Statewide Physical Fitness Testing

Perspectives from the Gym

To understand the issues and barriers to conducting physical fitness assessments, researchers conducted two studies.

In the first study, eight undergraduate college students and one graduate student were trained to observe and assess student fitness testing mandated by Texas Senate Bill 530. The second study solicited the experiences and opinions of teachers who did the testing.

After receiving training on the FITNESSGRAM® assessment, college students observed teachers administering the test and the retest that was part of the reliability and validity study (Morrow et al.). Schools were recruited—more elementary and middle schools than high schools—to participate in the study. Among the commonly observed errors: inaccurate running distances, incorrect body positioning, lack of equipment, insufficient testing space, inaccurate student-reported scores and improper student clothing.

To augment the low high school participation in the first study, researchers held a focus group with nine teacher participants who were asked about their experience and difficulties encountered. All were somewhat or very confident that they collected accurate data. Among their frustrations, they reported problems scheduling tests, poor fitness facilities and equipment, and difficulty setting up the tests. Teachers also noted that available funds often were allocated to strengthening athletics rather than for general student physical fitness.