Reliability and Validity of the FITNESSGRAM

Quality of Teacher-Collected Health-Related Fitness Surveillance Data

Texas Senate Bill 530, passed in 2007, requires public schools to conduct annual fitness evaluations of students in grades 3 through 12.

The Texas Education Agency selected the FITNESSGRAM® battery, a test documented to be reliable and valid as its testing instrument. Teachers throughout the state received training on the instrument and administered it in their schools.

To investigate the reliability and validity of the data collected by teachers, researchers collected replicate data on a representative sample of schools using expertly trained mobile data collections teams. Schools were selected from grades 3, 5, 7 and 9 based on location (urban, suburban or rural), ethnicity composition, socioeconomic status, and previous year test scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. The data were collected within a week after teachers conducted the first test. Some teachers who received additional training also retested students, thus allowing comparison of teachers and trained teachers with expert testers.

Teachers’ measures of aerobic capacity and body composition were more in line with those of the expert testers than those for musculoskeletal fitness. Agreement between expert testers and teachers increased with added training. The authors conclude: “Teacher administered, criterion-referenced health-related physical fitness tests appear to be reliable and valid, and decision-makers can be confident of decisions based on such data.”