Texas just added a new exam to its curriculum—a fitness test for all students in grades 3-12. The Dallas Morning News reported that starting next year, students will be measured on aerobic endurance, body fat, flexibility, and muscle strength. To pass, students must score better than seven out of 10 peers in their age and sex group. Students who fail, however, will not be penalized. Texas education officials say the test results will help guide state research into possible links among physical health and student achievement, school attendance, and discipline problems.

In many schools across the country, PE has taken a back seat to such academic subjects as reading, math, and science. But as more and more children nationwide are identified as overweight or obese, Texas will bring PE more to the forefront and will become the first state to comprehensively gauge students’ physical health.

The first round of tests will be next spring. We’ll have to wait and see what the final score is, and whether other states will follow suit.

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re: Putting PE to the Test

This sounds like it will set students up for failure. If a student must score better than seven out of 10 peers then only 30% have the ability to pass and the other 70% will fail. Not only that but with no fixed scores to reach and with the scores being compared to peers, all the students may be out of shape and the least ones out of shape still pass even though they may be obese or physically unfit.
I think students need to be held accountable for their fitness, however, there must be fixed scores for them to reach. All students must be given equal opportunity to pass. PE teachers will also have to make sure the students are being prepared for the tests. Texas has a good idea but I am afraid that if 70% of their students have no hope of passing and the scores do not count then the test will not be taken seriously.