Assessment in Maltese Physical Education: an insight on assessment practices in early secondary years

Cortis, Karl (2019). Assessment in Maltese Physical Education: an insight on assessment practices in early secondary years. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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Purpose: The purpose of this research project, therefore, was to pursue this line of inquiry by exploring the nature, range and efficacy of assessment practices in physical education in the Maltese context. More specifically, the following research questions were addressed: (i) what are PE teachers’ understandings of the notion of assessment and assessment policies in Malta? , (ii) what assessment practices / approaches do PE teachers employ and why? , and (iii) what barriers do PE teachers encounter that hinder their assessment practices?

Methods: The study was conducted in two phases. The first phase focused on examining PE teachers’ perceptions and practices about assessment. A total of eight PE teachers agreed to participate in the first phase the study. The primary data collection tool was semi-structured interviews supplemented with lesson observations for the purposes of triangulation. Results from phase one informed the development of a national teacher survey (phase two). This was designed to explore teachers’ perceptions and understanding of the purpose and application of assessment on a larger scale. Important questions around teachers’ experiences and views on their initial teacher education and professional development opportunities in relation to assessment were also posed. The survey was distributed to all secondary PE teachers employed in state and church schools nationwide, and returned by 90, which represents a 71% response rate.

Results: In this study, teachers seemed to share very similar ideas on the multi-dimensional nature of physical education – i.e. they identified four domains in terms of what the focus and purpose of PE should be. This seemed to transpose onto assessment as assessment was overall understood to be used to assess not only the physical dimension by most teachers. It was also evident that the extent of the teacher’s experience (i.e. years in the profession) has a direct impact in the mode of assessment of certain domains. Some concerns on the effectiveness of the current assessment policies and practices were highlighted, including questions about the nature and quality of teacher preparation to be able to assess in effective and meaningful way. However, even though teachers reported following similar syllabi, appeared to share most overall common perceptions about the importance and mode of assessment, including its potential to affect student motivation, , the way they conduct assessment seems to vary. Finally, teachers also expressed some concern regarding the current assessments’ focus on performance rather than progress vis-à-vis national policies.

Conclusions: Results reported in this thesis suggest that there are a number of important areas which need to be addressed. Firstly, it is important that PE teachers are aware of and acknowledge the existence of a wide range of assessment processes and procedures, including summative and formative assessments. It is particularly important that they share a more in-depth understanding of the importance and complexity of AfL. To address this, emphasis should be placed on the content and quality of initial teacher education and CPD as it appears that they currently neglect this important aspect of teaching and learning.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools


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