In an effort to curb childhood obesity and promote health-related fitness, Alabama public schools have adopted the Alabama Physical Fitness Assessment for grades 2-12. The new assessment replaces the decades-old President’s Challenge Fitness Test.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, the program is aimed at identifying strengths and weaknesses, as well as enabling physical education teachers to monitor and assist students in improving overall health. It will also generate data for tracking student fitness at school, district and state levels.
AL.com reports the new assessment measures aerobic cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, abdominal strength, and endurance and flexibility. Students will be assessed in each of the four categories and classified as “needs improvement,” “healthy fitness” or “high fitness.”
All students in grades 2-12 are currently being pre-tested and will be post-tested between March 1 and May 1, 2013 to determine their progress.
Data collected will be treated as confidential information, but parents and students will receive assessment results as the state looks to improve communication about fitness, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
“I think a lot more kids have achieved success on the new test. This one makes it where it’s more achievable,” Escambia County Middle School physical education coach Susan Fountain told the Atmore Advance. “It’s still kind of like the old test where you push yourself to reach certain levels. Nothing’s perfect. The old test wasn’t perfect and this one isn’t perfect. It’s just a little more achievable.”
According to AL.com, Alabama ranks in the bottom 10 percent when comparing its activity profile to those of other states. Its new assessment was developed by the Quality Physical Education Task Force through a partnership between the Alabama Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Public Health, and was funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A recent report by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Heart Association found that fitness assessments are only required in 27 percent of states.