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Universal Athlete Assessment

  • All associations offering U10, U12 and U14 programs (including U14AA) are required to conduct UAA testing
  • The how to video produced by Ringette Alberta in 2015 includes a passing and shooting test.  These tests are no longer being used.
  • The butterfly drill is to be used for U12 and U14 only.  Do not use this for U10
  • Associations…
    • DO read the FAQs below
    • DO conduct all your athlete testing between in the first few weeks of September, well before the submission deadline.
    • DO submit testing data for every U10, U12 and U14 player (excluding goaltenders) within your association to the Ringette Alberta office by the deadline
    • DO start to complete the spreadsheet as soon as data is collected.
    • DO NOT wait until all data in your association is collected before starting to fill in the spreadsheet.
    • DO NOT alter the spreadsheet in any way other than entering the data required
    • Enter raw data only.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Universal Athlete Assessment (UAA)?

UAA is a series of standard, timed tests of an individual’s technical skill (primarily skating) which, when used to create team average test results, will help improve competitive equity between teams across Alberta at the start the season.

Are UAA results reliable predictors of second half and end of season competitive equity?

UAA testing is ONLY intended to improve team match ups in the first half of the season. Other factors such as quality of coaching, quality of program, appropriate ice time, an appropriate balance of training to competition and things as simple as individual effort will all affect how well teams do over the course of the season. No comparison between start of season UAA results and end of season competitive equity should be made.

Why are we doing this?

In the past, teams were tiered based on a formula that assumed associations would have a predictable number of teams at various levels every season. This has not always been the most reliable way to assign teams to levels (tiers) and therefore match teams for competitive equity.

There were far too many lopsided games between teams that were supposed to be at the same level. There is no developmental benefit for having these meaningless, lopsided games and they were certainly not helping our sport keep players in the game.

In what Divisions is UAA being used?

U10, U12 and U14

Why is this not being used for U16s and U19s?

In the earlier years, (U10, U12, and U14) the largest factor differentiating players from one another is how far along each is in her skating development. While skating ability will always be the primary foundation for success in ringette, as the differences in skating ability become narrower in later years, other factors increase in significance making, we assume, the UAA results less reliable.

This is an assumption however as we haven’t tested this. Perhaps with some experience with the younger groups for a few years, we’ll do some research into how UAA may be used for the older groups.

If UAA testing is not being done for U16s and U19s, how are those teams going to be tiered then?

The existing tiering policy remains in effect. What was done in previous seasons will continue.

How do individual UAA results improve competitive equity between teams?
  • U10s complete 4 tests. U12s and U14s complete 5 tests.
    • Speed test forward with stabbing the ring
    • Speed test backward no ring
    • Stop and Start no ring
    • Agility Weave with ring
    • Butterfly (U12 and U14 only) no ring
  • The time it takes to compete each test is recorded. There are multiple trials for each drill / test.
  • The times for the tests are recorded for each player
  • The local association creates teams, see question “If an association has multiple teams at a particular division, e.g., U12, how does it know how many teams at each level to form?”
  • The results for the entire association are submitted to Ringette Alberta
  • For each division (U10, U12 and U14), Ringette Alberta examines the total average score for every team. Teams with higher overall average scores will be tiered higher than teams with lower overall average scores.
Where do I get more specific information on the tests?

Ringette Alberta has produced a video that includes seven tests. At the time the video was produced, there were passing and shooting tests included. These are no longer used as part of UAA testing so you can ignore them. The remaining tests are unchanged.
I’ve heard that different associations are running the tests differently. For example, in the agility weave some players are protecting the ring and others are leading with the ring. Which is correct?
The video produced by Ringette Alberta gives clear directions on:

  • how to set up each test
  • how to run each test properly
  • how to perform each test correctly

The video also provides key points for each test explains what happens when players fall, have false starts, etc.

What kind of timing equipment is going to be used and is it reliable?

These tests are all hand-timed. Hand timing has proven to be sufficiently reliable to address the competitive equity goal of UAA. Hand timing has a higher error rate than electronic timing systems, however, analysis of the data from the pilot project showed hand timing had no adverse effect on the reliability of the results.

Hand timing was chosen for its simplicity and cost compared to electronic timing systems.

How is the UAA information collected and who is it shared with?

The information is collected by your local ringette association throughout its test schedule. All the data is then submitted by your association to Ringette Alberta. No individual results are shared by Ringette Alberta. Only overall team average is shared with member associations.

