An Exploration of Assessment and Evaluation in the Elementary Health and Physical Education Curriculum Webinar Blog |

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An Exploration of Assessment and Evaluation in the Elementary Health and Physical Education Curriculum Webinar Blog

Monday, May 11, 2020 - 09:01

In April, Ophea recorded a webinar focusing on assessment and evaluation in the 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Elementary curriculum, taking a specific look into Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning skills, as this was an area of interest that was shared in feedback from our previous webinars.

With the intention of supporting the implementation of the curriculum, the goals of the webinar were to:

  • Have an increased awareness of assessment and evaluation in connection with Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills in the 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum.
  • Have increased knowledge and understanding of assessment and evaluation components within the 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education Curriculum.
  • Have a clear understanding of additional resources and further sources of credible information to support the assessment and evaluation of the 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education Curriculum.

We would like to thank our co-presenters involved in this webinar:

Hatty Moon is an educator with over 23 years of teaching experience with the York Region District School Board.  She is currently the Curriculum Coordinator of Wellbeing and Healthy Schools. For the past 5 years, she has led the district implementation of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) where elementary and secondary schools learn of evidence-informed approaches of SEL that are comprehensive and culturally responsive. 

Andrea Haefele is a Health & Physical Education teacher in the York Region District School Board. She is also an Ophea Ambassador and an Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators (OASPHE) member. Andrea has been part of many regional and provincial initiatives that support the Health & Physical Education curriculum, Healthy Schools, and also Daily Physical Activity. She is a strong advocate for quality H&PE programming for all students of all abilities.

View the full webinar in English on our YouTube channel and read the overview below.

Assessment & Evaluation to Improve Student Learning

The Ministry of Education’s policy document called Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting provides guidance related to teaching and learning strategies and assessment i in Ontario Schools. It is important as educators to understand the guidelines and policies that apply to assessment, evaluation, and reporting practices in all subject areas, including Health & Physical Education as it supports the learning for all our students.

Successful implementation of this policy depends on the professional judgement of educators as well as on their ability to work together and to build understanding, trust and confidence with students and parents with the overall goal of improving student learning and success. In order to ensure that students are given equitable opportunities for assessment and evaluation within the H&PE curriculum, educators need to create an environment that promotes  striving to achieve one’s personal best, equity and fair play, respect for diversity, sensitivity and respect for individual requirements and needs, and health and well-being.

Parallels in the Fundamental Principles in Health & Physical Education, and the Seven Fundamental Principles in Growing Success

When we compare the Fundamental Principles in Health & Physical Education Curriculum (Pg. 9-10), and the Seven Fundamental Principles in the Growing Success (Pg. 6) there are many themes that align. Some common themes that are reflective in a well-planned and inclusive program are:

  • The importance of supporting all students with diverse needs including those with special education needs and English language learners.
  • The importance of providing learning opportunities that are connected to the interests, needs, and experiences of our diverse learners.
  • The importance of ongoing communication and support between all key stakeholders in a school community (for example administrators, school staff, and families).

In any given classroom and in any subject, our students demonstrate a wide range of strengths and needs. As part of an intentional teaching approach, it is important for educators to be tuned into the diversity of their students, and use an integrated process of assessment and instruction that is responsive and personalized to the learning experiences for all students' social-emotional learning skills and experiences.

Strand A: Social & Emotional Learning Skills

In November, Ophea hosted a webinar Exploring Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in Health & Physical Education. We have an important opportunity as H&PE educators, as the health and physical education program provides a unique setting for developing the social-emotional learning skills that will help students gain a better understanding of who they are and help them connect positively and productively with the larger world. The direct integration of these skills with other components of the H&PE curriculum gives students an opportunity to develop, practice and refine these important skills as they mature. Ensuring that this strand is intentionally instructed, assessed and evaluated will ultimately support students in the development of these skills.

