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SPARK Assessment Tools

a. Program Assessments:

SPARK Standard and Premium programs include the following four evaluation tools and FREE consultation on their use:

1. Formative/Needs Assessment:  SPARK workshops are modified and targeted to meet the needs of each school or agency.  To accomplish this goal, SPARK staff and/or trainers conduct a phone interview to understand the vision and direction of the participating school, district, or agency.  During the interview, important questions on activity quantity and quality are posed.  Additionally, SPARK disseminates a survey to each workshop attendee to analyze current offerings, ascertain program strengths/successes, and what they would like to focus on during staff development.  Needs Assessment tools are compiled and presented to the SPARK trainer to aide in her/his presentation preparation.

2. Workshop Evaluation:  SPARK Trainers have each attendee complete this assessment tool immediately following a workshop.  These measure the effectiveness of the training session and its presenter.  Copies of the evaluations are presented to the host.  For Premium Programs, SPARK will summarize the data upon request

3. Program Evaluation:  SPARK provides a Final Debriefing/Program Evaluation Form for the district to administer near the end of the school year to all SPARK workshop attendees.  This survey poses questions regarding teacher/youth leader utilization of the program (quantity and quality) and their impressions of SPARK effects on student learning and development.  For Premium Programs, SPARK includes this form in the Day 2 workshop box and will summarize the data upon request.  For Standard Programs, this form is provided upon request

4. Lesson Quality Assessments (LQA):  SPARK provides and instructs participating teachers/youth leaders in the use of their LQA, which is an evaluative tool that measures SPARK fidelity and instructional effectiveness.  There is a different LQA for each SPARK program.  LQA’s may be used as a self-assessment for the teacher/youth leader, or as a peer or administrator assessment.  LQA’s may also be used as data collection tools as part of a research project and/or as a more in-depth effort to collect data to show changes in teachers’ effectiveness.  LQA’s are provided on SPARKfamily.org.

b. Supplemental Evaluation Tools (Measure Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity) SOFIT and SOPLAY:

1. SOFIT (System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time) is an objective tool for assessing the quality of physical education instruction.  It is a comprehensive system that measures three things during class time:  1. Student activity levels (including light, moderate, and vigorous); 2. Lesson context, and 3. Teacher behavior.  SOFIT is a research-validated instrument that involves the direct observation of lessons by trained data collectors.  SOFIT has been used to assess physical education in over 10,000 schools throughout the world.

2. SOPLAY (System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth) provides observational data on the number of participants and their physical activity levels (light, moderate, and vigorous) during play and leisure opportunities.  The system is based on group time sampling techniques.  SOPLAY was designed to counter the problems of assessing physical activity in “open” environments, such as recreational and leisure settings and can be used to capture and gauge unstructured physical activity time.


  • SOFIT and SOPLAY are not included in the cost of a SPARK Standard or Premium program.  For more information about SOFIT and SOPLAY and a cost analysis for your project, contact SPARK at 1-800-SPARK PE or spark@sparkpe.org.
  • SPARK conducts on-site SOFIT and/or SOPLAY training for projects collaborating with a university and/or requiring high levels of scientific scrutiny.
c. Student Assessments:

Each SPARK Physical Education and After School curriculum set includes student assessments that may be used to guide learning, authentically assess student progress, and provide criteria for grading.  SPARK assessments are designed to be used along with regular observation of student participation and effort.

Each SPARK manual comes with a free 3-year membership to SPARKfamily.org.  Membership to SPARKfamily.org provides access to interactive assessment tools, including dynamic rubrics optimized for iPads.

SPARK will align their quality assessment tools with the equipment that you need (e.g., pedometers, heart rate monitors, scales) with professional consultation and ongoing support.

d. Students Assessments by Program

1. SPARK K-2 Physical Education:  Likert scale and open ended performance rubrics that are linked to National and State Physical Education Standards are included in every instructional unit.

Click on the link below to view a sample K-2 motor skills assessment tool.

2. SPARK 3-6 Physical Education:  Performance rubrics and student self-check assessment samples are provided in each unit to document and guide learning. SPARK 3-6 PE Unit Written Tests also give you an opportunity to see what your students need to learn or have learned during the unit. SPARK 3-6 PE Unit Written Tests are short and can be given quickly at the beginning, middle or end of a unit, during class or given to students to complete at home and return.

