Editorial: High School Fitness Testing is Useless

Anna Callahan, Reporter

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The State of Pennsylvania does not require fitness tests from students. In fact, only the states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, and West Virginia require them. So why do we have to take them?

Fitness testing children isn’t helpful to them or anyone else.

Fitness testing is defined as the act of taking measurements of the body and its responses to exercise in order to work out where a component of someone’s fitness is, at any given moment in time. It is used so that people are able to monitor and assess students’ ability as it relates to aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility. It is also supposed to help students understand how healthy they are and learn to set goals to improve their health-related fitness.

The tests set unrealistic standards to children who are less athletic and incapable of performing these fitness tests. According to an article by Human Kinetics, “The authors of Promoting Active Lifestyles in Schools, Dr. Jo Harris and Professor Lorraine Cale have said that ‘fitness tests simply determine the obvious, at best only distinguishing the mature or motivated from the immature or unmotivated’. As well as those ‘blessed with fit genes and those not so blessed.’”

These tests are only able to gage the fitness of the people who are actually putting in effort. According to an article by The Atlantic students would rather skip school than participate in gym.

Having everyday Physical Education was shown to have detrimental effects rather than beneficial ones. The article states that, “According to the study, the program resulted in a roughly 16 percent increase in the number of disciplinary actions for each student.”

An article by PT Direct said a potential risk of fitness testing is putting the participants at risk. Poorly chosen or executed tests can result is the wrong information being recorded. If the testing is poorly executed, the students could suffer.

The article references the problem of embarrassment that people feel when they are unable to perform as well as others despite the fact that each person is physically different and therefore their athletic capabilities can never be a side by side comparison of others.

Fitness testing is a risk to people’s health because the wrong information can result in non beneficial and potentially harmful exercises or activities.

Fitness testing isn’t a fair or accurate representation of students’ abilities because not all are advantaged in athletics in the same way. Some children participate in sports or exercise on a regular basis which allows them to be more physically capable than other students which isn’t taken into account in the data.

Fitness testing sets unrealistic, unfair expectations for students. It is not an accurate representation of students’ athletic capabilities and can be detrimental to students rather than helpful, which is the ultimate goal of fitness testing and physical education classes.

Reach out to the DTSD school board and bring their attention to this pointless risk to students’ health and mental well being.