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The social construction of ability in movment assessment tools.
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences. (Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2232-253X
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences. (Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9965-0123
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences. (Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1298-8186
2015 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on how 'ability' is conceptualised, configured and produced in movement assessment tools. The aim of the study was to critically analyse assessment tools used for healthy and typically developed children. The sample consists of 10 tools from 6 different countries. In the study, we pay special attention to content and evaluation methods. The theoretical analysis explores and discusses what kind of movement ability the tools construct. The theoretical framework is inspired by Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, capital and field which are used as analytical tools to explore how the testing processes and content shape what is regarded as ability. Our findings show both a great variation of concepts and evaluation methods and a narrow view of what is regarded as valuable to assess. The assessed movements are strongly related to traditional sports and construct a specific form of physical capital. None of the tasks assessed take place in natural outdoor environments. Open skills, rhythmical movements to music or tasks including a wider range of flexibility are also absent in the assessment tools. The explored tools and tests assess a limited number of decontextualised movements and produce a narrow view of 'ability'. Hence, the testing process itself often promotes a child who is physically mature and benefits those who have experience of traditional sports. In other words, the assessed 'taste for sport' and the 'embodied physical capital' construct what is considered to be legitimate knowledge in relation to movement and physical culture. Accordingly, the social construction of movement ability through assessment tools is far from a neutral concept and could affect how children see themselves and their 'ability'.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015.
Keyword [en]
movement, ability, assessment tools, social construction
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-4060DOI: DOI:10.1080/13573322.2015.1071249OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-4060DiVA: diva2:845372
Available from: 2015-08-11 Created: 2015-08-11 Last updated: 2016-02-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bedömningar av ungas rörelseförmåga: En idrottsvetenskaplig problematisering och validering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bedömningar av ungas rörelseförmåga: En idrottsvetenskaplig problematisering och validering
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to investigate, discuss and problematise different aspects of movement ability. The four sub-studies of the thesis deal with various issues concerning assessment of movement ability. First, the focus is on how the concept of physical literacy has influenced the steering document of the subject physical education and health (PEH) in Sweden. The question is: What kind of tensions and conflicts arise when different approaches and interpretations of movement ability are used in an educational context? Second, a structural validation is conducted of the NyTid test, an assessment tool developed to assess basic and complex movement skills at the ages of 12-16 years. The question is: Which categories of movement skills are identified through the validation of the NyTid test? Third, the study examines how ‘ability’ is conceptualised, configured and produced in movement tests and movement assessment tools. Finally, an investigation of how or whether an assessed low or high movement ability at the age of 15 matters for developing an interest in, or taste for, sport and physical activities nine years later, in young adulthood.

Movement ability is studied from different perspectives, including a multidisciplinary sport science approach using mixed methods. The theoretical standpoint in the sociocultural analyses is inspired by Bourdieu’s theories and concepts of habitus, capital, field and doxa, which are used as analytical tools. Different theories relating to the evaluation of movement abilities as product- or process oriented assessment are also made use of.

Movement abilities tests and assessment tools are also found to construct a specific and narrow form of physical capital strongly related to traditional sports. Accordingly, the social construction of movement ability through assessment tools is far from neutral and could affect how children see themselves and their sense of ‘ability’. Furthermore, the assumption that an acquired high level of movement ability plays a central role for being physically active is challenged in the thesis. Even though pupils at the age of 15 had a low level of assessed movement ability, it did not prevent them from acquiring a taste for sport and physical activity later in life. However, more studies on movement ability and the underlining mechanisms and factors for engaging in physical activities are necessary.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2016
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, 06
Keyword
movement ability, movement competence, fundamental movement skills, movement assessment, motor skills test, the NyTid test, youth, physical education and health, physical activity, physical literacy, social construction, physical capital, habitus, structural validation, longitudinal study
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-4351 (URN)978-91-980862-7-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-03-11, Aulan, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Forskningslinjen Utbildning
Available from: 2016-02-16 Created: 2016-02-15 Last updated: 2016-09-19

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