The SPARK 3-6 PE Unit Written Tests have 5 components:

  • Skill-It! allows students to demonstrate knowledge of motor skills, as well as movement concepts and principles.
  • In the Game measures students’ knowledge of concepts and strategies used in game situations.
  • Fitness Facts provides a venue for students to reflect on the link between fitness and skills learned in the unit.
  • Character Builders has students respond to given social situations that commonly occur in physical activity settings.
  • Make It Happen allows students to reflect on how they will use their new skills to maintain lifelong fitness.

The SPARK 3-6 PE manual also includes a special Personal Best Day section to help students and teachers track individual fitness progress over time and prepare them for national tests (i.e., SPARK recommended FitnessGram and/or Presidential Physical Fitness Tests).  SPARK Personal Best Day is designed to teach students how to monitor their aerobic capacity, abdominal and upper body strength and endurance, and set goals for individual improvement. SPARK 3-6 also features Pedometer Activities specifically designed to incorporate the use of pedometers. A Pedometer Tracking Log is available as an assessment tool on SPARKfamily.org.

Click on the links below to view sample 3-6 assessment tools.

3. SPARK Middle School Physical Education:  Three levels of assessment choices are offered in SPARK Middle School.  Each option is designed to offer increasing levels of standards-based feedback as a measure and guide for improvement and evaluation.

Level 1:  SPARK Unit Written Tests

Level 2:  Skill-Based Assessments such a performance rubrics, peer coaching, self-checklists

Level 3:  Student Portfolios to include any (or all) of the following:

SPARK Unit Written Tests

Skill-Based Assessments

  • Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Character Ed Journaling Pages
  • Create a Game Journaling Pages
  • Create a Routine and/or Event
  • Heart Rate Monitor Logs
  • Pedometer Logs
  • Fitness Assessment Logs

The SPARK Middle School program is supported by SPARKfit content available on SPARKfamily.org. The main goal of the SPARKfit program is to teach students how to be productively active in a variety of fitness and activity settings while managing their own fitness and wellness goals.

Students participating in the SPARKfit program will:

  • Assess personal fitness scores and set goals based on recorded data that will improve or maintain fitness and wellness levels
  • Demonstrate proper technique for a variety of fitness activities and exercises to ensure safe and enjoyable participation
  • Complete a personal wellness portfolio that demonstrates the understanding of basic nutrition, fitness and  goal-setting concepts
  • Demonstrate understanding of appropriate social behavior in relation to a fitness and activity setting.

SPARKfit assessment tools include:

  • Station Cards for President’s Challenge Fitness Testing
  • Fitness Test Results Tracking Sheet
  • Heart Rate and Pedometer Tracking Logs
  • MVPA Journal Pages
  • Student Portfolio

Click on the links below to view sample Middle School assessment tools.

4. SPARK High School Physical Education: SPARK recommends that assessment be utilized for much more than grading.  Various forms of assessment can/should guide instruction, document learning, monitor performance and improvement, denote achievement, enhance motivation, group students, promote physical education, garner resources for program development, and more.

SPARK High School Physical Education (HS PE) offers physical educators a variety of assessment options and presents them in a “Choose your level” approach.  Teachers select Level 1, 2, or 3 based on their program goals, the expectations of administrators and parents, personal experiences with assessment, etc.  Each Level is designed to offer cascading standards-based assessment tools, styles and strategies, and any and all may be integrated with assessments already in use.

SPARK Leveled Assessments:

Level 1

  • Personal Best Assessments

Level 2

  • Personal Best Assessments
  • (Add) SPARK Unit Written Tests

Level 3 — Choose 3 or more of the following:

  • Personal Best Assessments
  • SPARK Unit Written Tests
  • (Add) Character Matters Assessments
  • Fun-day-mentals Jigsaw Notes
  • Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Character Ed Journaling Pages
  • Create Your Own Game Task Cards
  • LTG Championship Points Tracking System
  • Heart Rate Monitor Logs
  • Pedometer Logs

The SPARK High School Program is presented in two major content segments – iFitness (i=Integrated) and Games-Based Units (skill development within the Sport Education model).

i-Fitness is comprised of 4 integrated fitness focuses, each listed with their particular assessments below:

  1. Group Fitness:  Unit Test (and answer key); Basic Training Peer Checklist; Create Your Own Routine Assessment Tools for Yoga, Cardio Kick, Freestyle Aerobics, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
  2. Strength Training:  Create Your Own ST Program; E-1 RM Log
  3. Wellness Walking:  Personal Best; Create Your Own WW Circuit, Unit Test (and key)
  4. Fitness Personal Best:
  5. FitnessGram Assessments:  Curl-Up; Push-Up; Sit and Reach; Pacer
  6. President’s Challenge:  As above, but distance run used for Aerobic Capacity.

