Opinion: Is fitness testing it worth it?

From a young age, students are required to partake in a state mandatory fitness test that wastes class time


Kylie Chisamore

Though fitness testing encourages PE students to set goals and stay healthy, it sometimes seems to serves other purposes, including simply satisfying the state.

Kylie Chisamore, Staff Writer

Students run back and forth to the dings of the pacer test. Chattering occurs amongst students expressing their feelings towards the schools fitness testing. The students conclude that fitness testing is a waste of time.

Every year in gym class students are forced to participate in state testing. State fitness testing includes the pacer, height, weight, vertical jump, push ups, sit and reach, and curl ups. Scores get recorded and sent out to the state yearly.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, fitness testing is used to teach students how to assess their fitness levels, set goals for improvement, monitor progress in reaching their goals and measure student growth and program effectiveness. This helps programs fulfill State Goal 20, which is for students to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical fitness through continual self-assessment.

Fitness testing is very uncomfortable for some students. Discomfort stems from the weight section factoring into the state requirements. Weight should not be included in a state testing. Weight can trigger eating disorders and many other negative feelings especially when others share this private information.

How well a student does on a fitness test does not reflect the students accurately always since they are standardized.  Every student is a different fitness level and ability, so when it comes to fitness testing it does not always reflect the student properly. The amount of push ups students do or the flexibility they have does not define them as a person and should stop being viewed as so.

Fitness testing is also made into a competition to be the best in the class. Students will just make bets with their friends about who can get the highest vertical or do the most push ups. None of which is ever taken seriously by the students. The only people that care are the state, which is only to make sure teachers are doing their job.

The one good thing fitness testing does is it shows a student’s improvement. In each year scores get recorded and saved for the next year’s testing, making it easy for students to have a goal to beat each test. It shows where there is room for improvement or where a student improved greatly.

Taking these tests can help students see personal improvements, but become a waste of time when they are used for any other reason. Students should make personal goals regarding improvement within their test scores to benefit themselves rather than to compete against others. Fitness testing should be used to see progress and encourage improvement.