Student perceptions of the school physical fitness testing program: The Fitnessgram

Jacqueline Becker-Busha, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to determine fifth grade students' perceptions of the Fitnessgram physical fitness testing program. This study examined if the Fitnessgram physical fitness testing experience promotes an understanding of the health-related fitness components and examined the relationship between individual fitness test scores and time spent participating in out-of-school physical activity. Lastly, students' thoughts and feelings concerning the Fitnessgram experience were examined. The primary participant population for the study was 110 fifth grade students at Redland Elementary School, a Miami-Dade County Public School (M-DCPS). Data were collected over the course of 5 months. Multiple sources of data allowed for triangulation. Data sources included Fitnessgram test scores, questionnaires, document analysis, and in-depth interviews. Interview data were analyzed qualitatively for common broad themes, which were identified and defined. Document analysis included analyzing student fitness test scores and student questionnaire data. This information was analyzed to determine if the Fitnessgram test scores have an impact on student views about the school fitness-testing program. Data were statistically analyzed using analysis of frequency, crosstabulations (Bryman & Duncan, 1997), and Somers'd Correlation (Bryman & Duncan, 1997). The results of the analysis of data on student knowledge of the physical fitness components tested by each Fitnessgram test revealed students do not understand the health-related fitness components. The results of determining a relationship between individuals' fitness test scores and time spent in out-of-school physical activity revealed a significant positive relationship for 2 of the 6 Fitnessgram tests. The results of examining students' thoughts and feelings about each Fitnessgram test focused around 2 broad themes: (a) these children do not mind the physical fitness testing and (b) how they felt about the experience was directly related to how they thought they had performed. If the goal of physical fitness was only to get children fit, this test may be appropriate. However, the ultimate goal of physical fitness is to encourage students to live active and healthy lifestyles. Findings suggest the Fitnessgram as implemented by M-DCPS may not be the most suitable measurement instrument when assessing attitudinal changes that affect a healthy lifelong lifestyle.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Physical education|Educational evaluation

Recommended Citation

Becker-Busha, Jacqueline, "Student perceptions of the school physical fitness testing program: The Fitnessgram" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3128603.