Stop Sweating Over Fitness Tests


Caitlin Roth

Students warm up in gym class by doing push-ups.

Alex Baca, Web Editor

In physical education class, teachers grade students on the following tests every quarter: shuttle run, sit and reach, push ups, sit ups, and the beep test. Despite being an athlete, I still struggle to perform to the standards of these tests. I am not going to sugarcoat the fact that I do not like that I got a 1/20 on a shuttle run physical fitness test. Because of this, I believe that gym class shouldn’t have physical fitness tests, especially the shuttle run.

Genetics have a major impact on strength, muscle size, lung capacity, and flexibility. Students suffering from conditions such as asthma can have particular trouble with certain fitness tests, something they cannot control. As a result, some people cannot perform as well on fitness tests as others. It is unfair to penalize these students for what is beyond their control.

“People are built differently,” freshman Kate Mackenzie said. “If they have longer legs, they’ll be able to run faster.”

These physical fitness tests are state requirements that the district has implemented into Southern Lehigh’s physical education curriculum.

“The physical fitness tests allow people to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the area of physical fitness,” health and phys ed teacher Ms. Megan Dellegrotti said. “By understanding your weaknesses, you’ll be able to implement activities to make them your strengths and improve your overall physical fitness.”

Despite these intentions for fitness tests, they should not play a factor in students’ grades. Instead, gym teachers should grade students based solely on effort. Students lacking in effort should lose points; however, if a student is trying their very best, they should not be penalized if they are not as athletic as others in the class.

“I don’t agree it’s fair to grade someone based off of their physical ability,” senior Cameron Tressler said. “I don’t think that is fair either that there is such a large gap between requirements for boys and girls. I think students should be graded on how well they improve over the course.”

Some people might compare this to tests given in other classes, where grades are determined by the number of answers correct. However, gym class should not fall under the same standards that regular classes do, since it is focused on physical activity in contrast with mental abilities.

Tests are about studying and memorizing the material. By studying hard, one can improve their chances of performing well on these exams. However, these physical fitness tests are based solely on athleticism. People vary dramatically in their athletic capacity, something they cannot change no matter how hard they work. I think that you should recognize your strengths or weaknesses fitness-wise, but you shouldn’t be graded on it.