Plato Academy Tampa is very proud of their own Coach Craig Nieman because his recent research article has been officially accepted for publication in the next issue of the Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE) Journal!  Written while a graduate student at the University of Tampa, the article shines a light on a well-known problem and provides solutions.

Titled “Improving Assessment in Outdoor Physical Education: A Teacher’s Inquiry Study”, Coach Nieman’s study examined the ease and efficacy of assessments using a variety of assessment tools within challenging PE environments such as outdoor fields and play areas in Florida near summertime. 

He observed that “Assessment is an imperative, but often absent, endeavor in physical education. In public schools located in warmer climates, physical education classes are often located outside, as the buildings are devoid of gymnasiums. Teachers of outdoor physical education are met with spatial, time, and technological constraints that hinder opportunities for traditional assessment typically associated with indoor physical education.”

According to Coach, there has been an accountability push on the local, state, and national levels to make assessment an integral part of physical education.  But, he points out, that applying assessments to outdoor physical education contexts has not been adequately addressed.  There need to be common, easy-to-use assessments for PE teachers.

Nieman’s major findings were:


1. Modifications improved the assessments (research strategies needed to be changed for the environment)

  1. Data drove instruction
  2. Assessment improves accountability (student learning actually taking place and can be seen through data tracking and students prove accountable for themselves and their own learning)
  3. Time doesn’t need to be a constraint (assessment doesn’t need to take away from class time and can be seamlessly incorporated)

Coach Nieman’s study investigates a physical education teacher’s implementation of assessment strategies in the outdoor setting through two apps and a modified pencil and paper assessment.  “Plickers and “Coach’s Eye” were the apps he studied.  “Trash It” is a modified paper and pencil assessment that Coach Nieman found to be useful in establishing baselines and tracking students’ progress over time. 

“These are three assessments can be done quickly in small amounts of time.  I would definitely recommend them to any PE teacher who wants to encourage their students to set goals and track progress,” said Coach Nieman.

The FATE Journal is a peer-reviewed publication of The Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE).  The Journal’s main objective is to publish outstanding articles on teacher education research and practice for the edification of its members and the educational community at large. The FATE Journal publishes, but it is not limited to, original papers, review papers, case studies, empirical research, and conceptual frameworks. The FATE Journal uses an open access publication model. All interested readers are able to freely access the journal online without the need for a subscription. All manuscripts undergo a double-blind review process. 

Coach Nieman’s article will appear in the FATE Journal this Spring.