The Court is My Classroom: Basketball Assessment Using Learning Skills

There has been much talk in recent  boards sessions about the importance of learning skills; they need to be taught, emphasized, and evaluated diligently because they are telling indicators of future success.    Some educators have gone as far as declaring that curriculum content really should be treated as a vehicle for developing learning skills.  While I might not go that far (i.e. I  am a firm believer that secondary education, particularly in the academic stream, should introduce students to disciplinary skills that are subject specific because such skills  are interesting, challenging  and draw students towards disciplines that suit their skills), I do think that the learning skills lens is helpful, particularly to articulate the connection  between  classroom and co-curricular life.   We all know that student learning takes place in many forms-why not use this explicit language to connect experiences inside and outside of the class?   As a coach, I have told many classroom teachers that are musing about one of my athlete’s classroom failings that these same failings tend to manifest themselves in the gym and on the court.   With these considerations in mind, I set out this year to create a player evaluation that makes an explicit connection between Learning Skills and basketball.      Attached is the 2014 Learning Skill Basketball Evaluation Individual Rating Form that I gave my players at the end of the season.  You will notice that I added or combined a couple of categories (resilience) and left out others (self regulation).  This is not because I don’t think they are important- I think I could just have easily included others, but I was looking for a relatively manageable number of evaluation categories for my players to digest.  My criteria points could also use some work and I would be interested to see what other basketball coaches might come up with.     Instituting a common assessment like this in an athletic, music, drama or robotics department might seem like overkill to some, but students need feedback to improve, so why not use the common language of the classroom to support them?