A unique aspect of SPARK High School’s iFitness section is the SPARK Fitness Instructor (SFI) Program.  Select students may participate in a certification program in Group Fitness, Strength Training, or Wellness Walking.  The assessment tools provided to facilitate this process include:

  • Teacher SFI Tracking Sheets monitor students’ efforts to complete Certification criteria:
  • Master content
  • Create a routine
  • Lead a routine
  • Pass a quiz and test
  • Create Your Own Routine Content Card is a printable form for students to use as they design a group fitness routine and prepare to lead it for their peers.
  • Leader Certification Peer Checklist provides a tool for students’ peers to rate and provide feedback as students lead a group fitness routine.

Games Unit Assessments (sourced from 11 units) include:

  • Personal Best Assessments
  • Create Your Own (Dance, Cricket, Softball, Soccer, Volleyball)
  • Ultimate Hat Tournament Team Card (Flying Disc)
  • Game Scorecards (Badminton, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball)
  • Unit Tests (w-key)

The SPARK HS PE program is supported by SPARKfit content available on SPARKfamily.org.  The main goal of the SPARKfit program is to teach students how to be productively active in a variety of environments while managing their own wellness goals.

Students participating in the SPARKfit program will:

  • Assess personal fitness scores and set goals based on recorded data that will improve or maintain fitness and wellness levels
  • Demonstrate proper technique for a variety of fitness activities and exercises to ensure safe and enjoyable participation
  • Complete a personal wellness portfolio that demonstrates the understanding of basic nutrition, fitness and goal-setting concepts
  • Demonstrate understanding of appropriate social behavior in relation to a fitness and activity setting

SPARKfit assessment tools include:

  • Station Cards for FitnessGram and President’s Challenge Fitness Testing
  • Fitness Test Results Tracking Sheet
  • Wellness Walking Fitness Journal
  • Student Fitness Portfolio
  • Heart Rate and Pedometer Tracking Logs
  • MVPA Journal Pages

Character Matters:  In addition to the physical, cognitive and behavior assessments cited, SPARK has a Character Matters program woven throughout the HS PE program that fosters the application and assessment of social skills.  Assessment tools for this program are presented in Self-Check style and provided for all 10 social skills introduced.  They provide space for students to self-report behaviors, set goals positive engagement, and reflect on social interactions.

5. SPARK After School:  The SPARK After School program includes several tools for assessing participant activity time, fitness levels, and character development. In addition, tools are available for evaluating the quality of activity session leaders. The following assessments are included:

  • Fitness Personal Best (aligned with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program)
  • Active Lifestyle Personal Best (aligned with the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Program – PALA+)
  • Character Matters Personal Best
  • Activity Session Quality Checklists

6. Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC) Nutrition Education

Healthy Kids Challenge is SPARK’s Nutrition Education partner, and offers Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum (grades K-2, 3-5 or 6-8) aligned with HECAT Healthy Eating Behavior Outcomes and standards. The behavior theme focuses on breakfast, snacks, beverages, portion sizes, fruits and veggies, active play, energy balance, body image, weight management and food skills.

Each lesson includes a student worksheet and an assessment checklist that states outcomes.  Student worksheets assess progress and are key to learning.  They not only measure knowledge but are a tool for creating positive attitudes, goal setting for healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.  At the end of each unit there is a healthy habit checklist (recommended by the HECAT) that students can take home and share with their families.

The HKC lesson assessment checklist is grade level specific and provides evidence (based on HECAT standards) that students are acquiring the knowledge and skills to contribute to the healthy behavior outcomes. Students are actively involved in using the checklist to assess their outcomes.  A teacher then follows up to verify each student’s assessment.  As identified as a best practice by HECAT, the checklist actively involves the student to build self-efficacy.

Healthy Kids Challenge also provides numerous opportunities for discussion, goal setting, and logging of fruit and vegetable intake, as recommended by the CDC and other health experts.  Students will learn how to include “Fruits & Veggies Every Day the Tasty Way” for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Click on the links below to view sample lessons and assessments from HKC’s Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum.

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