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Assessment versus Evaluation

Passport for Life is not an awards program. Research indicated that previous national “Award of Excellence” programs, such as the Canada Fitness Tests, had several potential hazards such as heightened anxiety, social comparisons, heightened competition and a striving to perform for extrinsic rewards rather than to learn and improve for intrinsic reasons.

In the development of Passport for Life these concerns shaped the direction of the teaching tool. For example, the Student Passport is meant to be used as an ongoing, formative and informational “reward”— that students can use for learning and subsequent goal setting and development.

The program also intentionally uses students’ self-assessments of active participation and living skills. These assessments can be effective for learning but are not conducive to granting an award. Consequently, results on Passport for Life assessments cannot be reduced to a total score resulting in a credible award. 

Assessment (assessment for) 

Assessment (assessment for) is the term used to look at how the quality of a performance or outcome could be improved in the future. It includes strengths that should be sustained as well as high-priority areas for improvement. The assessment process is not concerned with the level of quality—only with how to improve the level of quality.

Evaluation (assessment of) 

Evaluation (assessment of) is the term used to describe the determination of the level of quality. The evaluation process focuses only on the actual level of quality with no interest in how to improve it or why that level was attained.

Purpose Assessment for Physical Literacy Assessment of Physical Literacy
Reason for Assessing Promote learning Report achievement status
To Inform Teachers and students Others
Focus of assessment Specific achievement goals selected by teachers that enable students to improve Achievement standards
Driving priority Improvement Accountability
Place in time Process during learning Event after learning
Teacher's role Transform standards into classroom targets, inform/involve students Careful test administration; create classroom tests; report on results
Student's role Strive to see the target, use feedback from results to improve next time Strive for highest score, avoid failure
Primary motivator Involvement, understanding and expectation of success Promise of reward, fear of punishment