Preparing for the California Fitness Test

What are the expectations for students to pass the fitness test?

by Juan Canela (Staff Writer) – 2/24/15

                                                     Freshman students doing a weekly run in order to prepare for the mile run

The state of California is currently enforcing all fifth, seventh, and ninth grade students attending public schools to take part in the physical fitness test (PFT) with the hope to help students in starting life-long healthy habits that consist of regular physical activity.

The PFT provides a current and accurate representation of a student’s physical capability. This information can be used by teachers to design the curriculum for physical education programs, by parents and guardians to understand their child’s fitness level, and by students to plan a fitness routine adequate for them.

The PFT testing window has successfully been opened on February 1st, 2015. This day marks the beginning of the process of fitness evaluation for all students. Additionally, the testing window is expected to close on May 31st, 2015.

According to an informational online article on the California Department of Education, “This program also provides results that are used to monitor changes in the physical fitness of California students. By law (Section 60800), all LEAs in California are required to administer the PFT annually to all students in grades five, seven, and nine.”

Composed of six categories, the fitness test is designed to allow students to show their fitness level. These fitness areas include: aerobic capability, abdominal strength and endurance, upper body strength and endurance, body composition, trunk extensor strength, and flexibility.

The aerobics portion of the fitness test consists of a one-mile run, a progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance run, and a walk test. Requirements to pass this category of the test mostly depend on the student’s age.

The abdominal strength and endurance test is focused on curl-ups.  The number of curl-ups to pass differs for each student.

The upper body strength and endurance section tests students in their ability to do push-ups, modified pull-ups, or a flexed arm hang.  This category of the fitness test is the hardest to numerous students. “I am horrible at doing push-ups. I took the fitness test two years ago and I remember how much I struggled with the upper body strength test. I am sure a lot of people struggled as well,” stated junior Matthew Ortega.

The body composition category focuses on skinfold measurements, body mass index, and bioelectric impedance analyzer.  In addition, the trunk extensor strength test consists of a trunk lift, while the flexibility test includes the back-saver sit and reach, and the shoulder stretch.

Physical fitness test results vary every year. Every year a different number of students do not pass the test. Students take the PFT as ninth graders, if they don’t pass, then they take it again as tenth graders. It is essential for students to pass the California fitness test if they do not want to take a physical education class for 4 years to get credit to graduate,” informed Kennedy PE teacher Nikki Vanghan.

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