments into evaluations, and evaluations into grades.

Step One: Determining Evaluation Criteria

First of all, if you take a look at my content map, you’ll see that each unit is built around a certain number of curriculum elements.

Each curriculum element within a unit will serve as evaluation criteria for that unit. For example, in the “World Tag Championships” you see above, the students will be evaluated on their ability to:

1. Get away from an opponent (Evading)

2. Reach an opponent (Pursuing)

3. Dodge attacks by an opponent (Evading)

4. Deceiving an opponent (Misleading Signals)

Now that I know what I need to evaluate the students on, I know what I need to teach them. Time to get lesson planning (cue eye rolling from half of the current readers).

Step Two: Lesson Planning

I keep my lesson planning simple (so that I actually do it) yet purposeful. Each lesson’s focus is one of the curriculum elements (straight copy/pasted from the curriculum document) and, therefore, one of the evaluation criteria. I’ve found that sticking to one or two of the curriculum elements keeps the lesson extremely focused, and makes lesson planning all that much easier.

I’ve just recently started using a new lesson plan template on my iPad (which I created with Numbers). Here are some screenshots of my lesson plans for the “World Tag Championship” unit you see above (I condensed the last two lessons into a single one, so my actual curriculum map is a little different than the one you see).

As you can see, each lesson’s focus is a curriculum element, taken directly from my provincial’s Physical Education curriculum. Also, in each lesson’s notes section, you can see how I detail the observable aspects for that lesson’s curriculum element/evaluation criteria. Observable aspects are what help me distinguish players who, in this case, are very good at evading opponents to those who are mediocre at it. Basically, if a player demonstrates all the observable aspects in their evasion skills, they get full marks.

Knowing in advance what my observable aspects are helps improve the feedback and instruction I provide to my students. Again, Purposeful #PhysEd is all about everything I do as a teacher having a purpose.

Step Three: Assessment

So now that I know my curriculum elements, my evaluation criteria, and my observable aspects, I can begin the ongoing process that is assessment. To help me assess my students, I create gradebooks on my iPad using Numbers (I’ve blogged about these before). Using the gradebook’s Form View, I can easily assess each students performance for each of the evaluation criteria. For each observable aspect that a student demonstrates, the student receives a point in that evaluation criteria.

For example, still using our “World Tag Championship” unit, the evaluation criteria for this unit are:

1. Gets away from an opponent (Evading)

2. Reaches an opponent (Pursuing)

3. Dodges attacks by opponents / Deceives opponents (Misleading Signals)

The observable aspects for each criteria are:

1. Gets away from an opponent (Evading)

a. Uses Speed (Does the student use changes of speed to evade opponents?)

b. Changes Direction (Does the student use changes of direction to avoid opponents?)

c. Scans Opponent Movements (Does the student keep their eyes up, looking for where opponents are coming from?)

2. Reaches an opponent (Pursuing)

a. Uses Speed (Does the student try to reach opponents with haste?)

b. Targets Opponents (Does the student move with purpose to reach an opponent?)

c. Watches Hips (Does the student watch the opponents hips to avoid falling for misleading signals?)

3. Dodges attacks by opponents / Deceives opponents (Misleading Signals)

a. Uses Speed (Does the student move suddenly to trick their opponent?)

b. Changes Direction (Does the student use quick changes of direction to dodge their opponent?)

c. Misleading Signals (Does the student use misleading signals to fool their opponent?)

In this unit, each observable aspect is weighted the same (all are worth one point). During my observations in class, if I see a student consistently demonstrating an observable aspect of any given evaluation criteria, that student receives a point within that evaluation criteria. Here’s what it looks like on my iPad:

In “Sheet” View

In “Form” View

It is important to note that I do this throughout the unit and not just during the final class. This allows me to have a more comprehensive understanding of where each student is at (taking notes throughout the assessment process doesn’t hurt either).

Step Four: Evaluation

The final step is converting all of my assessments into grades. Again, I’ll use my Numbers gradebook for this. In the “Grade” column cells, I create a formula that will translate the amount of stars/points into a percentage grade. In the case of World Tag Championships, there were three evaluation criteria each with their own three observable aspects. This means that each student could get a total of nine points. Because each evaluation criteria was weighted the same (this is an exception to the World Tag Championship. In other units, certain evaluation criteria are worth more than others), the formula to calculate the percentage grade was very simple: (Sum of the students points / 9) x 100.

From there, all I have to do is enter the grade into my school board’s grade management system, and my evaluation is done.


So that’s how I grade my students based on the outcomes highlighted in my provincial curriculum. It may sound tedious, but it’s thorough and it’s been working great so far. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to share how you are using your PE curriculum to grade your students, please feel free to share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Joey Feith
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher based out of Nova Scotia and the founder of
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