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Fitness testing in the elementary school: Children's perspectives

6 July 1995


Whether or not to fitness test in the elementary schools has always been an c, individual decision either by the current P.E. teacher(s) or program director. Some physical educators feel it is imperative to include fitness testing while others feel it is not necessary. It has been a controversial issue discussed and researched by many experts in the field of physical education. There seems to be very little information, research and literature, however, about how children feel concerning the subject. The purpose of this study is to find out about the thoughts, feelings, attitudes and perceptions of c,hildren as they take part in the fitness testing process. This study is not to promote or discourage the concept of fitness testing in the elementary school. The object is to investigate how children feel about certain test items, improved performance, peer support during testing, and whether or not students feel fitness testing is important to them or made a difference in their learning. My study deals with approximately 130 forth and fifth grade students who completed two sessions of testing during a seven month period. The study focused on four test items and their fitness components. Mile run for cardiovascular endurance, flexed arm hang for muscular strength, sit-up test for muscular endurance, and the sit and reach test for flexibility. How attitudes, feelings, and perceptions changed among students from fal/ to spring, is the main question of my inquiry. I have learned that perceptions changed simply because students knew what to expect. Students anxiety levels had decreased while their comfort levels increased. The students were also able to practice the fitness components during P. E. classes throughout the year. The practice and growth rate of most students,had a positive affect on performance levels from fa.1I to spring. The process, however, has demonstrated to me that it is imperative to talk about and teach the concepts of fitness for life to children whether or not through fitness testing.


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