Seminar: ‘Rich tasks’ as a framework for innovative assessment in teacher education



Seminar title: ‘Rich tasks’ as a framework for innovative assessment in teacher education


­­­­­­­­­­­­­Date: 9 May 2016 (9.30am to 4pm – refreshments and lunch included)

Venue: University of Limerick

Presenters: Dr. Deborah Tannehill & Prof. Ann MacPhail, University of Limerick

Learning objectives:

  • Examine what is considered as meaningful, relevant and worthwhile assessment with respect to individual teacher education programmes.
  • Discuss instructional alignment and the relationship between assessment, learning goals and learning experiences.
  • Demonstrate an ability to use research on teaching and learning to apply and design appropriate assessment strategies.
  • Consider how best to involve pre-service teachers in planning what they need to learn, what they want to be able to do and how they plan to get there and how they would demonstrate their achievement throughout the process and at the end.

The proposed seminar will focus specifically on exploring how assessment is inextricably linked to curriculum and instruction, introducing the notion of the ‘rich task’ derived from the work of Education Queensland (Macdonald, Hunter, & Tinning, 2007). The rich task presents substantive, real challenges for the students to solve, based on a range of learning outcomes. The task is deemed to be ‘rich’ when it is authentic for the student and relevant to the learning outcomes in question, presenting students with an assessment that reflects real world challenges. This in turn provides assessment for disciplinary rigour, validity and reliability.

Registration link:

PEPAYS Ireland Guest Lecture Series - Prof Cedric Roure

PEPAYS Ireland is delighted to announce the next presenter, Professor Cedric Roure, in the Guest Lecture Series which will take place on


Wednesday 11th May at UL in room P1007 at 1600hrs.


The title of the presentation is:

How PE teachers can motivate students? Situational interest and learning task design

Prof Cedric Roure,

Faculty of Motor Sciences, Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium)



This presentation will address the question of students’ motivation in Physical education in two parts. The first part will be centred on the theoretical model of situational interest. Taking into account the results obtained in the first part, the second part will examine the effect of learning task design on students’ situational interest.

First part

Based on the framework of interest, studies have shown that situational interest possesses strong motivation potential for students in physical education. Understanding how teachers can use situational interest in classroom context is critical to motivate students. However, such investigations have been exclusively conducted in United States and little is known about situational interest in other contexts. Grounded specifically on the French physical education curriculum, the purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between the five situational interest sources (instant enjoyment, exploration intention, attention demand, challenge and novelty) and total interest to demonstrate which sources could be related to total interest and to determine possible mediators’ effects among sources. Students (N = 601, M = 14.37, 11-18 years, SD = 1.96, 51.4% boys) from 25 classes in six secondary schools participated in the study. They responded to the French situational interest scale after practicing learning tasks in regular physical education lessons. On the basis of multiple-regressions and mediations analyses, a structural equation model was formed to map out the meaningfulness of the relationships among situational interest sources and total interest. The results showed that instant enjoyment and exploration intention have direct and positive effects on total interest. In addition, these sources mediated the effects from attention demand and challenge toward total interest. These results indicated that an effective way to motivate students in physical education is to build motivational components into the course content, especially those which enhance situational interest.

Second part:

Studies have shown that teachers can enhance students’ situational interest by manipulating the components of learning tasks. However, few investigations have been conducted on the relationship between learning task design and situational interest. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of learning task design on students’ situational interest in physical education. Defined as the appealing effect of the characteristics of an activity on individuals, situational interest has been conceptualized as a multidimensional construct including five sources: instant enjoyment, exploration intention, attention demand, novelty and challenge. These sources lead students to perceive an interest in a learning task and to engage in it. Secondary school students (N = 167, M = 13.71, SD = 2.24, 59% boys, 11-18 years) evaluated the situational interest of two learning tasks in badminton, designed to promote either instant enjoyment and exploration intention, or novelty and challenge. The results showed that students identified these sources when practising the two tasks, and according to the total interest scores perceived significant differences. In addition, the cluster analysis revealed different students’ profiles based on their situational interest scores in both tasks. These results indicated that situational interest could be a function of learning task design in physical education depending on how the learning tasks are designed. Finally, findings from students’ situational interest profiles can be interpreted in terms of the relationship between individual and situational interest.

Associate Professor Roure is based at the faculty of motor sciences, Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium).

His two main lines of research are:

1) the influence of contextual and situational factors on students' interest in Physical Education.

2) the effect of new technologies (such as exergames) on students' motivation and physical activity.

2016 Internships at UL





Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences
University of Limerick
June 2016 to May 2017

The PESS Internship is an opportunity for individuals to spend up to eight weeks in PESS gaining experience in one of four research areas, (1) Food for Health, (2) Physical Activity and Health, (3) Sport and Human Performance and (4) Sport Pedagogy. The internship allows individuals an opportunity to work with PESS faculty, explore further their interest and disposition to postgraduate study and / or to consider working in a university setting.

The internship will allow individuals to gain experience in working on a project that entails collecting and processing preliminary data. It may be that a PESS faculty member already has data that requires further analysis and, in such circumstances, the internship would contribute to an already
established project.

A maximum of three internships to be completed between June 2016 and May 2017 are to be offered. Internships will receive €200 a week over a maximum of eight weeks. PESS will not fund associated running costs of the project. The eight week internship can take place at any time
throughout the June 2016 to May 2017 period.

