Earlier this year, I wrote a post about a new practice I was trying out this year with my grade 10 Boys Physical Education class. This was the Facilitating Student-Created Outcomes (SCO’s) where I explored how the process was created and the steps I was taking t to implement it in my class. Well, after using it for the majority of the year it’s time to revisit this practice and see if it had the effect that I wanted it to have: engage students in the assessment process and create an active role for them.
Initial Attempt and Response
When I first introduced the concept of SCO’s to my grade 10 boys PE class, it wasn’t received the way I anticipated. Actually, it was a bit of a struggle to have the class engaged in the activity and to see the importance and value of it.
So here is what not to do when introducing a new concept to a group of boys: tell them HOW to do it and WHAT their role is.
When I introduced the concept of SCO’s I was super excited about the idea of having students directly engaged in the creating of outcomes (that I would then incorporate into the assessment methods) for the unit that I forgot a critical first step, talking with them about WHY and the purpose. Without the understanding of WHY we are exploring our unit through these lenses and taking the time to create these outcomes, the students have no invested interest or want to take ownership. This was also a shift from their traditional PE instruction which made having the WHY conversation that much more crucial to the success of the process.
Moral of the story: take the time to explore the WHY. It has the potential to have a deep impact on student engagement and allows the students to have a piece of ownership of the process.
As the year carried on, we continued to use the SCO’s process to introduce every new unit and TGfU concept. I eventually had the deep conversation with the students on regarding the WHY and had some very interesting results come of it: the students self-modified and evolved the process, not me.
As a class, we had a great discussion on how SCO’s address the four assessment areas (Value of Physical Activity, Knowledge, and Understanding, Personal and Social Development, Physical Competency) where students were always assessed on the Value of Physical Activity and two or three of the other assessment areas were connected to the unit. In the initial framework, students identified that it wasn’t making that meaningful connection to all the assessment areas and that there needed to be some flexibility built into the “foundation of the process”.
Then something great happened, students WANTED to create the SCO’s and facilitated it on their own! It almost became a contact sport as students wanted to have their voice and input into the assessment areas.
— Jace Ferguson (@Grand_Muchacho1) April 11, 2018
Student Feedback on the Process
At the end of the school year, I wanted to collect some data and feedback from the students on the SCO’s and the process of having students engaged in the assessment process. To gather this data I had students complete a reflective feedback google form and had some student face-to-face interviews. By using both sources I found some great common themes:
“The process put the lessons and the concepts into a different perspective…”
A piece of feedback that constantly came across is that SCO’s helped students understand and make meaningful connections to the concepts because it put things in a different perspective that they could identify with. A few students even went on the describe how the process put our Fundamental Fitness unit into a different perspective which made things “click” and that fitness wasn’t just push-ups and mile runs, that it is what it needs to be for that individual.
“There is more to PE than just playing a game…” and “I see the value of PE and know how to apply it…”
This has to be my favorite common theme. If you have spoken to me or followed me long enough, you would find out that I am a huge advocate for purposeful PE programming and the phrase “you’re just a gym teacher” is probably the most insulting thing you can call me. The SCO’s process gave students the opportunity to dive in and co-develop the planning and assessment which gave them insight into the value of physical education where before they were delivered a produce (lessons and games) but may have not made the connection to the value and importance. This is what every high-quality PE program should strive to accomplish.
“We are now part of the process.” and “…focus on our needs” and “…in control of their learning experience”
Finally, the sense of accountability and ownership was developed. This wasn’t done by conditioning the students but they individually made these connections on their own terms and at their own pace. I was quite surprised to see the level of reflection and ownership that the students noticed and absolutely loved it!
After playing with the concept of SCO’s for a year, it is pretty clear of the impact and value that it adds to enhancing the learning experience of the students. With the feedback from students and the progress that I saw in these students this year, it is a pretty easy decision to make this a constant part of my instruction (even in my “classroom” classes). The true value in this process is it helps to create that culture of meaningful student engagement and accountability, which are the foundations of being a successful student.