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Svennberg, L. (2017). Grading in physical education. (Doctoral dissertation). Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Grading in physical education
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the thesis the aim is to investigate different aspects of what teachers value when grading in Swedish physical education (PE) and to analyses how sociological background factors impact students’ grades. Grades in PE have included aspects other than those prescribed in the grading criteria, for instance motivation and effort. Teachers sometimes find their value-setting difficult to articulate and refer to a “gut feeling”. In order to explore both explicit and implicit forms of value-setting, the Repertory Grid interview technique is employed.

The thesis includes four sub-studies, three interview studies with Swedish PE teachers and a fourth study based on registry data from the Swedish National Agency for Education. The data of all students leaving nine-year compulsory school in 2014 (n=95317) is analysed to explore how sociological background factors, such as migration background, parents’ education, school provider and gender, affect PE grades.

The results reveal aspects of grading that are not detectable in the official description of the grading assignment and highlight problems that teachers need to address when grading. Four themes are discerned in the teachers’ grading practices: motivation, knowledge, confidence and social skills. The implementation of a new national curriculum with specified knowledge requirements seems to improve the alignment with the national criteria, but there is still a gap between policy and practice. The knowledge requirements for movement are often interpreted as performances in competitive sports, even if the teachers try to find other interpretations. The odds ratio for getting a higher grade in PE is greater for the variables migration background and parents’ education than for the other investigated variables. The concepts formulated by Bernstein are applied to explore the relations between teachers’ grading practices and cultural and political influences and to discuss how the tensions between different interests could affect teachers’ grading.

The conclusion is that the gap between policy and practice confirmed in this study is related to tensions between the interests and purposes of different agents, all of whom strive to influence steering documents and practice. Cultural and political influences need to be considered and facilitate discussions about how to understand which knowledge is valued in PE and who has better possibilities to assimilate it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2017
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan ; 8
Keywords
physical education, assessment, movement qualities, criterion referenced, standards-based grading, internalised grading, gut-feeling, equity, Bernstein, Repertory Grid
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23329 (URN)978-91-980862-9-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-02-17, Aulan, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-01-13 Created: 2017-01-18 Last updated: 2018-04-10Bibliographically approved
Svennberg, L., Meckbach, J. & Redelius, K. (2015). Swedish PE Teachers’ Grading Practice in a Standard Based Grading System. In: Radman, A., Hedenborg, S., & Tsolakidis,E. (Ed.), 20th annual Congress of the EUROPEAN COLLEGE OF SPORT SCIENCE 24th - 27th June 2015, Malmö – Sweden: BOOK OF ABSTRACTS. Paper presented at 20th annual Congress of the European college of sport science, 24th-27th June 2015, Malmö, Sweden (pp. 153). , 1
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish PE Teachers’ Grading Practice in a Standard Based Grading System
2015 (English)In: 20th annual Congress of the EUROPEAN COLLEGE OF SPORT SCIENCE 24th - 27th June 2015, Malmö – Sweden: BOOK OF ABSTRACTS / [ed] Radman, A., Hedenborg, S., & Tsolakidis,E., 2015, Vol. 1, p. 153-Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A standard based grading system is supposed to support equality and accountability. Nevertheless teachers sometimes refer to an internalized grading (Hay & McDonald, 2008; Svennberg, Meckbach & Redelius, 2014) and the validity of the grades have been questioned (Annerstedt & Larsson, 2008). Our aim is to explore Swedish PE teachers’ grading practice and what they value in the grades they have given their students.

Four PE teachers in compulsory school were interviewed with the Repertory Grid (RG) technique. The RG technique can be used to reveal a person’s perception of a specific topic that the person is familiar with, by examining the similarities and differences between well-known elements (Fransella, Bell & Bannister, 2004). In the first step, the teacher was asked to select seven to eight students from a class that he or she was teaching and grading in PE. The students selected must represent all possible grades (Fransella et al., 2004). In the second step, the names of three of the students at the time were presented to the teacher who was asked in what way, relevant for the grades, two of the students were similar and different from the third (Fransella et al., 2004). In the third step the teachers were asked to rate the students on how they corresponded to the similarities and differences mentioned. The resulting grids were analysed with the programme WEBGRID5.

Besides knowledge and skills all four teachers valued standard irrelevant criteria. Their rating of the students on the standard irrelevant criteria generally matched the grades given. Among the national standards mentioned there were differences in how they matched the given grades. Other national standards were not mentioned at all. It seems like some standards have been better implemented then others.

The results indicate the need for a discussion of why it seems to be an urge to use standard irrelevant criteria such as motivation and effort that is stronger than the desire for compliance to the national grading criteria. Bernsteins’ interrelated systems of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (2003) can contribute to the understanding. It is also important to discuss why some national grading criteria are easier for the teachers to implement then others.

