Alternative assessment in physical education: a review of international literature

V.M. López-Pastor, D. Kirk, E. Lorente-Catalán, A. MacPhail, D. Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment is one of the most fraught and troublesome issues physical educators have had to deal with over the past 40 years or so. In light of the challenges this situation presents, in this paper we provide an overview of the international literature on assessment in school physical education. We give an account of both traditional and alternative forms of assessment, focusing in particular on recent approaches that may be considered belong to the latter category of assessment. We found that traditional assessment instruments such as Physical Fitness Tests and subjective assessment criteria such as grading students' effort and clothing have been popular approaches to assessment. We also found alternative assessment approaches now in use that have a stronger educational focus. Thus, while we consider that this overview of research studies provides evidence of genuine progress in an area that has been fraught with difficulties for physical education as an educational endeavour, there is work to be done to disseminate what we understand to be good assessment practices. In closing, we briefly note some further challenges for research on assessment in physical education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number1
Early online date14 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • physical education
  • assessment approaches
  • student learning
  • alternative assessment
  • authentic assessment
  • curriculum design


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternative assessment in physical education: a review of international literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this