Fitnessgram Fits Bill For Physical Fitness Assessment

October 28, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - Students across West Virginia will show their physical fitness with a new fitness test starting this year. The West Virginia Board of Education adopted a revised policy that calls for the use of Fitnessgram as a fitness assessment for students in grades four through 12.  

Fitnessgram offers a variety of ways to test children’s physical abilities. For example, teachers now have the choice of a mile run, a mile walk or a pacer to measure a student’s aerobic capacity, while the President’s Challenge only offered a mile run.  

“Fitnessgram is a fairer physical assessment in that it provides a wider range of avenues for students to be tested,” said State Board President Dr. Lowell Johnson. “Students with disabilities will find it much more user-friendly, whereas the Presidential Challenge limited students in the way they were assessed.”  

With the passage of House Bill 2816 during the regular legislative session, the revised policy is aligned with state law. The amended code section called for the State Board to prescribe a fitness-testing program in grades four through eight and a required high school physical education course.  

The revised policy deleted the fitness tests requirement for kindergarten through grade three. Fitnessgram is a criterion-referenced assessment of a student’s physical ability. While students in K-three will not be assessed, they will, however, learn skills that will help them become and stay more physically fit.  

“Physical activity education is our ultimate goal,” said Bane McCracken, physical education coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). “Fitnessgram allows students to improve their fitness through exercise during their middle school years and it allows teachers to spend more time teaching skills and less time testing.”  

For more information about Fitnessgram, contact Bane McCracken, WVDE physical education coordinator, at (3040 558-8830.

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