Improving performance in PDHPE and CAFS

Improving performance in both PDHPE and CAFS (and any other subject area) involves adopting a variety of different strategies to support and grow student learning. These strategies can be based around learning activities, groupings, types of assessment tasks, exam techniques or even feedback provided to students.

Student feedback has been recognised as one of the greatest influences on student performance and improvement in research conducted on both the influences of student achievement (Hattie) and embedding formative assessment (Wiliam).


Heritage (2015) refers to feedback as helping students move forward in their learning in relation to the success criteria and gives students specific clues about how they can progress and thus close the gap. She believes that when it is effectively provided, “feedback is an immensely powerful engine for improving learning” (Heritage, 2015, p.79).

Wiliam and Leahy (2015) suggest that what is important here is that the feedback provided by the teacher is honest, sincere and genuine. They cite work carried out by Dweck (2006) that if feedback is negative in nature, then it can have significant detrimental effects on students with its underlying messages. Like in all positive psychology, the individual should be removed from the feedback and there should be a focus on the task itself.

According to the NSW Education Standards Authority (2107) feedback can be very beneficial as it works to recognise student strengths as well as areas they may need to develop, and allow teachers to plan the next steps they might take in the learning journey of their students.

Feedback Strategy

One strategy that can be used when providing feedback to students to improve performance in both PDHPE and CAFS is called ‘Tickled Pink and Green for Growth’. This strategy is not elaborate and does not involve too many intricate steps.

Basically, this simple, yet effective strategy involves providing feedback (individual, teacher or peer/s) on student work using pink and green highlighters or pens. The marker indicates that the student has done something well by highlighting or underlining that aspect in pink and aspects of their work that need improvement or growth is highlighted or underlined in green.

Adding comments to this feedback is beneficial, but the use of colour allows students to visually see where they are on track, and possibly in which areas they need to work. Two great features of formative assessment in the feedback loop for both the teacher and the student in moving their learning forward.

More details about this strategy can be found in Shirley Clarke’s (2014) resource Outstanding Formative Assessment: Culture and Practice and more of her publications.

Feedback is just one of the areas of focus for both the Improving Student Performance in PDHPE workshop on 15 March and Improving Student Performance in CAFS workshop on 29 March. Delegates get to experiment with various feedback strategies to help improve student performance.

Details about how you can be involved in both of these practical and highly beneficial professional learning opportunities can be found on our website via the links above.

We hope that you will be able to join us at one of these workshops soon!

Yours in health and wellbeing,

Kelly Bell
Nagle College, Blacktown South, NSW
President of ACHPER NSW


Clarke, S. (2014). Outstanding Formative Assessment: Culture and Practice. Pennsylvania, USA:
Trans-Atlantic Publications, Inc.

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. USA: Random House Publishing.

Heritage, M. (2015). Formative assessment: Making it happen in the classroom.
Australia: Hawker Brownlow Education.

New South Wales Education Standards Authority. (2017). Effective feedback. Retrieved
January 25, 2017.

William, D. and Leahy, S. (2015). Embedding Formative Assessment. Victoria, Australia:
Hawker Brownlow Education.

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