During the last few years, children’s levels of physical exercise have reduced significantly due to our sedentary lifestyle. Unlike in older times, children are increasingly being driven to school by vehicle or bus rather than just walking or cycling. At the same time, outdoor games are being replaced by games on mobile phones or video games. All of this is making the lifestyle of the kids more sedentary.
In such situations, physical tests become imperative as they assess the kids’ health across various parameters. The main goal of such tests is to help students inculcate a lifelong habit of regular physical activity in their day-to-day life.
But, are these physical tests mandatory? And if yes, what kind of tests are there for high schoolers to appear for?In this blog, we will go through the many physical fitness tests available for high schoolers today and also navigate through why they are crucial.
Why Are Fitness Tests Crucial For High Schoolers?
As the saying goes, ‘Health is Wealth’. Of the many benefits of fitness tests, the most important among them is that they help each student determine their health and fitness level and make them aware of where they are lacking and what needs improvement. Students who perform poorly on a particular portion of a fitness test can establish a goal and attempt to make up for it on the subsequent test.
From STAR tests, to AP exams, high school is filled with examinations of various kinds. However, the fitness test doesn’t evaluate the kids on the academic front. By assessing their strengths and weaknesses, students are able to focus on a particular area they are lacking and improve their health faster than they would have normally done. This develops positive goal-setting behaviour in young students, which may help them throughout their life. This is one of the essential reasons for physical tests in school, especially in high school.
Beyond enhancing fitness, conducting fitness assessments in schools may have advantages for both individuals and the authorities. Physical tests in high schools also provide the opportunity to identify young talents with athletic potential. These tests can also be used to identify potentials, guide athletic students to sports that are more suitable for them, place them in positions that are more fit for their skill level, or place them in events that are more relevant to their chosen sport. In doing so, schools often come up with good athletes for the future.
There is evidence today that physical fitness tests not only have benefits on the student’s health but also on their academic learning. These tests make children focused and attentive which leads to better academic results on their part. Improved physical fitness in students helps them perform better in school and achieve higher grades. Fitness tests inculcate discipline in students and motivate them towards improved classroom behavior.
Official Fitness Tests For High School Students
Pushups, running, and endurance: There are several parameters on which a child’s fitness is measured. Here are some fitness tests for high school students in the country:
1. Fitnessgram Pacer Test
The Pacer test by Fitnessgram, which originated in 1977, is a physical fitness test that measures students’ aerobic capacity. The full form of PACER is Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run. PACER test is generally used for young students or sports teams aiming to gain an advantage and learn to pace themselves on the court or field.
This test has multiple stages with increasing levels of difficulty with each stage. In this test, participants are made to run a 20-meter distance back and forth as many times as they can under a fixed time. However, the test gets progressively difficult as the time available for each lap is lowered at each level. This test is based on student’s age, gender and laps. The PACER test is particularly effective in young students because they see it as a fun activity and not just a test.
2. President’s Challenge
The President’s Challenge is an American fitness program started in 1966 by Lyndon B Johnson. The main aim of this program was to encourage all Americans to “make being an active part of their everyday lives” and to be physically fit. Over the years, the program has recognized the fitness activities of millions of young children across America.
The initial version of the test included pull-ups, sit-ups, the standing broad jump, the shuttle run, the 50-yard dash, the softball throw, and the 600-yard run. Changes were made to the tests over time, and now the new tests focus on health and lifelong physical activity. This new test still includes sprints, push-ups, and pull-ups but now also includes body fat and body mass measurements. However, this award program was terminated by the Trump administration in 2018.
3. Connecticut Physical Fitness Test
The Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment (CPFA) is a yearly physical fitness test administered to all students in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10. This test is implemented in all public schools in Connecticut. The CPFA measures the physical fitness of high school students in four areas-
a) the flexibility test is measured by the sit and reach
b) the endurance test is measured by the partial curl up
c)upper body strength is measured by the right angle push up
d) cardiorespiratory fitness measured by the one mile walk/run.
Along with these, the Body Mass Index of the participant is also measured.
4. The NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey
The NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey (NNYFS) was administered to children aged 3-15 in 2012. The aim was to evaluate the health and fitness level of the children in the US and collect appropriate science-based data on their physical activity.
Through interviews and fitness assessments, the NNYFS gathered information on our youth’s levels of physical activity and fitness.
5. Presidential Youth Fitness Program
The Presidential Youth Fitness Test which was started in the 1950s, was replaced with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. It is a comprehensive physical activity program for the youth of the US. Despite the fact that the fitness test has evolved over time, it still evaluates physical fitness using information from the 1985 National School Population Fitness Survey.
The President’s Council has collaborated with experts in the field of physical activity to develop a comprehensive test that promotes regular physical activity for America’s youth. The focus of the new program has changed from honoring athletic accomplishments to offering a gauge of students’ well-being.
Fitness testing is a substantial way to assess the student’s ability and health, and it focuses on various aspects, like aerobic fitness, strength, and even flexibility.
With an initial emphasis on performance-related fitness, it gradually gives way to an emphasis on health-related fitness. Hence, seeing their physical test reports, these young adults are able to set up their own fitness-related goals.
Moreover, these can also be beneficial for students who wish to go for some more sports-related after their high school years. Furthermore, when used effectively, fitness testing in physical education can be a powerful way to inspire and motivate students.
Having a 10+ years of experience in teaching little budding learners, I am now working as a soft skills and IELTS trainers. Having spent my share of time with high schoolers, I understand their fears about the future. At the same time, my experience has helped me foster plenty of strategies that can make their 4 years of high school blissful. Furthermore, I have worked intensely on helping these young adults bloom into successful adults by training them for their dream colleges. Through my blogs, I intend to help parents, educators and students in making these years joyful and prosperous.