This paper takes up the challenge posed by Evans (2004) for researchers in physical education to refocus their attention upon 'ability' and critically review both what and whose abilities are acknowledged, celebrated and advanced in and through the policies and practices of physical education. The paper uses comparative policy analysis in pursuing these issues in relation to the introduction of level frameworks for student attainment. In several countries level frameworks have now been established as the reference point for teacher judgments about learning in Health and Physical Education. Discussion in this paper addresses the interplay of cultural, political and historical issues in determining the particular abilities that are respectively privileged and marginalized in official policy texts, and the implications of the differences observed for which students health and physical education in schools will effectively connect with or in contrast, fail to recognize. The need for teachers and teacher educators to critically engage with level frameworks and associated assessment and reporting systems, is highlighted.