Formative Assessment in PE; ideas for Fundamentals


Formative and Summative Assessment in PE have many overlaps and both must be used to have impact on student learning.

Formative assessment is ongoing and used to gather feedback that can be used both by the teacher and by the student.

Summative assessment on the other hand is generally seen as the measure of success against a particular benchmark.

All sports are built around key fundamentals; The National Curriculum for England identifies them as; Running, Jumping, throwing, Catching, Balance, Agility and Coordination.

The Coaching Association of Canada breaks it down into three areas;

  • Body Control Skills,
  • Body Movement Skills,
  • Object Manipulation Skills


and include other fundamentals such as kicking, swimming and receiving. In addition to this and from personal experience I would also add body shape.

These building blocks are used to create all the sports that we know and love. Without these fundamental blocks in place young people will struggle to access the sport.

relationship fundamental skills.jpg

Therefore assessing these key fundamentals should be a key part of each lesson so that groups, objectives and games can be modified to allow access and challenge for all.

The Canadian Sport for Life Website (Website link) has many helpful resources such as this graph below showing some of the fundamentals required in particular sports and is useful when trying to analyse student performance within it;


With all this in mind below are five ideas that I have used to help ongoing assessment of some of these fundamentals so that I can modify and adapt lessons so that all can access learning within particular sports;

Throwing; Underarm

Main Teaching Points;

  1. Opposite foot to throwing hand steps forward.
  2. Throwing hand starts behind body and swings below waist.
  3. Release ball once hand points towards target

Using one set of cricket stumps, I have a wicket keeper who is constantly reviewing the throwers performance of the three teaching points. When the thrower has shown the teaching point and hits the wicket one stump is taken out.


If students complete this task in pairs for 2 minutes this will give you a great visual overview of their mastery of the under arm throwing. For learners requiring extra challenge simply move the throwing line backwards


Main Teaching Points;

  1. Get body in line with the ball
  2. Prepare target hands
  3. Wrap fingers around ball
  4. Bend elbows to help cushion ball

Have students in large square self-feeding with their own ball.


Students start catching whilst standing still if they can;



Each time they drop a ball they must go back a stage. After 1 minute you will have a whole class overview of their current stage of learning.

Additionally put each teaching point on a laminated sheet and placing on on each side of the activity square you can have students run over and touch the teaching point which was missing and that caused them to drop the ball. Again this will provide invaluable feedback both to you and to the students who will work to identify why they may be dropping the ball.


Main Teaching Points:

  1. Footwork; Step across with opposite foot to get side on
  2. Action; Push
  3. Contact; In front of the body
  4. Timing; Footwork – Contact – action

Acronym; F.A.C.T (Write these letters on to one cone each)


Have one student feeding and assessing, they will do an underarm throw and the receiver must push it back to them (More advanced can do a racquet feed)

The feeder will assess the hitter and when they have achieved and mastered a particular teaching point they turn the cone round to face them – the cones start by facing the receiver to remind them of the teaching points.

Then as a teacher you can then scan around your group giving you an overall visual as to who has mastered the hit; FACT!! You can then differentiate activities groups, equipment and or space.

Overarm Throwing

Main Teaching Points;

  1. Stand side on, ball is taken back behind head
  2. Non-throwing arm pointing at the target
  3. Throwing arm pulls through (elbow should not drop below shoulder)
  4. Release ball once it is hand and chest are facing the target

Using the following set up:


Give students one minute to try and throw the ball into the target; if successful ask them to move their own cone one step further away from the target. After one minute you will have an overview of the whole class. To ensure mastery you can also do a race back to the hoop; by asking students to move their cone one step in each time they hit the target. Great for differentiation due to different starting points as well as assessment.


Main Teaching Points;

  1. Bend knees and push upwards (Red Cone)
  2. Swing arms to help gain extra distance (Yellow Cone)
  3. Keep head still and balanced (Green Cone)

Get students to work in pairs and use a traffic light system to gauge progress. If a student has mastered one of the teaching points they would put the red cone on top, when two are mastered then the yellow would be placed on top and when three are complete place the green on top. A quick scan around will tell you when it is time to move individuals on to the next task or when to give additional feedback and support. This system works for a whole host of activities and I mostly use it when teaching gymnastics and performing skills such as a side roll.


I hope you will find some of the activities useful and if you have any that you use I would love to hear from you or indeed if you give any of these a try!

Thanks for reading.


Kevin Peake

Founder of PESA; The PE and Sports Assessment Tool

Get it on Google Play











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