Physical Education Student Learning Assessment Plan

December 2009

Written for Fall 2008-Spring 2009 Academic School year


I.  Executive Summary


During the past year, we examined Physical Education course offerings to better align them with the program’s mission and goals. Our aim was to create a more comprehensive Physical Education curriculum that provides students with opportunities to participate in activities from which they will benefit for a lifetime. Our goal is to evaluate the effect of previous year’s curriculum changes, to determine needs for additional courses, to develop a shared syllabus in order to standardize goals and objectives for all PE courses, to set evaluation standards through the development of a grading rubric for skill demonstration and group interaction, and to collect and analyze the data needed to make improvements for the future.


  1. Assessment Review Planning Meeting Summary


In Fall 2009, a new Coordinator of Physical Education was hired to continue on with the goals set in place by Alden and Associates, Inc. and Jeff Tillapaugh, the former Coordinator of Physical Education.  Rachel Gunderson, the new PE Coordinator, is aiming to follow through with the original goals of the program which include maintaining courses that place a greater emphasis on lifetime fitness rather than a sport based focus.  The Physical Education program still allows for a variety of alternative lifelong courses such as Yoga, Karate, SCUBA Diving, and sailing with some providing an advanced option. 


Based on feedback from the assessment committee's response in mid 2009, it is the Coordinators duty this year to collect and provide actual data for assessment use.   Last years report included a number of goals for the future but failed to provide a thorough section on the summary of the data.  Once we are able to collect data from the assessment we can then analyze and interpret the results in order to measure how effective our physical education program is for student learning.  This year, Ms. Gunderson will continue to keep close connections with all of the different instructors through phone and email as a means of making sure that assessment is happening and also make better attempts for actual data to be collected in the next year.  This report currently lists a variety of assessments from the previous year but several are used in only one or two classes.  It is difficult to get all instructors to implement every type of assessment listed in this document due to the fact that none of the instructors are faculty and most do not have their own office.  A majority are contracted from outside of the school to teach the course.  Also, we do not have the technology to measure student’s physical changes over the duration of the course which is why we implement several verbal assessments and written assessments to draw feedback from students.  Our goal this year is to implement standardized assessments for instructors such as a shared syllabus and rubric for every class in order to prevent loopholes in assessment.


Our original goals will continue to be achieved through the end of 2009, however, based on a new proposal for the physical education program in 2010, future PE classes may take on a new face.  This proposal suggests that the Physical Education program take on more of a lifelong wellness approach toward being physically active.  In the new proposal, the title of Physical Education would be changed to Lifelong Wellness and students would participate in a physical activity of their choice at least once every academic year of residence.  Choices of physical activity can occur within the offerings that Wells provides as well as physical activity participation from outside of the college with proof or signature.  Courses would instead become a requirement to graduate and will not bear academic credit anymore.  After hearing word on whether this proposal will pass we will be able to modify our assessments accordingly for the sake of student learning in the PE program.  Right now, the aim is to continue on with the goals and recommendations set forth by the reviewing committee and the PE Coordinator from the previous year and do more to draw data to find out the effectiveness of our program on student learning.


III. Action Steps


We will continue to evaluate the effect of  2007-2008’s curriculum changes, determine the need for additional courses, develop a shared syllabus in order to standardize goals and objectives for all PE courses, and to set evaluation standards through the development of a grading rubric for skill demonstration and group interaction.


In addition, our goal for 2010 will be to implement extra questions on the end of term evaluation sheet to collect data on the amount of student learning that is happening and also to measure the effectiveness of the instructor.  These extra questions will give us more data and feedback specifically geared towards the health and PE field instead of just general questions.  Currently, the PE program is now using the general course evaluation form that is used for all departments.  However, in the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters a special form for PE was being used and this report discusses those findings.


The following sections explain our Action Steps for 2010.

Evaluate the effect of last year’s curriculum changes

Evaluating last years curriculum changes through the use of a survey will help to determine if the changes have had an impact on the students and in fact align with the current goals and objectives of the program.


