Swedish PE teachers struggle with assessment in a criterion-referenced grading system
2016 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of printText
In the field of education, the international trend is to turn to criterion-referenced grading in the hope of achieving accountable and consistent grades. Despite a national criterion-referenced grading system emphasising knowledge as the only base for grading, Swedish physical education (PE) grades have been shown to value non-knowledge factors, such as students’ characteristics and behaviour. In 2011, a new national curriculum was implemented which attempts to deal with the problem by prescribing specific knowledge requirements with a clear progression as the only basis for different grades. The aim of the present study is to explore the impact of the new knowledge requirements on what teachers consider important when assigning grades. It is also to discuss what non-knowledge-related aspects (if any) teachers continue to look for and why these seem to remain resilient to the reform. The Repertory Grid technique was employed to interview the teachers before (2009) and after the implementation (2013). During the interviews, the grading of 45 students was discussed, which generated 125 constructs. After the implementation, there was a near doubling of knowledge constructs, half as many motivation constructs and an almost total elimination of constructs based on confidence and social skills. While motivational factors were still considered valuable for the award of a higher grade, clear criteria seemed to be important, but too limited for the teachers’ needs. In order to understand the persistence of motivational factors, we discuss the results in relation to Bernstein’s interrelated message systems of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. We emphasise the need to discuss how valid grades can be achieved and, at the same time, give value to the regulative discourse in order to realise the overarching national goals of values and norms in education and PE.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bernstein, curriculum regulation, interrelated message systems, motivation, pedagogic discourse, physical education, regulative discourse, repertory grid, standards-based grading, teachers grading practice
Sport and Fitness Sciences Educational Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22109DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2016.1200025ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84975479104OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-22109DiVA: diva2:946926