FITNESSGRAM[R] Administration: Tips for Educators: The Presidential Youth Fitness Program-The New National Assessment of Youth Fitness-Promotes Healthy Lifestyles, Empowers Students and Parents, and Supports Quality Physical Education. AAHPERD Is Proud to Be Leading the Professional Development Component of This Program
Mosier, Brian, Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators
The first national youth fitness evaluation conducted in the United States was in 1958. Since that time, schools have continued to administer fitness evaluations using a variety of tests with no national-level assessment of youth fitness [Institute of Medicine (IOM), 2012]. However, in September 2012, the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP) was announced by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), The Cooper Institute, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The PYFP is a comprehensive program based on health-related fitness which will replace the former Physical Fitness Test for youth. The PYFP has adopted FITNESSGRAM[R] as the program's national student fitness assessment. The efforts provided by the supporting organizations to adopt a single national-level youth fitness assessment has great potential for large-scale evaluation that can assess health trends in youth.
Consequently, physical educators will likely be the ones who collect the youth fitness scores. It will be important for physical educators to collect and record reliable data if any significant meaning will be derived from the scores. Collecting reliable scores can be challenging when considering the issues many physical educators face. According to the 2012 Shape of the Nation report, only three states require the nationally-recommended 150+ minutes per week at the elementary level and the 225+ minutes per week at the secondary level. Further, many physical educators report lack of space and/or overcrowded classes as issues that continue to surface. The purpose of this article is to provide physical educators with practical tips for efficient administration of the FITNESSGRAM[R] tests while collecting accurate fitness scores.
Planning for FITNESSGRAM[R] Tests
Perhaps the most important factor in managing fitness evaluation is preparedness. There are many aspects to consider before testing day. The teacher and students should know the FITNESSGRAM[R] testing protocols and designated healthy fitness zones (HFZs) for each test that will be administered. Resources (e.g., videos, free online course, administration manual, HFZ charts, etc.) are available through the PYFP website (www.presidentialyouthfitnessprogram.org/) for teachers to use and distribute. Teachers should also invest in the fitness equipment, suitable audio system, and cadence tracks used for the FITNESSGRAM[R] tests.
Students should be prepared for each fitness component and testing protocol so they can complete the assessment safely (NASPE, 2009). Teachers should read and provide demonstrations of the protocols and form breaks for each test. Further, teachers can have students practice the tests during a warm-up, intersperse practice opportunities throughout lessons/units, and encourage the students to practice outside of school.
Lastly, teachers should plan to group students by ability before testing. This will ensure that students will complete the test at approximately the same time. When students with varying abilities are tested at the same time, students who finish first sit and wait while other students complete the test. This limits participation and can result in unwanted behavioral issues.
Administering FITNESSGRAM[R] Tests
Fitness testing stations are an effective way to collect fitness scores. This may look very different for each school. For example, if there is only one physical educator at the school, he/she may have certain stations where the students are engaged in previously learned skills/strategies of a particular game (e.g., soccer), while having another station dedicated for fitness testing. This model of testing may take many days to complete, but the teacher can be confident in recording reliable fitness scores for a few students at a time. …