Determine needs for additional classes

Even though in the past year, 2007-2008, college enrollment has increased, the number of physical education classes offered has decreased.  This is due, in part, to the recommended changes from Alden and Associates Inc.  Physical Education is a general education requirement that must be taken by every student.  Therefore most courses are full due to the decreased number of offerings and the necessity of the requirement.  It would be beneficial to assess the need for new types of lifetime fitness courses or activities and/or expansion of existing courses.


Develop a shared syllabus in order to standardize goals and objectives for all PE classes

The Physical Education Department agrees that creating a generalized syllabus that includes the goals and objectives of the department will help to improve each course offered.  Each Physical Education course is different in its curriculum but should have the same goals and objectives as outlined below.  In addition to the student input from surveys, the alignment of all physical education courses with the goals and objectives of the Physical Education Department will help evaluate the effectiveness of the courses that are currently being offered.


Set evaluation standards through the development of a grading rubric for skill demonstration and group interaction

In order to assess the goals and objectives that the physical education instructors would like students to accomplish in their courses, we need to be able to articulate or show the range of success in meeting those goals and objectives.  Creating a universal rubric for the Physical Education Department that would help to assess the students technical and interpersonal skills will aide in the students understanding of course objectives and empower instructors to evaluate each student’s success relative to performance rather than just attendance and participation.



IV. Assessment Plan


Wells College Mission Statement


The mission of Wells College is to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. Through Wells’ academic program, residential atmosphere, and community activities, students learn and practice the ideals of the liberal arts. The Wells experience prepares students to appreciate complexity and difference, to embrace new ways of knowing, to be creative, and to respond ethically to the interdependent worlds to which they belong. Committed to excellence in all areas of its reach, Wells College equips students for lifelong learning and for sharing the privileges of education with others.



Physical Education Mission Statement


In accordance with the mission statement of Wells College, our Physical Education Department provides opportunities to Wells students for the development of lifelong learning in the areas of fitness, sport activities, wellness, and recreation.  We seek to accomplish this in a safe, fun, dynamic and diverse environment that uses interactive outlets to improve or maintain the physical, emotional and social health of all students.


Student Learning Goals



Students will become involved in interactive environments that contribute to their physical, mental and emotional well being.



Students will:



  1. Attend and anticipate in the required number physical education classes


Measureable Outcome:

a.       Students will pass 1 wellness course, a swimming course and 2 other physical education courses to fulfill the general education requirement 2.5 of PE credits for Physical Education before he/she graduates

Means of Assessment:

a.       Presence in the classroom (attendance)

b.      Positive activity and effort during the class (participation)


  1. Show an improvement in physical health


Measureable Outcome:

a.       Students can identify what constitutes an unhealthy level of fitness and a healthy level of physical fitness.

b.      Students can develop a plan of action to improve or maintain a health enhancing level of physical fitness

c.       Students will build muscle and reduce unnecessary body fat

d.      Students will understand their current health compared to their ideal health

Means of Assessment:

a.       Written Test

b.      Development of personal fitness action plan

c.       Oral feedback from student to instructor

d.      Course reflection or daily log of thoughts, feelings and/or progress


  1. Show an improvement in mental and emotional health


Measureable Outcome:

a.       Students’ internal/intrinsic motivation to participate in various activities will increase

b.      Students will have decreased stress levels

c.       Students will have increased self-confidence from accomplishing tasks

d.      Students’ satisfaction with their quality of life on campus will increase.

Means of Assessment:

a.       General Wells College evaluation form.  Extra questions will be added on how the PE class affected students mental, physical, and emotional well being.




Students will develop knowledge of physical activity.



Students will:


1.   Demonstrate competency in many movement forms and proficiency in a few

Measureable Outcome:

a.     Students can demonstrate an appropriate skill progression to the instructor for proper technique

b.         Students will be able to recall and perform a task based on a verbal queue

c.          Students will be able to assess the performance of peers

Means of Assessment:

a.          Checklist/rubric of skills/skill progression and/or proper technique

b.         Visual observation of skill or technique

c.          Students will provide feedback (written and/or verbal of the performance of another student).           


