Addressing the Assessment Conundrum: Implementing Formative Approaches within Coach Education

Gavin Chesterfield, Brendan Cropley, David Adams, Carl Darlington

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Researchers and coaches alike have widely reported a range of issues associated with formal approaches to coach education (e.g., Walker et al., 2018). Specifically, it is suggested that formal education programmes do little to prepare coaches for the dynamic demands of coaching practice (Stodter & Cushion, 2014). Accordingly, the summative approaches used to assess coaches at the end of a formal education programme, as a way of accrediting an individual’s ability to operate at a specified level, have been criticised for being de-contextualised and characterised by techno-rational indoctrination (e.g., Cushion & Nelson, 2013). To address these issues, and fundamentally enhance the learning and development experiences of coaches undertaking a Level 4 (UEFA A Licence) coaching qualification with the Football Association of Wales Trust, we have purposively moved away from the concept of summative assessment and instead implemented a formative assessment-for-learning approach. This is underpinned by a process of active participation by the coach, affording them ownership and accountability over learning, assessment, and targeted mentoring activities that occur in the coach’s own practice environment. Implementing this approach has altered our education philosophy from the position of assessment needing to be structured to normalise performance, to one that attempts to: support and augment coaches’ individual approaches and philosophies; encourage coaches’ holistic development; celebrate coaches’ idiosyncrasies; and embrace coaching’s inherent complexity. In this presentation, we will reflect-on the lessons learned from implementing this novel approach and discuss the potential impact of formative assessment as a method to facilitate situated coach learning and development.


ConferenceInternational Council for Coaching Excellence Conference
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