In examination awards in physical education in Scottish schools results indicate regular imbalances between students'' practical performance and their analytical abilities (as measured by written examination answers). Why? To discover more, a first phase of research collected evidence from 40 semi-structured teacher and group student interviews. Results highlighted marked differences in the pedagogical practices teachers adopted when attempting to teach through practical experiential learning approaches. Later analysis of students'' assessment evidence revealed that achieving sustained improvements was proving difficult to achieve. Teachers commonly attributed students'' under-performance to the written assessment instruments. A comparison of oral and written assessment procedures showed that higher levels of attainment were not realized by oral assessments. However, there were indications that oral assessment could enhance the quality of students'' learning and assessment experience, and inform teachers'' curriculum decision-making. The research concludes by discussing how improvements in practical experiential learning environments in examination awards might most feasibly occur.