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Passport for Life Assessment Rationale

Passport for Life was constructed by a team of teachers and researchers to provide an authentic assessment of the curricular-based themes of Active Participation, Living Skills, Fitness Skills and Movement Skills. An assessment result for each category is provided to the student and parent. An overall score is not provided. Passport for Life went through two cycles of prototype testing and revision in schools nationwide based upon thorough statistical evaluation of the pilot data and teacher feedback surveys.

Student Profile

The student profile is completed before Passport for Life assessments begin. The student profile provides information related to the number of physical education classes per week, the amount of continuous activity that the student self-reports, and finally, the student’s intentions regarding physical activity participation. The responses in this section provide context for goal setting between the student and teacher and provide insight for interpretation of Passport for Life assessments.

Active Participation

The Active Participation section is a self-report assessment where students respond to questions regarding the variety and frequency of their physical activities.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology is among many health experts who recommend at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for children and youth (2011). Active participation is a vital component of physical literacy because those who are consistently active tend to experience enhanced well-being in the form of improved motor skills, fitness, eating habits, quality of sleep, cognitive functions and performance, social skills, and physical and psychological health. For more information on some of these benefits, see the Benefits Hub 

Motor skills are particularly enhanced when individuals participate regularly in a variety of physical activities. Such variety can take the form physical activities that are team and/or individual, organized and/or unorganized, and at school and/or out-of-school. Actively participating individuals are comfortable moving in a variety of environments (such as on ice and snow, on land, in water, and in the air) and in both indoor and outdoor environments. As a result, active participation in physical activity is best represented across an entire calendar year so that it reflects the diversity of activities participated in during all four seasons.  Activity choices depend on one’s values and the opportunities available. Consider the following examples:

Student One Profile

Setting: a highly populated city with access to after-school transportation

Activities: one team sport at school in the winter, one individual community sport in the spring and summer (tennis), unorganized ball hockey after school during the autumn and winter, and gardening and swimming regularly in the summer.

Student Two Profile

Setting: a remote northern rural setting with little access to transportation and facilities.

Activities: snowshoeing individually and with friends in the winter, playing community or school soccer in autumn, and fishing, swimming, hunting, and playing games with family and friends during each of the other seasons.

Living Skills

Living skills contribute to the overall confidence and competence an individual needs to improve physical literacy.

The Living Skills section is an individual self-report questionnaire. It is intended to provide a general reflection of the feeling, thinking, and interacting skills students need to make healthy active choices—ones that are both beneficial to and respectful of their whole self, others and their environment.
Being physically active and healthy is positively associated with each of these living skills. Physically literate individuals tend to:

  • know different movements and understand how to strategically apply each according to the setting (type of activity) or situation (need)
  • understand the importance of and be motivated for regular physical activity. Important indicators of motivation are one’s enjoyment, value for, confidence, level of anxiety, and body image related to physical activity.
  • Apply personal skills like self-control, caring, respect, assertiveness, reasoned thought, and the management of resources and effort while making ethical decisions cooperatively with others to prevent and resolve problems and to accomplish short- and long-term goals. 

Fitness Skills

Fitness is an important component of health. The three components assessed in this section are cardiovascular endurance, core strength and dynamic balance.

Passport for Life measures cardiovascular fitness using a sustained sub-maximal exertion test (4-station circuit). The ability to sustain exertion at moderate-intensity activity is directly related to cardiorespiratory fitness. A four-point, criterion-based rubric is used to allocate students into four fitness categories based upon required rest (inability to sustain).

Students’ dynamic balance is also assessed using a lateral bound movement. Dynamic balance was selected because it has greater validity to real world activities (external validity) compared to single support balance ability (stork stand). Dynamic balance is assessed using a four-point criterion-based rubric.

Core or trunk strength is also assessed through Passport for Life.  Students’ ability is measured in a front plank using a four-point criterion-based rubric. Core strength has been shown to be related to balance and function in older adults and performance in young people.

Movement Skills

Fundamental movement skills are gateways to active participation and performance in sports and recreational pursuits. PHE Canada ascertains that all students should be competent and confident in executing basic movements. Passport for Life examines the abilities of students in four major categories of movement—locomotor skills, upper limb movement, lower limb movement and balance (assessed in Fitness section).

Locomotor skills are well correlated (hop, jump, skip, shuffle, run, etc.) and can be considered unidimensional. This permits the assessment of a sub-component of these skills, as an overall representation of transport skills. Locomotor skills are assessed by the student performing a run, turn-around, run back task. This combinational task involves the ability to accelerate and decelerate, the ability to control movement within a set space, as well as the ability to change direction. The task is assessed using a four-point holistic rubric. Key features are listed which should be present for allocation of the student into one of the four categories.

The upper limb object control and manipulation task assesses a throw and catch using a four-point holistic rubric. Upper limb motion is required for participation in activities of daily living, and is a gateway for participation in many sports and recreational activities.

The lower limb object control and manipulation task assesses two forms of kicking using a four-point holistic rubric. Lower limb motion is required for participation in activities of daily living, and is a gateway for participation in many sports and recreational activities. These movement tasks were selected as representative of essential abilities for students. The pilot data reveals normally distributed data without ceiling or floor effects.