The purpose and value of fitness testing in the physical education (PE) curriculum has been a topic of debate for many years and a number of issues have been raised about the use of fitness tests with children [1][2][3][4]. For example, the appropriateness, validity, and reliability of some fitness tests have been questioned [5]. Also, there is little or no evidence that improvement in fitness test scores result in improvements in children’s health, or in their health-related behaviour [6]. Despite this, fitness tests can provide useful data on children’s capabilities in a range of health-related fitness components, and may motivate some young people to be more active. Furthermore, if fitness tests are appropriately employed, they may positively influence affective, cognitive, and behavioural components related to participation in regular physical activity. Until more evidence is available supporting the relationship between childhood fitness and childhood and adult health, more attention should be given to young people’s activity levels. Recently, guidance material has been produced to support the delivery of the ‘fitness and health’ requirements of the National Curriculum in England and this addresses fitness testing in schools [4]. This study focuses on the prevalence and purpose of health, activity and fitness monitoring in secondary schools and PE teachers’ perspectives on monitoring health, activity and fitness.


Following a pilot study, a questionnaire survey will be carried out on a representative sample of 300 Heads of PE departments in secondary schools in England. The data will be analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS).


The findings will indicate the prevalence of health, activity and fitness monitoring in secondary schools in England and the perspectives of teachers on the value and purpose of monitoring testing and its impact on activity and health promotion.


The discussion will focus on the implications of the findings in light of the ongoing debate about the role of fitness testing in the PE curriculum and the potential impact of monitoring on young people’s health, activity and fitness.

[1]. ACSM (1988). Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20(4), 422-423.
[2]. Armstrong, N. (1989). British Journal of Physical Education, 20, 66-67.
[3]. Cale, L. and J. Harris (1998). The Bulletin of Physical Education, 34(1), 27-41.
[4]. Harris, J. (2001). Health-Related Exercise in the National Curriculum: Key stages 1 to 4. Leeds, Human Kinetics.
[5]. Rowland, T. W. (1995). Pediatric Exercise Science, 7, 117-120.
[6]. Seefeldt, V. and P. Vogel (1989). Pediatric Exercise Science, 1, 295-302.