Just what is this state physical fitness exam? Is it hard? Can I do it?
Lace up your running shoes--it's time to play "Are YOU Fitter than a Fifth-Grader?"
The tests were given last school year to nearly 1.4 million children in fifth, seventh and ninth grades. It explores student fitness in six areas: aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extension, upper body strength and flexibility.
The goal of California's physical fitness test is to help youngsters learn about physical activity and physical fitness concepts to increase the likelihood students will adopt lifetime patterns of physical activity, according to the department of education.
The 2009 test scores show that statewide 29 percent of the students in grade five, 34 percent in grade seven and 38 percent in grade nine achieved in the healthy fitness zone for all six areas of the test.
In Merced County, 21 percent of fifth-graders, 29 percent of seventh-graders and 28 percent of high school freshmen received the perfect distinction.
All public schools in California are required to report results of physical fitness testing each year. Schools are also required to provide students with their individual results, but no individual student data are reported on the Internet.
Here's a small part of the test, called FitnessGram, with the health standards expected of an 11-year-old boy:
- One-Mile Run: 8.5 to 11 minutes.
Abdominal Strength and Endurance
- Curl-Up: 15 to 28.
Upper Body Strength and Endurance
- Push-Up: 8 to 20.
- Modified Pull-Up: 6 to 17.
- Body Mass Index: On this measure, it’s better to visit http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ to figure out your own number.
Trunk Extensor Strength and Flexibility
- Trunk Lift: 9 to 12 inches.
- Shoulder Stretch: Can you touch your fingertips together behind the back on both the left and right sides?
To learn the health standards for seventh- or ninth-graders (plus standards for those of you who are 17-plus years old), visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/documents/healthfitzone09.pdf.
Totally fit: Passed all six state fitness measures.
Unhealthy weight: Body fat percentage exceeds 25 percent (males) or 32 percent (females).
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Notes: The physical fitness tests are given to fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders, so schools that don't have students in any of those grades -- Davis Senior High, for instance -- won't show up in this data. Unhealthy weight figures include a small number of children who are underweight.
For a full list of fitness standards and fitness test requirement, go here.
To see even more detailed data, go here.
Source: California Department of Education