Leeds Beckett University
CoachEducationAndAssessmentInFootballACriticalRealistInformedEvaluationAM-MCCARTHY_Redacted.pdf (3.65 MB)

Coach Education and Assessment in Football: A Critical Realist Informed Evaluation

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posted on 2022-06-16, 11:52 authored by Liam McCarthy

Over the course of the last two decades, coach education programmes have become a globally recognised mechanism for improving the quality of coaching practice (International Council for Coaching Excellence, 2013). As a result, they have attracted attention from sport coaching researchers who have examined different aspects of coach education programmes, in different ways (Gilbert & Trudel, 2004; Rangeon et al., 2012). However, it is argued that there has been a failure to adequately consider two important issues. First, assessment as a feature of coach education programmes has been overlooked in the peer-reviewed literature (Hay et al., 2012; McCarthy et al., 2021). Second, despite the well-resourced (relative to sport coaching more generally) nature of coach education programmes (and the systems within which they function) they are often subject to little meaningful evaluation. 

Responding to both issues, the present study represents a critical realist informed evaluation of project-based assessment as a feature of the FA Level 3 (UEFA B) in coaching football programme. Drawing on realist evaluation (Pawson & Tilley, 1997), the ERE model (North, 2017), and adaptive theory (Layder, 1998) to form a hybrid research methodology, the study was undertaken in two phases. First, theories were generated to establish the intentions of project-based assessment; this involved a review of appropriate grey literature, a series of realist interviews with individuals who had influence on and/or designed the programme, and a review of the academic literature. Second, the resultant theories were explored in the field over nine months, across three programme delivery sites, working with 16 stakeholders (full-time coaching leads, coach educators, and coaches). Three findings are discussed, which each partially explain how and why projectbased assessment as a feature of the FA Level 3 (UEFA B) in coaching football 3 programme worked for specific coaches in certain circumstances. These include: the importance of establishing what is required and what ‘good’ looks like, the role of metacognitive skills, and access to networks of support. These are presented as an integrative framework for assessment in coach education which offers some important principles to be considered when designing and implementing assessment in coach education. 



Julian North; Robert Muir

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Leeds Beckett University

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