Social-Emotional Learning skills at a glance

  • Students will learn skills to identify and manage emotions so they can express their feelings and understand the feelings of others.
  • Students will learn skills to recognize sources of stress and cope with challenges so they can develop personal resilience.
  • Students will learn skills to maintain positive motivation and perseverance so they can foster a sense of optimism and hope.
  • Students will learn skills to build relationships and communicate effectively so they can support healthy relationships and respect diversity.
  • Students will learn skills to develop self-awareness and self-confidence so they can develop a sense of identity and belonging.
  • Students will learn skills to think critically and creatively so they can make informed decisions and solve problems. [1]

The focus of this strand is to provide meaningful opportunities for students to develop skills “to foster overall health and well-being, positive mental health, and the ability to learn, build resilience, and thrive. Learning related to the expectations in this strand occurs in the context of learning related to the other three strands. These skills must be explicitly taught and evaluated in the context of learning in all strands of the curriculum (Active Living, Movement Competence, and Healthy Living) and should be assessed and evaluated within these contexts.” 2

Program Planning in H&PE in the context of Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills

Educators are responsible for using effective instructional strategies to help students achieve the curriculum expectations, as well as appropriate methods for the ongoing assessment and evaluation of student learning. It is also important to understand the value of working in collaboration with all members of the school community to ensure that there is a common language and understanding on Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills so that students understand how it is embedded into the whole curriculum, and beyond.

In this webinar, a variety of examples of assessment and evaluation instructional strategies are shared, with a specific focus on how the SEL skills are embedded into H&PE for the primary, junior and intermediate divisions.

Primary Division

An example for the primary division was an image of a learning goal that shows how Strand A, SEL skills are embedded into Strand C, Movement Competence. Having shared learning goals and success criteria with students is an essential step in assessment for and as learning. The grade 2 learning goal reads, “We are learning to send an object over a net with love to create a rally”. In this physical education unit, students were given multiple opportunities to explore how to send an object to their partner in order to create a rally in net and wall games through ongoing conversations as a class and with the teacher. The teacher uses the co-created word ‘love’ to help them understand how to send the object gently, with kindness, control and respect for the other players to help them be able to successfully return the object back. Students were asked intentional questions that connected to the games/activities to facilitate the students’ thinking in relation to address the SEL skills expectations: A1.1 Identification and Management of Emotions, A1.4 Healthy Relationships.

Junior Division

In one of the junior division examples, students had the opportunity to explore how as individuals, they experience a range of emotions. Students had the opportunity to explore memes of animals that showed different emotions as a minds-on activity. The teacher presented the pictures and had students add short sentences describing situations where they felt that way. In a picture of the cat sleeping on the keyboard, some student responses were: “How I feel when I have no one to hang out with. When I realize all my assignments are due tomorrow. My mom made me stay up to do chores.” In the picture of a happy dog, some student responses were: “I woke up rested and not grumpy! Our teacher is telling us something interesting. I love my weekends.” Students were then given the opportunity to have a conversation where they described their triggers that connect their thoughts, feelings and actions to a specific emotion. This activity is an assessment as learning tool to not only help students develop their capacity to be independent learners while monitoring their own progress, but it is a tool to help the teacher learn more about the students, and their behaviours and individualized emotions.

Intermediate Division

As part of developing mental health literacy, intermediate students learn to distinguish between mental health and mental illness and building an awareness of the impact of stigma associated with mental illness. Establishing norms within the SEL skills strand helps set a foundation for talking about mental health, as it helps in the preparation for the transitions that come with adolescence. The teacher embeds many opportunities for students to reflect on their mental health whether it be about stress, relationships, and life in general, and opportunities for the teacher to observe the progression of their learning. Creating a safe environment for students to comfortably and honestly reflect, share and discuss will make learning about health expectations more meaningful and purposeful. Understanding, recognizing, and co-creating individualized success criteria on how to cope with stress and challenges, to the best of their ability, in positive ways supports students in the development of their awareness of emotions, intentions, and motivations as they communicate and interact with others.

Educator Reflection

As educators, we all bring enthusiasm and varied teaching and assessment strategies to the classroom, addressing the individual needs of our students. It is valuable to use a variety of instructional, assessment, and evaluation approaches so that students have multiple opportunities to develop and refine their skills and knowledge required for social-emotional learning – and all learning - throughout the H&PE curriculum. As we continue to develop our balanced H&PE program, it is valuable to reflect on the results of learning as they provide opportunities for us to adjust our program and instructional approaches to help every student achieve the curriculum expectations to the best of their ability.

Additional Resources

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[1]  Ontario Ministry of Education. (2019). The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (pg. 292). Retrieved from

  2 Ontario Ministry of Education. (2019). The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (pg. 25). Retrieved from