Assessing a child

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When it comes to assessments it is important to remember that no child is the same. There are a few key things to remember when assessing a child.

Some of these include:

  • Be very clear about what you want to see, use demonstrations as well as verbal cues to help each child understand in their own way
  • Allow progressions; some students may need to perform a task a few times before they reach their full potential. It is possible a student may have had a break from swimming for some time which has lead them to forget certain skills, with enough patience during the assessment these skills often come back
  • Understand each student’s circumstances; this includes physical conditions that may restrict a student from completing certain movements e.g. hip dysplasia. Different behavioural factors also need to be considered when completing an assessment; too much noise or distractions may result in a student not performing to their best. It is always best to have a discussion with the parent prior to the assessment to ensure you have all the information.

It is also important to be able to communicate the results of the assessment to the parent as well as the child. Try to remember that most parents don’t have a swimming-instructor background so will be relying on your assessment and advice.

When communicating with parents always be prepared to justify what you are saying. Have the knowledge to back up your statements and understand that most parents already have a preconceived idea of where their child should be. In circumstances when you must put a child in a lower stage than first thought, explain how this will benefit the child in the long run and will decrease the chance of the child getting ‘stuck’ in future stages.

If a parent is still unhappy with the result of the assessment once you have explained everything, you may find it beneficial to get another opinion. Ask your superior to have a look at the child’s skills or offer the parent another assessment in the following weeks once the child has had some time to settle into lessons.


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