THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF ABILITY IN MOVEMENT ASSESSMENT TOOLS
The Swedish School of Sport and Health Studies, Stockholm, Sweden (GIH)
The notion of ability is often taken for granted as simply a measureable and observable capacity. Consequently, there is a number of assessment tools developed for evaluation children’s movement abilities. However, many scholars have suggested that ability is far from a neutral concept. The aim with this study is to investigate how ability is conceptualized and socially configured in a number of movement tests. Questions of particular interest are: What are the purposes of the tests? What kinds of evaluation methods are used and what movement ‘abilities’ are valued? Different assessment tools used in research and education have been examined regarding purpose, content, and assessment orientation. The tests have been analyzed from a sociocultural perspective and Bernstein’s models of pedagogies and Bourdieu’s concept of physical capital have been used. Preliminary findings indicate that the kind of abilities or physical capital that renders high scores on many tests is integral to traditional sports. Rhythm and dance, for example, are never or seldom assessed, neither movements in a broader perspective. The construction of ability in the tests seems to be related to Bernstein’s hierarchical model of pedagogy, performance codes, rather than to competence codes which relates to a more holistic perspective on human movement. The study gives a picture about what kind of movements and abilities that is valued in movement assessment. It raises question about which child benefits from the testing and which child does not. How will the testing influence children’s desire to move or their interest for physical activity in a broader perspective?
Burton, A. W., & Miller, D. E. (1998). Movement Skill Assessment. Champaign. IL: Human Kinetics.
Bernstein, B. (1990). The Structuring of Pedagogic Discourse. London: Routledge.
Bourdieu, P. (1988). Program for Sociology of Sport. Sociology of Sport Journal.5, 153-161.
Evans, J. (2004). Making a difference? Education and ‘ability’ in physical education. European Physical Education Review, 10, 95-108.
Evans, J., & Penney, D. (2008). Levels on the playing field: The social construction of physical ‘ability’ in physical education curriculum. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 13(1), 31-47.
Hay, P.J., & Macdonald, D. (2013). Evidence for the social construction of ability in physical education. Sport Education and Society, 15(1), 1-18.
Wright, J. & Burrows, L. (2006). Re-conceiving ability in physical education: a social analysis. Sport Education and Society, 11(3), 275-291.
Anna Tidén – firstname.lastname@example.org
AIESEP World Congress 2014. International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education. 2014.