2.      Show understanding of rules, skills, techniques, strategies and safety for particular activities


Measureable Outcome:

a.          Students will be able to evaluate, critique and/or teach a skill to one another in a logical, accurate and effective manner

b.         Students will participate in class discussion with relevant contributions

c.          Students will be able to answer questions which recall previously taught information

d.         Students will know which equipment should be used for a specific activity and how to use it

e.          Students will be able to perform activities properly and safely, without feedback from instructor/referee, in an informal setting.

Means of Assessment:

a.          Evaluated skill performance/demonstration/observation (rubric)

b.         Observation/evaluation of participation in class discussion and activity.

c.          Observation of dialogue/interaction during informal activity pertaining to rules, skills techniques, strategies and safety




Students will choose activities that improve communication, self-discovery and self- expression.



Students will:


1.      Demonstrate good sportsmanship


Measureable Outcome:

a.   Students will exhibit responsible social behaviors during activities

b.   Students will participate in activities out of the classroom

c.   Students will encourage others to participate

d.   Students will recognize opportunities to help peers learn/improve

e.   Students will show a willingness to be part of a group (compromise/empathy

        and respect for others)

f. Students will demonstrate an understanding and respect for physical and skill

        level differences among peers.


Means of Assessment:

          a. Student assessment of others in the class regarding sportsmanship/peer


          b. Visual observation by the instructor

          c. Pre and Post survey of participation in extracurricular activities


2.      Develop skills needed to effectively collaborate and communicate with others


Measureable Outcome:

a.     Students will use good listening skills (pay attention to non-verbal cues, show empathy, attentiveness, etc.)

b.     Students will demonstrate an ability to view situations with objectivity and perspective

c.     Students will demonstrate conflict management skills (compromise, collaboration, avoidance, etc.)

Means of Assessment:

a.   Group Project

b.   Peer evaluation of group dynamics/performance (use rubric)

c.   Visual observation of desired/undesired skills during group work/performance of skills



Students will translate knowledge of physical activity into a lifetime of wellness and fitness participation.



Students will:


  1. Understand the relationships between the human body, physical activity and health


Measureable Outcome:

a.   Students will develop attitudes pertaining to physical education as an important component of personal development - physical, mental and emotional

b.   Students will exhibit behaviors/actions that contribute to overall health

c.   Students can articulate to others the relationship between the human body, physical activity and health

d.   Students will understand the effect that a change in physical health can have on emotional and mental health (and vice-versa)

e.       Students will develop decision making or self-management discipline in sticking to regular physical activity


Means of Assessment:

a.   Course reflection/diary

b.   Written exam questions

c.   Visual observation


  1. Know where to look for resources to continue a healthy lifestyle


Measureable Outcome:

a.   Students can identify specific websites and community resources

b.   Students will know where and what kind of equipment to purchase for specific activities

c.   Students will know who to ask for help or more information

Means of Assessment:

a.   Written exam or local resource assessment

b.   Group projects



Alignment of Physical Education Goals with College Mission Statement and Five Institutional Goals



Students will become involved in interactive environments that contribute to their physical, mental and emotional well being



Students will develop knowledge of physical activity



Students will choose activities that improve communication, self discovery and self expression.



Students will translate knowledge of physical activity into a lifetime or wellness and fitness participation.





