Making the case for democratic assessment practices within a critical pedagogy of physical education teacher education

E. Lorente-Catalán, D. Kirk

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There has been growing interest in alternative assessment strategies that focus on student participation within higher education over the past 20 years. At the same time, it is important to note that there is very little published research dealing with alternative forms of assessment in the field of physical education teacher education (PETE). In this paper we seek to make a case for democratic assessment practices within a critical pedagogy of PETE. We begin by outlining developments in assessment in higher education in general, before considering student participation in assessment processes. We then consider some strategies of participative assessment, and discuss their benefits, risks and difficulties. An account of the experience of the National Network of Formative and Shared Assessment in Higher Education in Spain provides us with a working example of the implementation of democratic practices in assessment in PETE. We conclude that the lack of research in physical education on democratic assessment practices raises serious questions about the extent to which our field is committed to producing teachers capable of meeting the complex social and cultural challenges they will surely meet in the schools of tomorrow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number1
Early online date2 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • democtratic assessment
  • critical pedagogy
  • physical education teacher education
  • self assessment
  • peer assessment
  • higher education

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