Majority of Calif. Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Graders Fail Fitness Test
About a quarter of fifth graders and a third of seventh and ninth graders in California were able to pass a state-mandated fitness test this year, according to data released by the state Department of Education, the Los Angeles Times reports (Kohli, Los Angeles Times, 11/27).
The state Department of Education has collected physical fitness test results from California public schools for 16 years.
The program was authorized in 1976 and reestablished in 1995. In 1996, the state Board of Education designated a required physical fitness test for students in grades five, seven, and nine (Department of Education release, 11/20).
Details of Data
Data from the most recent reporting period show that among California students:
- 26.4% in fifth grade met all six fitness goals included in the required test;
- 32.5% in seventh grade met all six fitness goals; and
- 37.6% in ninth grade met all six fitness goals.
Overall, the rate of students who met all six goals fell by half of a percentage point or less.
However, the test results varied widely by district and school, sometimes correlating with socioeconomic status.
The Department of Education did not determine why the fitness scores declined overall (Noguchi, San Jose Mercury News, 11/27).
In a release, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the findings are "a good reminder that all parents and role models need to encourage children to eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly" (Department of Education release, 11/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.