Positive and Negative Influences of Large-Scale Fitness Assessment: Results of Testing with 3 Million Texas Youth

Aug 31, 2010, 08:00 ET from American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

RESTON, Va., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As teachers and students head back to school, a supplement to the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (RQES) presents key findings and issues associated with the statewide assessment of youth fitness in Texas. The supplement, "Texas Youth Fitness Study," provides an in-depth analysis and evaluation of data collected through the state-mandated health-related fitness testing of all public school children in Texas in grades 3 through 12.

Scott B. Martin and James R. Morrow, Jr. of the University of North Texas are co-editors of the supplement. "This series of papers is a must read for any individual, group, or state considering large-scale fitness testing," Morrow said. Key points in the papers include:

  • Higher physical fitness test achievement is related to higher state academic test scores and higher attendance, fewer negative school incidents and overall school quality, as indicated by the state ranking system (exemplary, recognized, acceptable, or unacceptable);
  • Teachers work hard to conduct important and quality testing and do a good job of testing despite often challenging school settings;
  • Teachers share their positive and negative experiences and provide ways to improve testing in challenging school settings and for large-scale testing across a state;
  • Reliability and validity of large-scale testing is good; and suggestions for testing in challenging school settings and in large-scale testing for regional, state, and national settings are provided.

In addition, one of the 11 papers presents results of research supported by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) related to psychosocial variables and physical fitness in middle school students.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of The Cooper Institute, states in the preface, "In 2007, we embarked on concerted efforts to increase attention to the importance of health-related fitness in Texas children and youth. The emphasis was on establishing a statewide database to facilitate tracking of fitness in Texas schools. Better data on youth fitness is needed to understand more fully the magnitude of the problem [childhood obesity and diabetes] and help evaluate the effectiveness of different programming strategies."

The supplement is funded by a grant to The Cooper Institute through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Members of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), who select RQES as a journal choice, along with institutional subscribers, receive the supplement as part of their subscription. To purchase a copy, contact ABDI (866-759-5269 or 412-741-1142). The 88-page supplement includes 11 papers and costs $20 per copy (plus shipping and handling).

RQES is a journal of AAHPERD, an alliance of five national associations, six district associations, and a Research Consortium. AAHPERD provides its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. It is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, recreation, fitness, dance, health promotion and all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. AAHPERD serves 20,000 members and has its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, 25 miles west of Washington, DC. To learn more, visit: www.aahperd.org.

SOURCE American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)