What Standards are Used to Evaluate Physical Fitness?
Once test items have been selected and administered to measure physical fitness, the scores or results are compared to standards representing levels of fitness. In the BPFT, standards are expressed as general or specific. A general standard is one associated with the general population and a specific standard has been adjusted in some way to account for the effects of an impairment upon performance. Both are health-related and both may relate to physiological and/or functional health. General standards may be applied to the general population as well as to youngsters with specific disabilities. Specific standards are only provided for selected test items for individuals with disabilities.
When general standards are used, two levels generally are available: minimal and preferred. A minimal standard is considered an acceptable score and a preferred standard is meant to convey a good level of fitness that is more desirable. There are no levels associated with specific standards. In a few instances there is only one level of a general standard, i.e., a single general standard that is established to evaluate test performance. Where a single general standard is used, it conveys a good level of fitness.
Although not necessarily health-related, individualized standards may be developed in connection with the BPFT. An individualized standard represents a desired level of attainment set by a teacher or leader for and/or with the student which is designed to take the student from present level of performance toward a specific or general health-related standard. Individualized standards are typically recommended when objectives for improvement are needed but specific or general standards are not reasonably attainable.
Standards that have been established in connection with the BPFT have been developed using a variety of sources. Standards were attained from the Prudential FlTNESSGRAM, data collected and analyzed as part of Project Target, logic, and expert opinion. Persons interested in detailed information regarding the development of standards for the BPFT are encouraged to consult technical information provided by the authors (Winnick & Short, 1999).