The acquisition of goal-directed movement: developing and reporting a measure of learning readiness for use in classroom settings with students with motor performance needs
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypePhD thesis
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© 2018 Dr. Lindsey Gale
This thesis investigated how student movement difficulties might be related to motor learning opportunities in the classroom, and how classroom-related movement might be described as a learning progression and stage of learning assessed. At the time of this investigation, the movement aspects of classroom learning were not constituted as a curriculum domain, nor were classroom teachers equipped by their training to support motor learning advance for students experiencing difficulties. Consequently, a common practice was to recruit occupational therapy support via teacher-administered assessments developed by occupational therapists for this use. However, these were not underpinned by learning progressions enabling results to indicate stage of learning readiness – an important educational requirement. This study employed educational measurement methodology to design an assessment framework describing the progressive learning of goal-directed movement, including its dimensionality and learning levels, to support teachers’ instructional planning in this area. Drawing upon Vygotskian social constructivism, item response theory, and insights spanning over 60 years of motor behaviour research, movement was firstly defined accessibly as a goal-directed problem-solving strategy using the resources of the body one has. It was then operationalised as a judgement-based questionnaire, with items expressing five classroom-relevant aspects of postural control, transportation of self and objects, manipulation, communicative/ interactive skills, and performance sustainment. Empirical calibration of the item pool via assessment of 650 students with motor performance needs confirmed an acquisitional sequence with excellent measurement properties, following which standard setting by a Delphi panel of occupational therapy experts established 22 progressive learning levels for the dimensionalised scale and three possible report formats for different end-users. The result was an educational measure in-built with occupational therapy expertise that represented a new approach to occupational therapy assessment construction and provided a new way for allied health professionals and teachers to collaborate in support of classroom motor learning. Future research should undertake further collaboration with occupational therapists, to determine instructional strategies appropriate to each level of the scale.
Keywordsphysical disability; motor learning; formative assessment; learning progressions; classroom; curriculum
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