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What should we truly be assessing in physical education?

Andy Vasily is teaching Physical Education at Nanjing International School in China

This article touches on student development in physical education.

Over the past several years, I have continuously reflected upon the way I teach and assess in physical education (PE). It has always been a long term goal of mine to create a more effective way to better assess the enduring concepts, the PYP attitudes and the IB learner profile within my PE programme.

I want my students walking away from their time with me having learned and understood the importance of values such as the ability to persevere through difficulty; to problem solve and think their way through challenging tasks; to set goals and follow through with the necessary action to achieve these goals; to appreciate the rewards that come with improving upon something that we never thought that we could improve upon; and to realize the positive energy and sense of achievement that can be developed through teamwork and cooperation.

These are only a few of the enduring concepts that I have highlighted. There are so many more, but what I would like to stress is the value of perseverance. I have recently been researching how to better teach perseverance to students. I came across a great one this morning (see link here) and it made me think about an ongoing question that I have always had: ‘How can we genuinely assess perseverance in PE?’

As a PE practitioner, there is nothing that gives me more of a charge than seeing a student breakthrough and accomplish something they never thought that they could or to improve upon their level of performance through hard work and determination. The image posted below is one that a friend recently put up on Facebook. I love the picture and, to me, it is representative of all of the great qualities, character traits and positive thinking that we hopefully hold in high regard in our PE programs.

Andy Vasily has been teaching internationally at authorized IB World Schools for the past 13 years. He is currently teaching Physical Education at Nanjing International School in China. Andy writes about his experiences teaching PE in a PYP school in his blog PYP PE with Andy.

The original article appears in Andy’s blog here.

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7 Responses to What should we truly be assessing in physical education?

  1. John RINKER 5 February 2013 at 11:31 am #


    In choosing the enduring values that you did, you’ve really created a recipe for living a valuable life imbued with joy. Well written, powerful graphic, and good find on the perseverance article. Cheers.

  2. Projestus Mutalemwa 5 February 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    It is an inventive thought for though perseverance is an attribute of hope mentally, physically it links with strength to absolve physical pressure and shocks. It works like a reflex to what induces pains physically and emotionally. In the learning process perseverance is a tool for success. It may be assessed by efforts and zeal of a student to compete for the success of a team, or as in a way a child gets a push and yet struggles to win a ball and pass it to the teammate in soccer. A key indicator of perseverance is obeying rules of the athletics or other sports and games
    Thank you Andy

  3. Mihai 31 March 2015 at 9:43 am #

    By perseverance everything reaches its target, therefore the importance of having a clear goal. We are inquiring into the related concept of “goal setting” in the adventure challenge unit. It gives to our students a common target and the possibility to showcase their communication and cooperation skills while learning how to trust each other.
    Well pointed as always, Andy!

  4. Michelle Palmer 14 April 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Perseverance means to do something despite difficulty or the delay in achieving success. Perseverance is evident in all aspects of P.E., whether it is learning how to jump rope, follow safety rules in a game, communicate a team building challenge or appreciate a new sport by practicing new techniques. This is my first year teaching PE PYP and along with safety, perseverance has become the focus for the program. No matter the skill level, I look for my students to demonstrate commitment, independence and confidence in themselves and their classmates. Perseverance is definitely an amazing tool for success when used in conjunction with clear set goals, engaging activities and a chance to share experiences with their peers. Thanks for your article Andy!

  5. michele 4 October 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    I teach dance and much of this thinking can be applied there. I’m glad I came upon this entry!

  6. Erkin 6 December 2016 at 8:38 am #

    Reply for Michelle comment.

    I agree with you, because Perseverance is important concept that all PE practitioner (Just learned this word 🙂 ) wants to integrate in the scope and sequence and implement it in teaching. But i didn’t came across with any curriculum that contains understating of Perseverance. One of the class that i was taking in grad school we got to watch this as source for grit.

    I encourage to watch TED talk you are not going to regret

    here is the link

  7. Erkin 6 December 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Empowering Graphics, and inspire students to be Growth-Mind set.

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