There are thousands of ways we monitor student progress. From these assessments we are making decisions that range from how to back track and re-teach and how to extend. We are continually monitoring students engagement and understanding. As P.E. teachers we become excellent at movement analysis. We can watch a group of students and within seconds measure the range of who is missing particular learning cues and who needs a greater challenge. However, I find many of us are unsure how to best assess cognitive concepts.
How do we know that students understand why their heart rate increases when they exercise. ( 3rd Grade Level Expectations Evidence Outcome). Often I give students an Exit Slip when they line up to leave. “Line up with a paper and pencil, on your paper explain why your heart rate increases when you exercise.” Here’s the things I don’t like about Exit Slips. Once they have filled them out they leave, sometimes with incorrect information. Because of the revolving door (one class leaving with a teacher rushed to get back to class while one class is entering excited to get started) I get frustrated not being able to have a conversation with a student who almost gets it. I rarely give enough time for slow workers. And of course there are some students who actually know the information and can tell me verbally but can’t get it down on paper. With all that said I use Exit Slips all the time. However, I prefer entrance tasks!
Entrance Tasks are a little different! When a student gets tagged, or completes a task, they complete an entrance task to re-enter the activity. Entrance tasks work well as informal cognitive concept assessments. Here are some creative ways to use this idea.
During a simple tag game where you have students doing a task like 3 jumping jacks when they get tagged, add a cognitive aspect. When students get tagged they do one exercise to make their legs stronger (1st Grade Level Expectations Evidence Outcome). I can observe the exercises they perform and determine “Do they understand the difference between strengthening and stretching? Do they know a variety of exercises or are they all doing the same?”
I also use cognitive concept cards. These cards align with the grade level expected outcomes. In the previous scenario 3rd grade students would do the 3 jumping jacks, then draw a card. The card might say “why does your heart rate increase when you exercise?” Depending on the student I can read the card or let them read it. Students can work individually and tell me the answer or work with another students and tell them. Within a few minutes I know whether most students understand this concept or I need to re-teach.