Fitness testing as a debated and contested PE-for-health practice

Alfrey, Laura and Landi, Dillon; Cale, Lorraine and Harris, Jo, eds. (2022) Fitness testing as a debated and contested PE-for-health practice. In: Physical Education Pedagogies for Health. Routledge, [S.I.], pp. 33-47. ISBN 9781032127163

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Fitness testing is arguably the most contested PE-for-health practice, especially in countries such as England, Australia and the United States of America. The testing of children within PE can be traced back to at least the early twentieth century, but common approaches to teaching in, though and about fitness testing continue to be debated. Such debates, for example, relate to educative purpose (i.e. the tendency to focus on fitness testing in isolation as opposed to being embedded within a broader fitness education unit, the placing of students 'on display' (i.e. so that it is very clear who the higher and lower performers are), and the presentation and use of test results. One way to respond to the debates related to fitness testing is to expand how we think fitness testing. That is to say, instead of focusing on 'what the body is' (e.g. underweight, flexible, strong) we can focus on 'what the body can do' (i.e. culturally, psychologically socially and physically). Doing so aligns more closely with contemporary and multi-dimensional understandings of health, and opens up opportunities for more inclusive and educative fitness testing, and PE-for- health practices more broadly.


Alfrey, Laura and Landi, Dillon ORCID logoORCID:; Cale, Lorraine and Harris, Jo