The Great Unpacking: Preface (Part IV)

This is the fourth part of the preface to our new blog post series: The Great Unpacking. If you haven’t read parts one, two, or three you’ll want to start there before continuing to read here.

In the last part of The Great Unpacking’s preface, we took a look at how to determine your evidence of learning based on your unpacked standards/grade-level outcomes. Doing so allows us to track our students’ progress towards mastering the learning objectives we’ve identified and, in turn, the content blocks, GLOs and the national standards. All of this will help us make sure our students are on the right path towards developing into physically literate individuals.

Today, we’re going explore how to select appropriate assessment tools in order to truly collect the evidence of student learning that we are setting out to collect.

Ready? Alright then, let’s go!

STEP THREE: Selecting Appropriate Assessment Tools

Here’s the big thing you need to know about selecting assessment tools: the tools need to be aligned with the type of evidence you are trying to collect. As Terri puts it in her video: “[If the evidence involves a definition] then the tool must ask the students to provide a definition. Having the students “identify” or “list” would not provide evidence that they have learned to define the word.”

Again, let’s go back to that initial learning objective we pulled from S1.M10.6 (“Shoots on goal with power in a dynamic environment as appropriate to the activity”) :


In this case, I’m looking for evidence that the student can throw overhand while using a mature pattern. I’m looking for tools that will allow me to capture the action and ensure that the student is using a mature pattern during the performance (i.e. demonstrating all of the critical elements). That being said, I think good tools in this case could be:

  • Video of the student performing the throw
  • A checklist to track which critical elements are being performed during the action

When it comes to keeping my own personal checklist, the Gradebooks I create with Numbers for iOS are my go-to tool. They allow me to quickly keep track of my students progress, back up the data to my iCloud account, and apply different formulas/rules/cell formats to the data to meet my needs for the specific evidence I am trying to collect.


My Numbers Gradebooks in both Sheet and Form view. Learn how to make these here.

Although having my own checklist to track those critical elements would help me assess the students’ learning, keep in my that the evidence is supposed to inform not only the teacher, but also the student. Therefore, I think that having a teacher/self/peer assessment checklist might be even more beneficial. The self aspect would help the student reflect on their own performance and keep the cues fresh in mind. The peer aspect would provide the student with additional feedback to help them continue their learning. Finally, the teacher aspect would inform both the teacher and the student as to where the student is in regards to their mastery of the learning piece.

I’ve found that having all three of these elements on one form is a great way to help both the student and the teacher have a very clear idea of how the student is doing. Here’s the form I used with my students:


In terms of video, I capture a lot of video using my iPad along with a variety of apps to analyze the students’ performance (e.g. Coach’s Eye, iMovie, iPhoto, etc). The videos are then moved into my digital student portfolios. This year, I have been doing this manually (i.e. dragging and dropping videos into student folders which I keep on my Mac and backup with my WD My Passport portable hard drive. Next year, St. George’s School of Montreal is moving towards Google Apps for Education (which I am super pumped about) and, since having a GAFE account grants you unlimited storage, I will be maintaining these student portfolios in Google Drive rather than on my hard drive.

Having all of your assessment tools ready prior to the start of your unit/lesson is so important because it allows you to start collecting evidence right from the start rather than finding out at the end of your unit that you don’t have enough evidence to produce a grade that truly reflects the students’ learning. Also, having an ongoing, evolving idea of where each student is at in regards to their learning helps you provide the very best feedback/modifications/progressions to maximize student learning throughout physical education class.

The Great Unpacking blog post series preface will continue soon, so stay tuned!’s future posts, by connecting with us via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Email.

Joey Feith is a physical education teacher from Canada and the founder of


Joey Feith is the founder of He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.