Assessing student swimming and aquatic skills

Publication Details

This study was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ). It was commissioned in response to several issues, including recent student drownings on school trips, media coverage about the cost of school pools, and changes to the physical education curriculum. The study looked at:

  • Year 6 teachers' perceptions about the level of swimming and water safety skills students have attained by Year 6
  • the range of Year 6 teachers' knowledge in relation to swimming instruction
  • school arrangements to deliver the swimming component of the curriculum.

Author(s): AC Nielsen. Report for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: November 2001

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Summary

The Ministry of Education and Water Safety New Zealand jointly sponsored this study of Student Swimming and Water Safety Skills, in response to several external issues, including recent student drownings on school trips, media coverage about pool costs for schools, changes to the physical education curriculum, and impending changes to water quality standards.

Research Purpose

The overall aim of the project is to undertake research into swimming instruction to provide input into planning and instruction approaches for the 2001/2002 swimming season, and to meet longer term information needs about the curriculum, professional development and school property issues.

The study addressed the following issues:

  • What level of swimming and water safety skills do students have at Year 6?
  • What is the range of teachers' knowledge in relation to swimming instruction under the New Zealand curriculum?
  • What arrangements do schools have in place, to deliver the swimming component of the curriculum? (This includes both property based arrangements and delivery arrangements).

Method

An exploratory phase of research was conducted in August 2001 among schools and key informants in the Wellington region.

A second stage involved distribution of self completion questionnaires to physical education teachers and pool managers at two industry conferences in July 2001, to gain their perspective on relevant issues.

These stages were followed by a quantitative self-completion study among a randomly selected sample of year 1 to 6 schools, with the survey audiences being school principals and year 6 teachers. This part was conducted in late August and September 2001.

This Report

This report summarises the key findings from the earlier phases where appropriate. Findings from the exploratory interviews and conference questionnaires are appended.

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