References: Annerstedt C, Larsson S. (2010). European Physical Education Review, 16(2), 97-115. Bernstein B. (2003). Class, codes and control. (Vol. 3) Towards a theory of educational transmission, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. Fransella, F., Bell, R. & Bannister, D. (2004). A manual for repertory grid technique. (2nd. ed.). Wiley, Chichester, West Sussex. Hay P, MacDonald D. (2008). Assessment In Education: Principles, Policy & Practice 15(2): 153-168. Svennberg L, Meckbach J, Redelius K. (2014). European Physical Education Review, 20(2), 199-214.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25803 (URN)978-91-7104-567-6 (ISBN)
Conference
20th annual Congress of the European college of sport science, 24th-27th June 2015, Malmö, Sweden
Projects
Thesis: Grading in physical education
Available from: 2017-12-14 Created: 2017-12-14 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Svennberg, L., Meckbach, J. & Redelius, K. (2015). To Grade or not to Grade Motivation and Effort: Swedish PE Teachers’ Grading Practice in Relation to National Grading Standards. In: : . Paper presented at ECER 2015, European Educational Research Conference, "Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research", Corvinus University of Budapest, 7-11 September,. (pp. 654).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To Grade or not to Grade Motivation and Effort: Swedish PE Teachers’ Grading Practice in Relation to National Grading Standards
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

General description

There has been an international trend to turn to standard-based grading in order to obtain accountable and consistent grades. Countries have different solutions to meet the challenge to find a balance between curriculum regulation and providing space for adjustment to local context and student populations (Kuiper & Berkvens, 2013). In Sweden a national standard-based grading system has been in use for the last 20 years. Nevertheless, the validity of grades has been questioned in Sweden as elsewhere. PE teachers’ internalized criteria or gut-feeling (Annerstedt & Larsson, 2010; Hay and MacDonald, 2008; Svennberg, Meckbach & Redelius, 2014), as well as standard irrelevant factors such as motivation and effort (Chan, Hay & Tinning, 2011; Larsson, Fagrell & Redelius, 2009), have been identified to influence the grades. Curriculum regulation has been employed in Sweden to improve the validity of the grades and the grading standards have been reformed in 2011 (Swedish National Agency for Education [SNAE]) to make clear that only specified knowledge requirement are to be considered when grading. But will the implementation of more specific standards be enough to keep the teachers’ judgment focused on knowledge only?

Our intention is to study PE teachers’ alignment with national grading criteria when exposed to a government’s attempt to prescribe the knowledge requirements for different grades. More specific, this is done by enlightening the teachers’ use of nonachievement standard irrelevant factors before and after the implementation of more specific standards and more support. The results will be discussed in light of Bernstein’s three interrelated message systems of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment (2003). Several scholars have discussed assessment as an important message system of what count as important knowledge and the influence of assessment on learning (Chan et al., 2011; Hay and Penney, 2013; Redelius & Hay, 2009; Thorburn, 2007). To better understand teachers’ grading practices, we are also interested in how the interrelation works in the other direction—how curriculum and pedagogy influence assessment and grading. We take a starting point in our study of the teachers grading practice before and after the implementation of more specific grading standards and relate the results to the Swedish national curriculum and Bernstein’s definition of a pedagogic discourse. The official message in the Swedish curriculum is that both knowledge and values and norms are important in order to reach the overarching goals of education and the goals for PE (SNAE, 2011). However, only knowledge is to be graded and no attention is to be given to values and norms in the grades. To bring light to the influence of values and norms in the teachers pedagogic work we turn to Bernstein’s (1996) pedagogic discourse that comprise both an instructional discourse, which creates specialized skills (knowledge), and a regulative discourse that creates order and relations (values and norms). In Bernstein’s (1996) concept of the pedagogic discourse, the instructional discourse is embedded in the regulative discourse, with the regulative discourse being the dominant of the two. They are to be considered as one inseparable discourse (Bernstien 1996). Applied in a classroom situation this is illustrated by Lund and Veal (2008): “Student teachers know that if they lose control of a class from a managerial standpoint, desired learning will not occur” (p. 503).

