Wow! 70% failure rate for fifth graders!

March 9, 2010

State Superintendent Jack O’Connell, Joined By
Governor’s Fitness Council Chair Jake Steinfeld,
Releases Physical Fitness Results

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today released the results of the California Physical Fitness Test that is given annually to all fifth, seventh, and ninth grade students enrolled in the state’s public schools.

“Students are moving in the right direction toward better fitness,” said O’Connell. “But to get them to take giant leaps instead of baby steps will require additional encouragement from school administrators, teachers, and parents.We all need to work together to help our students attain the level of fitness and well-being that will keep their bodies in shape and their minds sharp.”

The 2008 test scores show that 28.5 percent of the students in grade five, 32.9 percent in grade seven, and 35.6 percent in grade nine achieved in the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) for all six areas of the test (Table 1). These results represent a 1.4 percentage point increase in fifth grade students’ scores, a 2.0 percentage point increase in seventh grade students’ scores, and a 5.5 percentage point gain in ninth grade students’ scores compared to last year’s results (Table 2).

“The Superintendent and I both know that academics and fitness go hand-in-hand,” said Jake Steinfeld, chair of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. “When children are physically active and eating well, their confidence, focus, and self-esteem improve and their academic scores do too. I look forward to working with the Superintendent to insure that California students are provided every possible opportunity to get active, get healthy, and get fit.”

The goal of California’s physical fitness test is to facilitate learning about physical activity and physical fitness concepts in order to increase the likelihood students will adopt lifetime patterns of physical activity.

A score in the HFZ represents the level of fitness thought to provide some protection from the potential health risks imposed by a lack of fitness in this measure. The HFZ reflects reasonable levels of fitness that can be attained by most students that participate regularly in various types of physical activity.

A comparison of the results for the last three years shows an encouraging 2.9 to 8.2 percentage point improvement in achieving the HFZ across all six areas of the test (Table 2). Sixty percent of the students across the three grades in 2008 met the targeted performance level for aerobic capacity, considered the most important of the six areas tested (Table 3). Recent research correlates good aerobic capacity with a reduction in many health problems.

The results for students in the Class of 2011 cohort (i.e., grade five students in 2004, grade seven students in 2006, and grade nine students in 2008) scoring in the HFZ are shown in Table 4. Students in the class of 2011 have shown steady improvement over similar students in the classes of 2009 and 2010. Students from the class of 2011 achieving the HFZ in six out of six fitness standards in grade five was 2.5 percentage points higher than the class of 2009 students and 1.0 percentage point higher than the class of 2010 students. Examining the ninth grade level students from the class of 2011 they achieved the HFZ in six out of six fitness standards 8.2 percentage points higher than students from the class of 2009 and 5.5 percentage points higher than students from the class of 2010.

State law requires school districts to administer a physical fitness test, designated by the State Board of Education, to all fifth, seventh, and ninth graders annually. The physical fitness test designated for California public school students is the FITNESSGRAM®, developed by The Cooper Institute. The test assesses six major fitness areas, including aerobic capacity (cardiovascular endurance), body composition (percentage of body fat), abdominal strength and endurance, trunk strength and flexibility, upper body strength and endurance, and overall flexibility. A number of test options are provided so that most students can participate.

In 2008, the physical fitness test was administered to a total of 1,371,411 California public school students: 454,276 fifth grade students, 458,122 seventh grade students, and 459,013 ninth grade students.

For more information about the physical fitness test, including the fitness areas and test options, refer to Physical Fitness Testing (PFT)

The 2008 physical fitness results for schools, school districts, counties, and the state are available on the CDE Web site at Physical Fitness Testing (PFT). All public schools in California are required to report results of physical fitness testing annually in their school accountability report cards. Schools are also required to provide students with their individual results. However, no individual student data are reported on the Internet.

Release: #08-167,  November 25, 2008

Your kids may not get enough exercise..

March 8, 2010

do you think your children get at least 3 hours of constant exercise a week? That is, I mean, without resting AT ALL.