Frequently Asked Questions about FITNESSGRAM
1. Why is fitness testing important to me?
The FITNESSGRAM physical fitness assessment is not based on athletic ability, but on good health. No matter what your career path, you will live a happier, more productive life if you are healthy-and physical fitness is vital to overall health. FITNESSGRAM provides accurate and reliable information about your physical condition and how it can be improved.
2. Can I “fail” the FITNESSGRAM test?
No, FITNESSGRAM is a tool to help you determine your fitness needs and guides you in planning a personalized physical activity program. The test will not affect your grades in any way.
3. Will my results be posted or made public?
4. Will schools use FITNESSGRAM to grade my child?
The FITNESSGRAM assessment and report are intended to provide teachers (and parents) with accurate information about children’s physical fitness. A Position Statement developed by the FITNESSGRAM Advisory Board says that schools should not use FITNESSGRAM either to grade your children or to evaluate teachers. The inherent goal of the FITNESSGRAM program is to promote regular, enjoyable, physical activity for students so that they can reach and maintain a level of physical fitness that will contribute to good health and well-being. FITNESSGRAM helps teachers to determine student needs and guide students in planning personalized physical activity programs.
5. Will my results be compared to other students?
No, FITNESSGRAM uses Healthy Fitness Zones (HFZ) to determine your overall physical fitness. HFZ's are not based on class averages or any other peer comparisons. The standards are set specifically for boys and girls of different ages using the best available research. If your score falls within the HFZ, it means you have achieved the recommended level of fitness for your age. If your score falls below the HFZ, you should engage in activities that will help you improve.
6. What are the FITNESSGRAM test items?
There are six test items:
a.PACER (20 meter shuttle runs)
b.Push-ups (Measures upper body muscular strength/endurance)
c. Curl-ups (measures abdominal muscular strength/endurance)
d. Trunk Lift (measures trunk extensor strength and flexibility)
e. Back Saver Sit and Reach (measures flexibility)
f. Height and Weight
7. Will my child’s FITNESSGRAM scores be posted or made public?
FITNESSGRAM results are meant to be individualized and personal. Schools should not post FITNESSGRAM results. They are for use by teacher, the child, and the child’s parents/guardians. Where FITNESSGRAM data is collected by the state, the data will have student names removed so that individual scores may not be identified with a particular student. That data will be used to study trends and not to judge individual students.
8. When is the FITNESSGRAM assessment given?
The designated testing window for pre-testing administration for students in grades 3rd - 8th is September 1st through December 1st. Post-testing begins in March 1st through May 1st.
9. How was FITNESSGRAM developed?
FITNESSGRAM was created in 1982 by The Coopers Institute to provide an easy way for physical education teachers to report to parents on children’s fitness levels. Then and now, students are assessed in these areas of health-related fitness: cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Scores are evaluated against objective criterion based standards, called Healthy Fitness Zones, that indicate the level of fitness necessary for health. FITNESSGRAM/ACTIVITYGRAM software generates the student and parent reports, which contain objective, personalized feedback and positive reinforcement. These reports serve as a communication link between teachers and parents.
The Healthy Fitness Zone standards were established by the FITNESSGRAM Advisory Board, which includes some of the foremost scientists and practitioners in fitness and physical activity.
10. Are make-ups allowed for students who are absent on a particular day of testing?
Yes. Schools should provide make-up opportunities for students who are absent on testing days; however, all make-ups need to take place within the pre or post testing administration window.
11. Are students who repeat a grade required to re-take the FITNESSGRAM assessment?
Yes, Students repeating any grade 3rd-8th are required to re-take the assessment.
12. What are the “Healthy Fitness Zones” and how are they determined?
FITNESSGRAM’s Healthy Fitness Zones (HFZ's) are research-based standards for aerobic capacity; body composition; and muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility. These standards indicate levels of fitness necessary for good health. They have been developed and refined over more than 25 years by the FITNESSGRAM Advisory Board. A score in the HFZ represents the level of fitness thought to provide some protection from the potential health risks that result from a lack of fitness in this measure. The beginning of the HFZ represents a minimum level of fitness necessary to have acceptable health. These standards reflect reasonable levels of fitness that can be attained by most children that participate regularly in various types of physical activity. Because of this, we recommend that all students should strive to achieve a score that places them inside the HFZ. It is not uncommon for children to achieve the HFZ for some dimensions of fitness but not for others. Most children usually have areas that they excel in more than others. Healthy Fitness Zones differ for boys and for girls, and they differ based on age.
13. How can the FITNESSGRAM assessment results be used?
FITNESSGRAM results can be used in several ways. Schools can use them to determine the fitness levels of their students and to provide direction for curricular plans. Students can be encouraged to use the results to develop personal fitness programs of maintenance or improvement. Parents and guardians can use the results to help their child plan fitness activities match to their individual assessment needs. Since FITNESSGRAM is given bi-annually, schools and local educational agencies can also use the results to monitor changes in the fitness status of students. FITNESSGRAM results should always be reviewed and used to make decisions in conjunction with other information related to physical performance and the physical education curriculum.
14. Do FITNESSGRAM results appear on students transcripts?
15. What can I do to prepare for the fitness assessment?
Actively play or move at least 60 minutes at least five days during the week. Walk, jog, play tennis, play softball, or participate in any physical activity you enjoy. Do strength training activities such as sit-ups, push-ups or climbing activities 2 - 3 days each week. Begin doing as many repetitions as possible and try to increase repetitions gradually. Eat a healthy diet by including more fruit and vegetables and reducing fats and sugar. Ask a physical education teacher or coach on your campus for specific tips on ways you can prepare not only for the FITNESSGRAM assessment, but for a lifetime of overall good health.