Formative Assessment Strategies in PE

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

P.E. isn't just about running around a track anymore. Assessment is an important part of the learning process. This lesson reviews formative assessment strategies for the four domains in P.E.

Formative Assessment in P.E.

Imagine you are going to take a road trip. You decide on a destination, pack the car, point yourself in the right direction, and then keep driving until you get there. Right? Wrong! Along the way, you would most definitely keep tabs on a map (or maybe let your GPS keep tabs on the map for you). As you progressed through the trip, you would want to make sure that you were still going in the correct direction.

That is what formative assessment is; check points along the road to an academic goal, assessing overall progression. It is about checking in on the students' progress and the effectiveness of your teaching strategies.

In P.E., there are four main domains to be assessed: cognitive (what the student knows), health-related physical fitness (improvements in general health and fitness), psychomotor skills (what they can do), and affective (attitudes). This lesson offers two sample formative assessments for each domain.


Cognition is the act of thinking. This area of P.E. assesses what students know about the concepts being taught.

Journal of Knowledge Growth

This formative assessment is a long-term project that students start at the beginning of a new unit. Ask students to create a large three-columned chart. The first column will contain what the student believes he or she already knows about the coming unit and should be filled out immediately. The second column, to be done within the learning time, should include specific questions the student would like answered. Finally, at the end of the unit, the student should fill out the final column with new information learned and any remaining questions about the topic.

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