Using the physical literacy continuum

Explore answers to frequently asked questions to learn how to use the NSW Physical literacy continuum K-10.

Read the continuum

Clusters present a ‘collective snapshot' of expected achievement at different stages of physical literacy development. The physical literacy continuum can be read:

  • horizontally to track how the progression of knowledge, attitudes and skills develop from Kindergarten to Year 10
  • vertically for a holistic view of how the critical aspects interrelate to describe expected learning at a particular point in time.

Plot students on the continuum

Get a sense of the ‘whole student' first by looking down the clusters through all the critical aspects. For example, if your focus group of students is Year 5, Term 1, look at cluster 4. This should describe where most of your students are now.

Focus on one critical aspect at a time, for example, tactical movement. Look at all the markers for this cluster, then read through the cluster markers before and after this cluster. This will give you a sense of the development of skills, understanding and attitudes. For some students, you may need to look further back or further forward across clusters.

Identify where the majority of students are. If you are confident that students have achieved the majority of markers then they are working toward the next cluster, which is where you will focus your teaching. For example, the majority of students achieve all the markers but one in cluster 3, the main focus for your teaching will be cluster 4 with possibly some more teaching/assessment on this one marker – depending on what it is.


It is not necessary to work from the top to the bottom of a cluster. Some markers are broad and relate to the application of knowledge and understanding; some are specific skills that can be mastered (and assessed) discretely.


Markers do not need to be assessed separately. The goal is for students to apply their skills and understanding through the markers and across the aspects. Ultimately, for students to succeed, they need to be able to apply their understandings in new contexts and across contexts. A focus on assessing individual markers may be necessary at particular points in time.

Different physical activity contexts

Use the cluster examples document (PDF 312 KB) with the physical literacy continuum to provide more detail of what each marker could look like across the various physical activity contexts.

Move to next level or cluster?

Achievement of the majority of markers is needed before students can move to the next cluster. Students should not be ‘held back' if they have not achieved mastery of all markers. Students may be in different clusters for different aspects and often progress in one aspect will improve other areas of physical literacy.

Working at a cluster below

All students need to access the curriculum at an age appropriate level. As a tool, the continuum identifies where students are now and what to do next. The physical literacy continuum identifies physical activity aspects, concepts and contexts which might be differentiated for them. Examples include ability grouping, explicit teaching of concepts, providing more detailed scaffolds of tasks or provide different choices for students to demonstrate their learning.

Report using syllabus or continuum?

The continuum provides further detail across the aspects of physical literacy, in PDHPE and across other physical activity programs. Schools can use the continuum to communicate with parents of students with individual learning plans.

Do not use the physical literacy continuum in isolation. It supports learning, teaching and assessment. It does not replace syllabuses which state what students at each stage are expected to learn.

It can be used to support teachers to make holistic judgements about student physical literacy development based on a range of assessment information up to that ‘point in time'. The continuum is a powerful tool for helping teachers establish where students are and where to next. They link to both assessment for and assessment of learning.

Use the continuum to provide information on student progression to parents and families.

Consistency of teacher judgement

Consistency in assessment occurs when teachers are able to make judgements about student learning that are not dependent on the individual teacher, student, location or time and are based on a shared understanding of syllabus standards of learning.

Consistency in making assessment judgements needs to develop across:

  • assessment tasks
  • teachers of different classes
  • time
  • schools.

Establish procedures and structures to provide sufficient time on a regular basis for teacher discussion about teaching, learning and assessment. Discuss between schools as well as within schools.

Reflect and observe students to understand how the aspects of physical literacy develop and identify what the marker looks like across physical activity contexts for example games and categories of games, sports, dance, gymnastics, recreational activities, fitness activities.

Build further knowledge about physical literacy and quality physical activity by using and revisiting the continuum.

Promoting staff and student wellbeing

Use the physical literacy continuum to shape and influence the wellbeing of staff and students.

  • Actively connect students to their learning through meaningful, engaging and rewarding personalised learning experiences.
  • Provide opportunities to succeed and celebrate success in a way that is meaningful.
  • Allow learning to take place in an environment which fosters and develops choice, enjoyment, accomplishment, growth, health and safety.
  • Adopt a whole-school approach to physical health and wellbeing.
  • Build social and emotional skills to develop and maintain positive relationships and engage in pro-social behaviour.
  • Enable success by personalising student learning and supporting students to achieve.
  • Offer opportunities for mentoring, student and staff leadership, citizenship and community engagement.
  • Allow students to be self-directed, take initiative and grasp opportunities to work toward and achieve meaningful goals.
  • Contribute to the growth of individual and collective wellbeing.

Linking to the school excellence framework

Use the physical literacy continuum to promote effective practice in the areas of learning, teaching and leading. Align these opportunities with the School Excellence Framework as part of school planning.

Learning – use the physical literacy continuum to:

  • support school-wide collective responsibility for student learning and success
  • promote opportunities for students to thrive and succeed in a wide range of experiences support differentiated curriculum delivery to meet student needs
  • support effective assessment for learning to identify achievement
  • enable a personalised approach for students
  • establish a holistic view of student achievement.

Teaching – use the physical literacy continuum to:

  • support review and revision of teaching and learning programs using student data
  • encourage collaborative professional learning, planning and sharing
  • actively engage teachers in their own professional learning to improve practice
  • build teacher capacity to use and analyse student assessment and data
  • promote consistent teacher judgement
  • implement curriculum and demonstrate knowledge of effective practice in PDHPE and School Sport to meet Professional Standards.

Leading – use the physical literacy continuum to:

  • bring networks together with a common language for transition
  • provide opportunities to build leadership and partnerships in physical activity.

Related content


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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