Health-Related Fitness Monitoring Practices in Secondary School-Based Physical Education Programs

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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Purpose: To examine the prevalence of and approaches to monitoring health-related physical fitness (HRPF) in secondary school-based physical education programs. Methods: Physical education teachers (N = 327; 56.6% females) from 235 secondary schools (33.1% of national total) in the Republic of Ireland completed a survey designed specifically for the purposes of this study. Results: HRPF tests were used by 95.3% of teachers. A significant decline in the testing frequency was observed from the junior grades (age 13–15 years) to the senior grades (age 16–18 years) (p < .001). Just over half (51.7%) of the teachers discarded the test results after a single use. Less than one third of the teachers indicated that they shared the test results with the students’ parents. The vast majority (87.0%) of the teachers agreed that the development of a digital platform would facilitate monitoring test results over time. Conclusions: HRPF testing is highly prevalent in secondary schools. More actions are needed to ensure that teachers use pedagogically sound student-centered approaches toward monitoring HRPF, with a focus on learning that may lead to more positive testing experiences for students. Consideration should be given to the development of digital platforms to facilitate monitoring and reporting HRPF.

O’ Keeffe, MacDonncha, Ng, and Donnelly are with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Ng is also with the School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland.

O’ Keeffe (brendan.okeeffe@ul.ie) is the corresponding author.
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