Fitness Testing Of School Children: Perspectives Of Key Stakeholders

Por: Jo Harris e Lorraine Cale.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

Fitness testing is common place within the secondary PE curriculum yet it remains controversial in an educational setting [1] [3] [4] [6] [7] [8]. The numerous limitations of fitness testing of school children such as the influence of heredity and maturation bring into question commonly held assumptions that fitness test scores reflect activity levels and/or health status. Indeed, many children view tests negatively [5]. and fitness testing may be counterproductive to the promotion of active lifestyles [2]. Given the prevalence of fitness testing and current concerns about activity levels, limited attention has been paid to the relative perspectives of teachers and young people on fitness testing. This presentation draws upon research projects in England and Wales to better inform our thinking about the perspectives of key stakeholders on the fitness testing of school children.

Methods

A study on the fitness testing of school children in Wales is to be undertaken from December 2003 to March 2004, using survey and interview techniques. In addition, a questionnaire survey in the East Midlands of England in Spring 2004 will focus upon teachers’ perspectives on fitness testing, and a second local study in May 2004 adopting a case study approach will focus upon pupils’ views of fitness testing. Quantitative and qualitative forms of data analysis will be employed in these studies to identify statistics, issues and themes associated with key stakeholders’ perspectives on the fitness testing of school children.

Results

It is anticipated that there will be variations in the perspectives of the key stakeholders, inconsistencies between policy and practice associated with fitness testing in schools, and differential effects on learners.

Discussion/Conclusion

The discussion will focus on the implications of the findings in light of current concerns about young peoples’ sedentary lifestyles and increasing obesity levels. Whether fitness testing is conducive or counterproductive to the promotion of active lifestyles among young people will also be discussed.

References

  1. Cale, L., & Harris, J. (2002) British Journal of Teaching Physical Education, 33(1): 32-34.
  2. Corbin, C.B., Pangrazi, R.P., & Welk, G.J. (1995) Pediatric Exercise Science, 7: 347-351.
  3. Fox, K., & Biddle, S. (1986) Bulletin of Physical Education, 22: 54-64.
  4. Harris, J. (2000) Health-Related Exercise in the National Curriculum. Key Stages 1 to 4. Leeds: Human Kinetics.
  5. Hopple, C., & Graham, G. (1995) Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 14(4): 408-417.
  6. Rowland, T.W. (1995) Pediatric Exercise Science, 7: 117-120.
  7. Safrit, M. (1990) Pediatric Exercise Science, 2: 9-28.
  8. Seefeldt, V., & Vogel, P. (1989) Pediatric Exercise Science, 1: 295-302.

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