With Physical Education to be introduced as an examinable Leaving Certificate subject in a small number of schools from next September, here's a look at how it will work.

Why is it being introduced?

According to the curriculum, "the general aim of physical education in senior cycle is to develop the learner’s capacity to participate in physical education and physical activity in a confident and informed way"

The aim of Leaving Certificate Physical Education is to develop students' ability to become informed, skilled, self-directed and reflective performers in physical education and physical activity, both for their senior cycle and in their future lives

What will students study?

Physically active participation plays a central role in the course. Students will learn about theoretical perspectives through taking part in three different activities; with activities selected from three out of six categories:

Athletics: Running: sprints, middle distance, long distance, hurdles; Throwing: shot-put, discus, javelin, hammer; Jumping: High, long, triple

Artistic and aesthetic activities: Gymnastics: artistic, rhythmic; Dance: contemporary, folk, modern, ballet, jazz, tap, ethnic; traditional personal exercise and fitness

Aerobic: continuous, interval, fartlek, aerobics/step aerobics, spinning, indoor rowing; Other: weights, core stability, circuits

Aquatics: Lifesaving, survival swimming, swimming strokes, water-polo, synchronised swimming

Games: Gaelic football, hurling/camogie, soccer, rugby, basketball, hockey, netball, Olympic handball, badminton, tennis, volleyball, table-tennis, handball, squash, cricket, softball, rounders

Adventure activities: Orienteering, canoeing/ kayaking, rock-climbing, sailing, rowing/sculling

These three physical activities become the focus of teaching and learning in Leaving Certificate Physical Education. As students learn about the many factors that impact on participation and performance, they are required to apply their learning in a systematic way to improve their own performance in the three selected physical activities.

This planning process is at the centre of assessment tasks in Leaving Certificate Physical Education.

Learners choose one of the three selected physical activities being studied by their class for their performance assessment.

How will students be assessed?

The assessment is broken down into three strands – a physical activity project worth 20% of the overall marks; a performance assessment ,worth 30%; and a written examination, worth 50%.

For the project, learners can choose either a performer or coach/choreographer role.

Students then apply their learning to develop their personal performance in their chosen role, and complete a digital project report, covering four sections: Performance analysis, identification of four performance goals, evidence of ongoing training/practice reflection, and a concluding analysis.

For the performance assessment, learners choose one of the three selected physical activities being studied by their class. They will be assessed in a variety of contexts, including personal performance, fully competitive and/or conditioned practices.

The performance is captured digitally by the learner, in sessions designed to capture their best personal performance.

Performing in a selected activity, learners are expected to:

  • show evidence of their capacity to select, apply and perform the skills and techniques outlined in the physical activity section in a conditioned practice, fully competitive version of the activity, or personal performance
  • demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the physical activity, including the ability to apply and adapt different tactics, strategies and compositional knowledge in response to different scenarios in conditioned or competitive environments  
  • demonstrate knowledge and application of relevant rules, regulations and codes of practice in the chosen activity

Half of the overall marks go for the written assessment.

The exam will test:

  • knowledge and understanding of the theoretical factors which affect participation and performance in physical activity and the relationships between them  
  • learners’ concept and process knowledge in relation to the assessment criteria  
  • learners’ engagement with a case study designed to require learners to apply their learning in a particular physical activity scenario
  • clarity and coherence in management of ideas and answers

Full details of the course are available at curriculumonline.ie

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