The FITNESSGRAM physical fitness assessment is based not on athletic ability, but on good health. No matter what your children grow up to become, they will live happier, more productive lives if they are healthy--and physical fitness is vital to overall health. FITNESSGRAM provides accurate and reliable information about your child's level of physical fitness. The FITNESSGRAM test (and report) includes a number of different assessments because fitness has multiple components. Some kids may have good muscular fitness but need improvement on aerobic fitness. By having a complete report, you (and your child) will know more about their overall level of physical condition and how it can be improved.
At Watts, we typically practice certain segments of the Fitnessgram each day. Whether it be jogging for cardio or push-ups and sit-ups for strength and muscular endurance. Incorporating these activities helps to improve your child's fitness. We encourage each student to practice at home. Even if it is just going outside to play, every little bit helps. The test is normally conducted sometime around spring break and last for about 2-3 weeks.
Fitnessgram is considered to be more effective than other available physical fitness tests for three reasons. First, it compares scores to carefully researched and developed health standards rather than to national averages. Second, it emphasizes measures of health-related physical fitness instead of performance of physical or sport-related skills. Third, it goes beyond mere measurement to recommend individualized physical activity program options that will help students in the areas where they need improvement. (Fitnessgram, 1999)
Fitnessgram offers a variety of different events. The events listed below are the ones that SCUCISD schools will be testing students on.
Muscular Strength and Endurance:
Curl-up Test – This event measures abdominal strength and endurance. For the curl-up test, the students complete as many curl-ups as they can at a specified pace (maximum 75). The curl-up has been selected because it does not involve the assistance of the hip flexor muscles and minimizes compression in the spine, when compared to a full sit-up with the feet held. Strength and endurance of the abdominals are important in promoting good posture and correct pelvic alignment. (Fitnessgram, 1999)
Upper Body Strength
Right Angle Push Up Test – This event measures upper body strength and endurance. The student lies face down on a mat in a push-up position with hands under shoulders, fingers straight, and legs straight, parallel, and slightly apart, with the toes supporting the feet. The student straightens the arms, keeping the back and knees straight, then lowers the body until there is a 90-degree angle at the elbows, with the upper arms parallel to the floor. A prop is used to help students meet that 90-degree angle. One push-up must be completed every three seconds otherwise the student is finished with the test.
Cardiorespiratory (Cardiovascular) Endurance:
PACER Test - The Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run is a multistage fitness test adapted from the 10 meter (30 ft) shuttle run test. The test is progressive; it is easy at the beginning and gets harder each stage. The object is to run back and forth across a 15 meter (50 ft) distance at a specified pace for as long as possible. Set to music, this test is a valid, fun alternative to the customary one-mile distance run test for measuring aerobic capacity that the President’s Challenge tests. The PACER is recommended for all ages. The children have a good time while learning how to pace. (Fitnessgram, 1999)
NOTE: This can be a very difficult cardiovascular endurance event. Our staff will do it's best to make sure students are physically ready for this challenge before they try to complete it. Students with asthma can complete this event, but if they have medical inhalers, they must have them readily available before they complete the event. If a student is on record as having asthma and does not have their inhaler with them, the PE Staff reserves the right to deny the student the opportunity to the PACER test due to the health risks it may cause that student.
Shoulder Stretch Test- The shoulder stretch measures the flexibility of the muscles in the shoulders and upper back. To perform the test, students must be in a standing position. One hand/arm will go above the head and come down over the same shoulder- like scratching your back. The other hand/arm will go around the back and reach up touch the other hand. Students then switch and perform the test in opposite manner. In order to pass this test, students must be able to touch fingers on each hand going both ways. If students are unable to pass this test, they are given another chance to pass the flexibility portion of the Fitnessgram through a Sit and Reach Test. (See Below)
Lower back and hamstrings
Sit and Reach Test - The sit and reach measures predominantly the flexibility of the lower back and hamstring muscles. A specially constructed box with a measuring scale is used to perform this test. Students remove their shoes and sit on the floor with one knee fully extended and the other one bent and out to the side. The foot sole of the extended leg will be held flat against the box. With hands on top of each other, palms down, and leg held flat, students reach along the measuring line as far as possible. Two reaches are recorded with the best reach as their final score. This test is only performed by those students that are unable to pass the Shoulder Stretch Test.
Trunk Lift Test- The trunk lift measures the flexibility of the muscles in the lower back and spine. For this test, students lay flat on their stomachs with their hands tucked into their hips. Looking straight down, and feet in contact with the ground, students slowly raise their chin off from the floor as high as they can go and hold it. A ruler will be used to measure how high the student can pick his/her chin off from the floor. The student has two attempts with the higher of the two recorded.