Relationship to Wells College Mission Statement


Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

Goal 4

1. “To think critically, reason wisely”





2. “To act humanely”





3. “To cultivate meaningful lives”





4. “To appreciate complexity and difference”





5. “To embrace new ways of knowing”





6. “To be creative”





7. “Equips students for life long learning”





8. “Sharing the privileges of education”






Applicable Relationship to the Five Institutional Goals of Wells College


College Goal 1: Provide an educational experience that supports students as unique individuals engaged in the study and practice of the liberal arts - PE Goals: 1-4


College Goal 2: Develop students’ intellectual curiosity, analytical and critical capabilities, and aesthetic awareness and creativity - PE Goals: 1-4


College Goal 3: Provide a rich community environment that fosters awareness and sensitivity to social diversity and encourages responsible action in an interdependent world - PE Goals: 3 and 4


College Goal 4: Develop self-confident individuals who exercise sound judgment and have the knowledge and skills for thoughtful decision-making - PE Goals: 2, 3 and 4



V. Summary of Data Used

The information which has driven the changes in physical education thus far has come from Alden and Associates, Inc.  With new management in place these goals will be put into place as of Spring 2010. The development, construction and implementation of a generalized syllabus and a standardized grading rubric for all courses to follow will focus and direct class instruction and assessment to align with the goals and mission of the College and the Physical Education Department.


The only data that could be collected and analyzed from the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters was from the course evaluations.  Of the evaluations that were collected the PE Coordinator was able to synthesize the data to make a general summary of the findings about our Physical Education program. The following evaluation form uses a 1-5 Likert Scale format in addition to a 3 question written portion to draw more specific feedback from the student.


Summary from Likert scale portion


Out of the 660 students that were in the PE program in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 (excluding sports teams) 322 total evaluations were returned and available for the new PE Coordinator to collect data from.  For some courses, like PE 100-Wellness, no evaluations were found.  142 were analyzed for the Fall of 2008 and 180 were analyzed for the Spring of 2009.


A majority of students felt that the quality of instruction in their PE course was either very good or excellent.  Many also chose excellent for the statement reading “the course fulfilled their reasons for taking it” as well as “Increase in ability as a result of class instruction.”  This gives us an idea that our PE program is satisfying the needs of our students and that student learning is happening although the addition of alternative types of data would help reinforce this belief.  In addition, several students noted that they have taken more than one course with the same instructor which tells us that certain classes have high recidivism rates.   The most common negative score was in the Fair/Poor range.  The most common place for a student to check this section was number 6. on the evaluation reading that the student was “encouraged to ask questions, disagree, express your ideas.”  Noting that the instructors are not allowing as much class discussion or response to material as they could let’s the Coordinator know that this is something that needs to be observed and addressed for the future.


Summary from written portion:


Students noted that they were challenged by their course and none that were collected noted that their courses were too easy.  Many students said they learned proper technique of skill and noted several benefits in their health as a result of the course.  Comments noted improvements in weight loss, strength, coordination, flexibility, body awareness, sleep, endurance, and better states of mental health by taking a PE course.  Some students mentioned that they broke sweats and got their heart rate up.  Every mention of these changes from taking the course was always noted as a positive change in their life.  Negative comments usually referred to how an instructor went about teaching or was a complaint about the course time/offering/amount of credit in comparison to amount of work.


What does the PE program do in response to this information?

The PE Coordinator will now take what was said in these evaluations and really look to find the loopholes or problems in program thanks to the students’ perspective.  From then, the Coordinator will try to implement the necessary changes needed to improve the program and increase assessment for the sake of student learning.  A closer look at certain courses and instructors will allow the Coordinator to make improvements in the right places.  In order to get more accurate feedback on our program the Coordinator will need to do more to ensure that all types of assessment are being implemented in all courses.


Instructor assessment:

It is important for the PE Coordinator to observe at least one of every course every semester that Wells offers in order to ensure that student learning is happening as well as making sure the instructors are doing their jobs well.  Instructors in Physical Education are non faculty members and are hired to come in from outside the college.   Therefore, instructor assessment is crucial to see if students are getting the most from it or to see if new instructors are necessary.  In 2010, a rubric will be created for the PE Coordinator to give the instructor feedback on how effective they are for student learning.  This rubric contains a section on assessment and will be able to show the instructor that more assessment needs to be happening on a regular basis.