Interested candidates are asked to approach a member of the PESS faculty to initiate a discussion on their interests in undertaking an internship in one of the four research areas listed above. The feasibility of the individual working with the faculty member to complete the internship application as well as the faculty member’s availability to oversee the internship should also be established. A faculty member who wishes to support an internship is required to work with the candidate to submit an application of no more than 900 words. The application should clearly state (1) a description of the study and how it resides and contributes to at least one of the four research areas listed above; the nature of the (preliminary) data to be collected; a weekly timeline detailing the work to be undertaken during the eight week internship, noting the dates for the internship; and the proposed outcomes at the end of the eight weeks (allocated 60% of the application assessment weighting) and (2) the interest, skills and capabilities of the candidate to undertaking such work and the benefit to the applicant and the PESS faculty member in terms of output and future funding (allocated 40% of the application assessment weighting).

Applications should be submitted electronically to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and be received no later than 5pm on Monday 25 April, 2015. This deadline will be strictly adhered to. Applications will be evaluated on the criteria listed in the previous paragraph and will be considered by a committee chaired by the PESS Head of Department and two PESS faculty members not involved in processing an internship submission for consideration. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their submission by Thursday 28th April 2015.

2016 PhD Scholarships at UL

Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme
(Scholarship to begin September 2016)

The purpose of the PESS Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme is to support full time PhD students. There will be a maximum of one bursary award at this call

Terms of the Award

  • Scholarships are held for up to four years, subject to available funding and the student's continued satisfactory academic progress.
  • The scholarship recipient is expected to work on a full time basis on their PhD and will enrol on the Education and Health Sciences structured PhD programme or the Education and Professional Studies structured PhD programme.
  • Scholarship recipients are expected to contribute a specific amount of hours per academic year to PESS-related tasks (e.g., teaching, demonstrating, organisation of events) for the duration of their scholarship. The expectation is 36 hours in year 1, 72 hours in year 2 and 144 hours in years 3 and 4 of study.
  • The successful applicant must be a new research student (i.e., are not currently registered as a postgraduate student in UL), and must be willing to take up the scholarship by the beginning of the first academic semester, September 2016.
  • Panel decisions will be final, and not open to review. Student applicants will be given two weeks to decide whether to take up the scholarship when offered.
  • Scholarships not taken up will be re-allocated on the basis of points to the next highest applicant. The panel will have the right to agree that low quality applications can be judged non fundable, and a scholarship will not be offered in this instance.
  • Scholarships are offered subject to continued funding of the departmental research account. Should such funding not be maintained, scholarships may be withdrawn, subject to three months notice.
  • Receipt of externally funded scholarships or stipends will not affect the value of this scholarship provided that this does not exceed €5,000. Scholarship recipients must inform the PESS Research Committee of receipt of such additional funding in writing.

Nature of Application:
Applicants are requested to submit an application of no more than 2000 words outlining their research proposal including a year by year progression outline and project deliverables. This application document is a space where applicants have the opportunity, to respond to each of the three evaluation criteria for this scholarship: 1) alignment with PESS research theme(s); 2) quality of scholar; 3) quality of supervisory team.

Evaluation Criteria:

Alignment with PESS research theme(s)

Clarity and coherence of the proposed topic
Quality and appropriateness of methodological approach
Feasibility of the proposed research plan in proposed time frame (where appropriate) and associated financial costs
Research plan including key milestones
Clarity of plans to acquire new knowledge and skills to achieve research aims (where appropriate)
Clarity of dissemination plans
Previous applications to the Irish Research Council or other funding bodies will be reviewed positively

Quality of Scholar

Academic record to date
Match between applicant project and profile
Two written references

Quality of Supervisory Team

Research output of supervisory team (ISI publications, PhD completions, etc.)
Joint supervision favoured (experienced supervisors are encouraged to work with new / early-career supervisors)
The role of both supervisors will be assessed in the application

Evaluation Process:

All applications will be evaluated according to the shared criteria. The review panel will be constituted as follows:

  • Two PESSResearch Committee members or PESS Research Committee chair nominations*
  • Two external reviewers**

The chair of the PESS Research Committee will decide on the membership of this panel in consultation with the PESS Research Committee.

*Supervisors or potential co-supervisors of applicants are not eligible to be considered as reviewers in the year of application.
**Ideally ADRs (or their nominees) from other faculty, or appropriate active researchers from other EHS departments who are not linked to any of the applications in that year.

Applicants and supervisors are asked to refrain from contacting panel members with regards to their applications. All related communication must be via the PESS Research Committee chair or their appointee.

Application Deadline:
Applications should be submitted electronically to the Chair of the PESS Research Committee (Drew Harrison – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and received no later than 12pm on Friday 29th April, 2016. This deadline will be strictly adhered to.
Funding Plan
Four-year PhD inclusive of fees (approx. €5,000 per annum) and bursary valued at (€11,000 per annum).

AS-AC Seminar: Publicly available datasets in Ireland


AS-AC Seminar: Publicly available datasets in Ireland

Wednesday 4th May 2016, Dublin City University

Room X101 (1st floor of the X building on the Glasnevin Campus)

PEPAYS Ireland is delighted to announce that registration is now open for a ½ day seminar on publicly available datasets on Wed 4thMay in DCU. The seminar will provide an overview of the many large datasets that are freely available to researchers. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be highlighted.


This is a FREE EVENT but registration via the following link is essential:


Speakers include:

Jenny O'Neill (UCD), Data Manager, Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) 

Jane Gray (NUIM), Director of the  Irish Qualitative Data Archive (IQDA)

Amanda Quail, Growing Up in Ireland - The National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland (NLSCI)


A session on “tips and tricks” from those working with the datasets on topics relating to physical education, physical activity and sport will also be included in the seminar.


Elaine Murtagh (MIC) and Sarahjane Belton (DCU)

Organisers on behalf of the Active Schools – Active Communities Research Cluster, PEPAYS Ireland

Our Mission

To use high-quality, multi-disciplinary and multi-entity research to shape, influence and inform policy and practice relating to advancing the health and well-being of populations in the areas of physical education, sport, physical activity and health.

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