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Student teachers' understanding and application of assessment for learning during a physical education teacher education course

Lorente-Catalán, Eloisa and Kirk, David (2016) Student teachers' understanding and application of assessment for learning during a physical education teacher education course. European Physical Education Review, 22 (1). pp. 65-81. ISSN 1356-336X

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There is widespread consensus on the need for Assessment for Learning (AfL) in both university courses and school programs. Given the prevalence of traditional practices in school physical education where assessment is basic or non-existent we might ask whether AfL is present in Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) courses. Where it is, we may wonder whether the student teachers’ concept of AfL is consistent with the concept advocated for and developed in the literature and in policy. This paper draws on a qualitative study that was conducted on a core unit within a PETE course delivered by a university in England. Despite the fact that the students lacked a voice in framing their understanding and uses of AfL, we could say that most students appeared to have grasped the concept, not just as a theoretical framework but also in terms of applying different strategies during their practice in schools. They reported that they found this knowledge relevant and useful, they recognised the need to learn more about it, and they also had the intention to incorporate this knowledge in their future professional practice. Given these findings, we conclude this paper with a brief discussion of why traditional approaches to assessment in school physical education appear to persist.