Does my child have to complete the testing?

Yes and No. No one will force your child to participate in the testing however there are consequences (see question 27) for not completing the testing that you should be aware of.

What if we can’t make any of the testing dates?

Firstly, you should consider this testing to be as important as any other assessment/evaluation sessions your association may offer. Every effort should be made to have your child attend.

The tests are universal meaning they are the exact same drills for all applicable age groups in every association in Alberta. This means that, in rare circumstances and only with prior alternative arrangements made with your association, your child may attend a different test session within your association or even in a different association if absolutely necessary.

Failing to attend may affect which team your child is placed on (if your association uses UAA results in whole or in part for placing individual players on teams) and depending on how many players miss testing these absences will have significant consequences. Please take attendance seriously.

Does UAA testing affect what team my daughter is placed on?

It may. Check with your association.

What if my child falls during a drill? Will she be allowed to repeat it?

The athlete needs to be quick but in control. If an athlete falls during a test, she must get up quickly and continue. The time will be recorded as is; there is no “do-over”. The trial is to be completed and the time recorded.

It is important to note that every test includes multiple trials so that a slow time, based on a fall, will be mitigated. If an athlete falls multiple times, this is an indicator of her level of awareness of the appropriate trade-off between control and speed.

So, what are these consequences of my child not attending a test session?

Every U10, U12, and U14 team must have 80% of its players tested.

If the team falls below this target, the team will automatically be placed in the next highest level within their division. For example, if a team that does not meet the 80% threshold has a team average that would make that team a B team, the team will be required to start the season at A.

If an association does not submit its testing data by the required timeline ALL teams in that association will be prohibited from attending sanctioned tournaments (U10s) or playdowns and provincials (U12, U14, U16, U19, Open)

It seems harsh to have all teams prohibited from all tournaments or provincials because one team didn’t complete its testing. How is that fair and appropriate?

The members of Ringette Alberta (the local associations) are overwhelmingly in favour of this method to improve competitive equity. For this method to work, all associations must get on board and that means ensuring the testing is done. If enough associations don’t bother to meet the requirements and timelines, leagues and tournaments cannot proceed with any scheduling.

Please note: testing IS NOT a team responsibility. Ensuring the testing is complete and submitted as required is the responsibility of those at the highest level of management within each association. This means your local association’s Board is responsible for ensuring these requirements are met for the benefit of all of its players.

Is UAA testing used to place individual athletes onto teams?

Analysis of the data from the pilot project, showed there IS a strong correlation between how individual athletes tested and what teams they were placed on however, most associations preferred not to use the UAA testing as the only measure.

Additionally, when Ringette Canada’s Athlete Development Matrix is complete, it will provide us a more comprehensive guide on what benchmarks are appropriate to use to place athletes in training groups. Until that time, Ringette Alberta has no requirement that any standardized tests are used for placing individuals on teams.

Check with your association to determine if / how UAA results impact placing individuals on teams.

Is the UAA information used to make teams?

This depends on your association. You should check with them directly to understand how / if UAA is a factor in team formation.

  • Some may use it as their only measure to form teams.
  • Others will use it in addition to other data to form teams.
  • Still others may not use it at all and rely solely on other measures.
Can UAA results be used to see how my child stacks up against others?

Children grow and develop at different rates so how your child compares to others at this moment in time is a very poor indicator of how they will compare in the future so don’t worry about making comparisons now. If you must, do that when they’re 25.

DO NOT go looking for information on how other players have scored in order to compare your child’s results with the idea that this is an indication of your child’s potential.

And definitely, DO NOT use the UAA data to make arguments why one child should be on a particular team vs another. This is not the purpose of UAA.

Can our association begin the testing before the testing window?

No. One of the factors that affects the reliability of the testing across the province is that all players in Alberta are being tested within the same test window.

Can our association do the testing after the testing window?

Yes and No. Your association may do testing after the test window has closed for its own internal information, e.g., mid season and end of season testing, but that data will not be included in the team formation calculation.

Are our players permitted to do the drills before the actual test session?

Absolutely! This is highly recommended.

In fact, to be fair to the players, as per the instructions given in the pilot, players should NOT be tested the first time they step on the ice for the season, especially players who have not completed testing before. Testing too early is problematic.

The less ice time you give your players at the start of the season prior to testing to get their “ice legs” the less reliable the tests will be at measuring their true performance.

