Physical Fitness Assessment Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the FITNESSGRAM test and what components will be administered to my child?
A. FITNESSGRAM is a physical fitness assessment selected by the Texas Education Agency to increase parental awareness of children’s fitness levels.
The assessment will be given during the spring semester, and it measures e
components of health-related physical fitness that have been identified as
important to overall health and function.
; aerobic capacity
; body composition
; muscular strength
; muscular endurance
Q. What specific exercises will be administered to Pflugerville Middle
School students as part of the FITNESSGRAM Assessment?
PACER Assessment – The objective is to run as many laps as possible back
and forth across a 20 meter space at a specified pace that gets faster each
Body Mass Index – Height and Weight
Flexibility (2 assessments):
#1-Shoulder Stretch Exercise
#2-Trunk Lift Exercise
Q. Who currently uses FITNESSGRAM?
A. Tens of thousands of schools nationwide use the FITNESSGRAM
assessment. These include individual school settings as well as large district implementations in cities like New York City (NY), Baltimore County (MD) Public School District, and Miami-Dade County (FL) and even statewide implementation, as in Delaware, California, and as of 2007-2008 TEXAS!
Q. Why are physical activity and fitness important?
A. Physical activity and physical fitness are not the same thing. Participation
in regular physical activity leads to improvements in physical fitness and
provides many important health benefits.
Physical activity may reduce the risk of premature mortality, coronary
artery disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus. Physical
activity also improves mental health and is important for the health of
muscles, bones, and joints. These are only a few health benefits that may
result from participating in physical activity.
Physical fitness also has been shown to be important for health and quality
of life. Assessments of physical fitness provide an effective way to evaluate
overall physical condition and potential risk for negative health outcomes.
Physical fitness is also more easily assessed than physical activity since
it doesn’t vary on a day-to-day basis. It is important to note that physical
fitness is also influenced by factors that are out of a person’s control. One
example would be a person’s genetics. While not everyone can be an elite
athlete, most people can achieve healthy levels of fitness by performing the
recommended amounts of physical activity.
Q. Why are fitness tests important for students who are not athletes?
A. The FITNESSGRAM physical fitness assessment is based not on athletic
ability, but on good health. No matter what your children grow up to become,
they will live happier, more productive lives if they are healthy.
FITNESSGRAM provides accurate and reliable information about your
child’s level of physical fitness. The FITNESSGRAM test and report include
a number of different assessments because fitness has multiple components.
Some students may have good muscular fitness, but need improvement on
aerobic fitness. By having a complete report, you and your child will
learn more about their overall level of physical fitness and what you can do
to improve it.
Q. Who will take the FITNESSGRAM assessment?
A. All students enrolled at Pflugerville ISD in grades 3 -12 must take the FITNESSGRAM Assessment unless they have a physical disability.
Q. Does my child have the option of not participating in the
A. Yes, the Texas Education Agency will allow districts to excuse a student
from testing if they are unable to complete the exercises because of a
Q. Will my child’s FITNESSGRAM scores be posted or made public?
A. FITNESSGRAM results are meant to be individualized and personal. The
scores will not be made public but PMS will send the results of your
student’s physical fitness assessment to the Parents/Guardians with the
final report card of the year.
The FITNESSGRAM data will be collected by the state. However, the
students’ name and other information that may identify a student will be
removed to ensure confidentiality. That data will be used to study trends
and not to judge individual students.
Q. Will my child be compared to other children?
A. No. FITNESSGRAM uses health-related criteria called the Healthy
Fitness Zone to determine a student’s overall physical fitness and suggest
areas for improvement when appropriate. Healthy Fitness Zones (HFZ) are
not based on the performance of your child’s peers. The standards are set
specifically for boys and girls of different ages using the best available
The FITNESSGRAM report defines the recommended range of fitness for
each test measure and calls this range the Healthy Fitness Zone. If your
child’s score falls within the Healthy Fitness Zone it means they have
achieved the recommended level of fitness for their age.
Q. Will my child be made to feel that he or she is overweight or
A. No. FITNESSGRAM recognizes that physically fit and less-fit people come in all shapes and sizes. The beginning level of the FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zone for body composition is based on research that links these levels to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The
FITNESSGRAM parent and student reports use carefully worded
terminology to help parents and youth understand possible risks associated with higher levels of body fatness. Language that could be used to describe
physical appearance is not used in the FITNESSGRAM reports.
The person responsible for administering the test may tell the child their
height and weight, but will not know if the student is considered to be in the
Healthy Fitness Zone since it varies for every
Q. Can my child fail the FITNESSGRAM test?
A. There is no pass or fail on the FITNESSGRAM test. There are three
categories listed below that may appear on your child’s FITNESSGRAM
• Needs Improvement – It indicates dimensions of fitness that may require
special attention. While the effect of low fitness may not influence health
until later in adulthood, it is important to identify potential risks early on so
that you and your child have the opportunity
to make adjustments as you see fit.
• Above the Healthy Fitness Zone – It should be noted that it is also
possible for some students to score above the HFZ. FITNESSGRAM
acknowledges performances above the HFZ but does not recommend this
level of performance as an appropriate goal level for all students.
• Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) – The standards in the FITNESSGRAM test
levels of fitness that can be attained by most children who participate
regularly in various types of physical activity. It is common for children to
achieve the HFZ for some dimensions of fitness but not for others. Most
children usually have areas that they excel in more than others. The
categories used are to help you determine what goals, if any, you may want
to set at home for your child.
Q. Why is body composition testing important?
A. Research has shown that excessive fatness is associated with increased
blood pressure, elevated blood lipids and type II diabetes. Long-term studies show a relationship between adult obesity and childhood obesity, especially as children become adolescents. Together these studies indicate that excessive fatness in children and youth increases the likelihood of obesity-related adult diseases including coronary heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and type II diabetes.
Q. What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
A. BMI stands for body mass index. BMI is a ratio of weight over height.
Recent charts have been published by the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) for quickly determining body mass index (BMI) in boys and
girls, ages 2 to 20 years. These charts are used to identify children who may
be overweight. While your child may appear to be overweight according to
the chart, he or she may be within normal limits because muscle weight has
more mass than body fat weight.
Q. How are body composition test results described in the
FITNESSGRAM student and
A. Body composition scores are reported as Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) or
Needs Improvement. Height and weight measurements are taken so the
report will include the Body Mass Index score. Body composition testing
(like any fitness assessment) is a personal matter. Because body composition
is a particularly sensitive issue, additional care will be taken to ensure that it
is conducted in a setting in which the child feels safe and the results can be
Q. Are the FITNESSGRAM parent reports available in English and
A. Yes, all student reports are available to parents in English and Spanish.
Q. Who should I contact if I have questions regarding the
A. If you have any questions regarding FITNESSGRAM at Pflugerville
Middle School, please contact Tiffany Commerford 512-594-2052.