Inadequate and inappropriate?: The assessment of young disabled people and pupils with special educational needs in National Curriculum Physical Education

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Abstract

Based upon focus groups with 12 secondary school physical education (PE) teachers working in north-west England, this paper examines: (i) how young disabled people and pupils with special educational needs (SEN) were assessed in National Curriculum Physical Education (NCPE) 2000; and (ii) how teachers managed the constraints on them to assess these pupils in the same manner as other young people. The findings indicate that the NCPE assessment criteria were often perceived as inappropriate, inadequate and attainable by only a few pupils. Although teachers were constrained to use these criteria because of their statutory nature, the assessment of pupils was very much a matter of personal judgement and guess work that resulted in pupils being awarded grades that were not necessarily accurate or sufficiently indicative of their abilities. It is concluded that the competing pressures on teachers to include young disabled people and those with SEN in mainstream lessons resulted in a series of unplanned outcomes that were not intended nor desired by government, and which came to limit the extent to which pupils’ abilities could be assessed, in any meaningful way, within the NCPE 2000 statutory assessment arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-300
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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