 

Method 

To enable the teachers to verbalise the explicit as well as the implicit criteria they use when grading, the Repertory Grid (RG) interview technique was employed. The RG technique can be used to reveal a person’s perception of a specific topic that the person has experienced and is familiar with by examining the similarities and differences between well-known elements (Fransella, Bell & Bannister, 2004). For instance, even if the teachers find it difficult to express what they find important to get a high grade they can still tell the difference between a student with a high grade and another student, if it is their own students that they know well. George Kelly (1955), who first developed the technique, believed that our behavior can be understood through personally constructed patterns that we use to explain how the world works. These patterns are called constructs, and they enable us to predict our surroundings and choose a direction of our behavior. The method helps us to reveal not only the presence of standard irrelevant constructs but also their content. Three PE teachers, one woman and two men, were interviewed in 2009 and in 2013, before and after the implementation of the new curriculum. Each of them was grading a class of students, 15 to 16 years of age, in different compulsory schools. All grades were represented in the class they were teaching and they had all received a teacher education in PE. In total, 45 students were discussed during the six interviews. The RG interviews lasted for about 90 minutes. In the first step, the teacher was asked to select seven to eight students from the same class that he or she was teaching and grading in PE. The selected students must represent all possible grades (Fransella et al., 2004). In the second step, the names of three of the students at a time were presented to the teacher who was asked in what way, relevant for the grades, two of the students were similar and different from the third (Fransella et al., 2004). By letting the teachers generate their own constructs around a topic they are familiar with, the risk to direct the interview with questions based on another precondition than their own is minimized. The RG interviews generated 125 constructs about aspects that teachers thought were relevant for grades in PE.

 

Results

The use of national grading standards in Sweden illustrates how professional judgment is not reliant on the stated standards only. The results indicate that more specific criteria guide the teachers to pay less attention to what Hay and Penney (2009) label “irrelevant factors such as students’ dispositional and behavioral characteristics” (p. 398). Standards seem to be important but not enough. All three teachers still valued standard irrelevant criteria that reflect the norms and values in the curriculum and the goals for the subject. The standard irrelevant criteria used by the teachers also put focus on their concern of the impact of the regulative discourse on the students learning.

Since the regulative discourse is always present in the pedagogic discourse (Bernstein, 1996) and values and norms are important goals of the curriculum and of the PE subject, it can cause confusion in teachers’ interpretation of the alignment of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment in a grading system in which the regulative discourse is not to be graded. Future research is needed about how to achieve valid grades while simultaneously acknowledge the need to give value to the regulative discourse. Grades are often regarded as a reward for achieving knowledge requirements in the curriculum, but what are the rewards for achieving norms and values?

References

Annerstedt, C. & Larsson, S. (2010). ‘I have my own picture of what the demands are ... ’: Grading in Swedish PEH - problems of validity, comparability and fairness. European Physical Education Review, 16(2), 97-115.

Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: Theory, Research, Critique. London, England:Taylor & Francis Ltd.,

Bernstein, B. (2003). Class, codes and control. (Vol. 3) Towards a theory of educational transmission. London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Chan, K., Hay, P. & Tinning, R. (2011). Understanding the pedagogic discourse of assessment in Physical Education. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Health, Sport & Physical Education, 2(1), 3-18.

Fransella, F., Bell, R. & Bannister, D. (2004). A manual for repertory grid technique. (2nd. ed.). Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley.

Hay, P. & MacDonald, D. (2008) (Mis)appropriations of criteria and standards-referenced assessment in a performance-based subject. Assessment In Education: Principles, Policy & Practice 15(2): 153-168.

Hay, P., & Penney, D. (2009). Proposing Conditions for Assessment Efficacy in Physical Education. European Physical Education Review, 15(3), 389-405.

Hay, P. & Penney, D. (2013). Assessment in Physical Education: a sociocultural perspective. London: Routledge.

Kelly, G. (1955). The Psychology of Personal Construct. A Theory of Personality (Vol. 1). New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

Kuiper, W., & Berkvens, J. (Eds.). (2013). Balancing curriculum regulation and freedom across Europe. CIDREE Yearbook 2013. Enschede, the Netherlands: SLO.

Lund, J.L. & Veal, M. (2008). Chapter 4: Measuring Pupil Learning – How Do Student Teacher Assess Within Instructional Models?. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27(4), 487-511.

Redelius, K. & Hay, P. (2009). Defining, acquiring and transacting cultural capital through assessment in physical education. European Physical Education Review, 15(3), 275-294.

Redelius, K., Fagrell, B. & Larsson, H. (2009). Symbolic capital in physical education and health: to be, to do or to know? That is the gendered question. Sport, Education & Society, 14(2), 245-260.

Svennberg, L., Meckbach, J. & Redelius, K. (2014). Exploring PE teachers’ ‘gut feeling’: An attempt to verbalise and discuss teachers’ internalised grading criteria. European Physical Education Review, 20(2), 199-214.

Swedish National Agency for Education. (2011). Curriculum for the compulsory school system, the pre-school class and the leisure-time centre 2011. Stockholm: Author.

Thorburn, M. (2007). Achieving conceptual and curriculum coherence in high-stakes school examinations in Physical Education. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 12(2), 163-184.

National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20316 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2015, European Educational Research Conference, "Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research", Corvinus University of Budapest, 7-11 September,.
Note

The paper was presented within the network Network "Research in Sport Pedagogy".

Available from: 2015-09-21 Created: 2015-09-21 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-4225-2014

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