Problems in California’s Fitness Testing


Photo By Nicolas Gorman

PE Teacher Shawna Virga measures a student’s performance in the trunk lift for freshman fitness testing.

Jessica Sheppard, Mirada Staff

The fitness test was originally created to monitor fitness levels of students, but many believe that the current program needs to be changed. This would be focused on reducing the amount of body shaming that has occured from the current test and to help include students who don’t identify with the traditional genders.

The test currently measures a person’s flexibility, strength, body composition and aerobic capacity. Some tests like flexibility are obscure; the test requires students to be able to place one hand behind their head and back over the shoulder, and place the other arm behind their back reaching up as far as possible attempting to touch or overlap the middle fingers of both hands.

Governor Newsom has proposed the idea of getting rid of fitness testing for three years to revise the program, however there are many things to consider. ”

The issue with stopping the test for two years is that there would be a gap in the data for schools. This gap would make it harder for schools to address any health concerns that students may have.

The idea of reforming the fitness test sounds ideal but there is the possibility that there will now be a lack of health consciousness amongst school children without the fitness tests. Not every household teaches the importance of healthy living by eating healthy or going outside and getting exercise, learning and developing these habits is important. 

With social media being an overwhelming factor in most teens’ lives, bullying and body shaming has become a part of society and with the test focusing on the body. It would be great to see schools make real reforms and show its students that school is a safe environment where body shaming is not allowed. 

Another issue with the test is that there are only two gender options, male and female. In today’s society some people identify as non-binary (someone that falls somewhere in the middle of the gender spectrum and are neither strictly male or female), or Agender (Not identifying with any gender) which the test doesn’t take into consideration.

The reforms proposed by Newsom would deal with these issues and states that he would consult experts in physical fitness, and gender identity to make sure that the reforms are effective. He has yet to release what the test would be for the three year interim period. 

Governor Newsom should reform the test because there is no point in doing a test that isn’t accurate. The test was meant to monitor and teach students about fitness but when it no longer serves its purpose then you have to change the test to be effective for both students and schools.