Development and Purpose
The FITNESSGRAM® is the designated state Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for California public schools. Developed by The Cooper Institute of Dallas, Texas, in 1982, the FITNESSGRAM® is a comprehensive, non-competitve, youth health-related physical fitness battery based on Healthy Fitness Zone® standards. These evidence-based performance standards were developed to assist schools in building and evaluating physical education programs and to provide awareness of fitness levels that will sustain overall good health in children. The design of FITNESSGRAM® seeks to support the "whole child" through fitness education and promoting the establishment of regular physical activity as a lifetime habit. The Scientific Advisory Board ensures advancing research is used to maintain the scientific-grounding of the performance standards, in addition to providing technical content expertise in the evolution of the FITNESSGRAM® assessment.
The FITNESSGRAM® is composed of various tests in the following six fitness areas:
- Aerobic Capacity
- Abdominal Strength and Endurance
- Upper Body Strength and Endurance
- Body Composition
- Trunk Extensor Strength and Flexibility
Healthy Fitness Zone Standards
The six fitness areas evaluated by FITNESSGRAM® are based on criterion-referenced standards, called the Healthy Fitness Zone standards, which are scientifically-researched fitness levels used to assess good health in children. Healthy fitness levels vary by gender and age. Student performance is classified into four zones, depending upon the fitness area being tested: Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ); Needs Improvement (NI); Needs Improvement-Health Risk (NI-Health Risk); and Very Lean.
- Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) is level of performance students should strive to meet in each fitness area. Achieving a score in the HFZ represents the minimum levels of fitness which are associated with good health and protection against diseases resulting from physical inactivity and sedentary living.
- Needs Improvement Zone (NI) indicates potential health risks in the future, along with the student's need for increased physical activity and a healthy diet.
- Needs Improvement-Health Risk Zone (NI-Health Risk) only applies to the Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition fitness areas. This zone signals more probable future health risks and an urgent need for increased activity and a healthy, controlled diet.
- Very Lean is restricted to the Body Composition fitness area. Students scoring at this level have exceeded the the HFZ and should be advised that being too lean may not be optimal for good health.
All students in grades five, seven, and nine must be administered the PFT, regardless of their enrollment in a physical education class or participation in a block schedule. JUSD students in these grade levels take the PFT in February-March. Students who are physically unable to take the entire test battery are to be given as much of the test as his or her condition will permit (CA Education Code Section 60800 and the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 1041). The general opt-out provision of CA Education Code Section 60615 does not apply to the PFT, meaning that parents may not exempt their child from participation in the PFT. PFT excusal is limited to medical reason (current doctor's note must stipulate specific participation exclusion) or IEP/504 Plan documentation (testing participation decisions are based on student's ability to participate).
Student Results and Reporting
The PFT provides valuable information that can be used by students, teachers, and parents/guardians.
- Students can assess and plan personal fitness programs
- Teachers can design the curriculum for physical education programs
- Parents and guardians can understand their child's fitness levels
PFT results are used to monitor and modify program components and the physical fitness of California students. Physical education teachers administering the PFT, report results to students orally. Parents can also request written results from their child's school.
Physical Fitness Testing
Parent/Guardian Guide to the PFT and FITNESSGRAM
Parent/Guardian Guide to PFT and FITNESSGRAM-Aerobic Capacity
2015-16 FITNESSGRAM Performance Standards Chart
FITNESSGRAM-Fitness Areas and Test Options