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Shearer, C (2020) PHYSICAL LITERACY ASSESSMENT AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN AGED 7-11 YEARS. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Physical literacy (PL) is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and participate in physical activity for life. Assessment of physical literacy has recently emerged as an aspect of the concept that requires further investigation. Without the ability to measure PL, practitioners, teachers and policy makers cannot ascertain if children are displaying positive PL behaviours or if additional support is required. It is currently unclear if there are assessment tools available in research or practice that have reported philosophical alignment to Whitehead’s concept of physical literacy and the development of one is pivotal to promote the operationalisation of the concept within the education sector. Study One Globally, PL continues to gain momentum, yet the definition and underlying concept of physical literacy remains contested in both research and practice. This lack of clarity has the potential to undermine the operationalisation of PL, as such study 1 considers the various definitions of PL that are currently adopted internationally. PL experts identified seven leading groups that have established PL initiatives. Although each group is unified in using the term PL, there are contrasting definitions and interpretations of the concept. Common themes were identified, including the: (a) influence of PL philosophy, (b) core elements of PL, (c) lifelong nature of PL, and (d) the need to scientifically pursue a robust operationalization of the concept. Study 1 concludes by recommending that programmes relating to PL should provide a definition, a clear philosophical approach, and transparency with how their actions align with this approach. Study Two The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature for assessment tools that are appropriate to measure PL elements within children aged 7-11 years. A systematic review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA-P guidelines. Search terms were defined during workshops with PL experts before the following electronic databases were searched (12 May 2017- 10 January 2019) to identify relevant peer-reviewed journal articles published in English: (i) MEDLINE (ii) ScienceDirect (iii) SPORTDiscus, iv) Education Research Complete (iv)Scopus, and (v) psycINFO. Methodological quality of both quantitative and qualitative assessment tools were appraised using the COSMIN risk of bias checklist. The feasibility, interpretability, cost and ease of use of each instrument was also appraised using a utility matrix and a bespoke PL checklist was developed to appraise alignment to the concept. The search strategy resulted in a total of 7530 initial results. Reference checking resulted in three additional eligible studies. After screening of titles and abstracts, 381 articles were retrieved for full text reading. After full text screening was completed a total of 130 studies were included in this review. In total, 65 studies were relevant to the physical domain, 58 to the affective domain and 7 to the cognitive domain. In relation to the 7-11 age range 21 tools were available for the physical domain, 33 for the affective and 6 for the cognitive. The findings within the review highlight that aspects of the physical, cognitive and affective domains are currently being assessed, using tools that have acceptable psychometric properties. While assessments are typically proven to be feasible within a school context, further empirical research is needed to consider the feasibility of the scoring and administration of assessment tools by teachers as opposed to research teams. Study 3 Study 3 explored stakeholder perceptions of a PL assessment for children aged 7-11 years. Specifically, this study aimed to explore key stakeholders’ views of current practice, effective implementation and future directions of PL assessment to inform the development of a PL assessment for primary school-aged children. Purposive samples of children aged 7-11 years (10 focus groups, n=57), primary school teachers (6 focus groups, n=23) and experts in physical literacy (3 focus groups, academics n=13, practitioners n=8) were recruited to take part in a series of concurrent focus groups. A semi-structured focus group guide was developed focusing on acceptability, demand and implementation of PL assessment. Focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using inductive and deductive thematic analysis, with key themes organised into pen profiles. It was found that stakeholders viewed the assessment of physical literacy as important but reported that it was not currently a priority in many schools, resulting in variable practice. In addition, child responses centred on a desire for enjoyment/fun within the assessment experience and teachers recommended that assessment should be time-efficient, simple and useful. Experts advocated the use of longitudinal assessment strategies. Moreover, all stakeholders proposed using technology and self-assessment/reflection to support PL assessment. Although all stakeholders recognised a demand for PL assessment at the individual and population level, existing assessments did not meet their perceived needs. Future assessments should consider the balance between the purpose of the assessment and the feasibility of the assessment process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: physical literacy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2020 11:19
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2022 11:39
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00013081
Supervisors: Foweather, L, Knowles, Z, Boddy, L and Myers, E
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13081
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