Our association does not have enough volunteers to do the testing. What do we do?

If your association has players to be tested, your association has enough volunteers. If parents want their kids to play, one solution is to require the U10 parents to conduct testing for U12, the U12 parents to do the testing for the U14s and the U14 parents to do the testing for the U10s.

We’re thinking of paying external evaluators to run the UAA testing for us. Does this make sense?
This isn’t necessary however incurring the expense is entirely your association’s choice. The testing was designed to be purely objective eliminating the need for external evaluators and is designed to be run by volunteers with minimal training (see the video). The only variable is hand timing.

The error rate for hand timing has been accounted for; it is not a factor in establishing competitive equity between teams. If your association does not trust individuals who are doing the timing to do it honestly, you can always add one or two impartial and secret timers / recorders to “keep people honest”. This is likely less of a financial burden than hiring an external company.

To ensure even more impartiality and to ensure you have a sufficient number of volunteers, you may wish to use the approach described above with the parents of one level doing the testing for another.

You may also wish to team up with a nearby association where you share volunteers so that each test event has volunteers from both associations – that will keep people honest.

We have brand new skaters who will not be able to do any of the testing at all. What does our association do with them?
There are two options:
Option 1 – If socially appropriate, place them in Active Start

Option 2 – Place them in U10 and keep in mind if they aren’t tested (if that is your preference) they will be factored into the minimum 80% requirement. Team scores will be calculated and, for those with less than 80% of their athletes tested will be placed in the next highest level within their division.

If an association has multiple teams at a particular division, e.g., U12, how does it know how many teams at each level to form?

One Team Association:

An association that only has a sufficient number of players in a division to create one team should just go ahead and form that team, complete the UAA testing and then proceed with practicing and other team activities. Ringette Alberta will let the association know what tier the team will be in to start the season.

Two Team Association:

For an association with enough players to form two teams in a division but no more, it should follow this sequence:

  • Calculate the average of ALL players in that division in their association. AND…
  • Calculate the average of the TOP HALF of the total players in that division in their association. Then…
  • Using the two averages, determine which method is preferable for your association. The choices are:
  1. One at a higher level and one at a lower level, or;
  2. Two balanced teams

Three or More teams:

For associations with enough players to make three or more teams at an age division follow these steps:

  1. Take the total number of players at an age division in your association
  2. Divide by how many players per team you want (recommend 12-15) to determine how many teams you should be forming at that age division. For example: if your association has 65 players in one division, divide by 13 players per team = 5 teams formed.
  3. To determine the tiering breakdown for your association, sort all players top to bottom based on UAA score.
  4. Find the average score of the number of players you used in #2. Example: With 13 players per team, determine the average score of the top 13 players, the average score of the top 26 players, top 39 players.
  5. Using the UAA ranges for each tier, determine which number of teams best fits in each division. For example: Top 13 have UAA score of 9.2, top 26 have UAA score of 8.7, top 36 have a UAA score of 7.7. Therefore, the breakdown should be 2 balanced higher teams and 3 balanced lower teams.
How does the UAA data impact the tiering of teams?

Once the data is evaluated by a 3rd party statistician and returned to Ringette Alberta/League Directors with recommended cut lines for each tier, it is then up to the League Directors (123 and Black Gold) to determine if the team will remain in the declared tier. The League Director will communicate with the Associations on the tier movements. Ringette Alberta recommends team placement in the tiers each season based on the UAA data but there are extenuating circumstances where a team could remain where they declare (ie goaltending).

There are strong trends in the cut lines for each tier since UAA started 3 years ago. With that said, Ringette Alberta strongly recommends Associations build teams with prior year UAA cut lines in mind.

Tiering Policy

The tiering policy reflects the use of UAA results. This policy, and all Ringette Alberta policies, may be found here.


How to Form Teams

Many of you have contacted Ringette Alberta looking for more guidance on whether or not to form balanced teams or teams at different levels within your association using UAA data.

To assist you, the data submission spreadsheet provides you a tentative or possible team level.
With data entered, the spreadsheet will provide an indication of a “Tentative Level”. You will see…

At U10 At U12 At U14
2 C C
2/3 B B
3 A A

CAUTION: The “Tentative Level” indicated on the spreadsheet is only to be used as one tool to help you with team formation.
Because individual performance changes from season to season, there is no guarantee the tentative level on the spreadsheet will be the same as the final level once all the data has been submitted and assessed. The tentative level is only a guide.