When the teachers went on strike on an episode of the Simpsons, poor little Lisa was without any feedback and she went into intellectual withdrawal and sought out sources and authority figures to get “graded”. It has become unpopular to assign labels or to have competition within schools and the new “everybody is a winner” attitude seems to be the purveying train of thought. What happened to awarding achievement?
Many of you remember the Canada fitness testing as being a day of dread because people actually quantified your fitness level with numbers and levels. This was a source of ridicule and hardships for some, but for others like me and my wife, it was play day and a chance to get “graded” on our fitness which for the competitive types was a challenge and a reward. Maybe I am jaded with my work as a firefighter, but being a first responder at many medical emergency calls, I can tell you that I see overweight unhealthy YOUNG people who require medical assistance ahead of their time. I say bring back the Canada Fitness Testing, because we are reaching epidemic levels of obesity in a socialized health care system. Here is a novel thought, maybe we should give the healthy fit kids some incentive to stay that way! Either we are
all going to pay now, or pay later, as the unhealthy little kids are going to inherently burden the health care system later on in life unless their life choices change, and peer pressure is a great motivator! Pointing out someones physical weakness or inherent incompetence can be done without shaming the kids, and it can be done in a way that we can set goals for them and work on shoring up weaknesses. Why is this such a verboten idea? We grade kids in all other aspects of their school curriculum, but give them no feedback on how Physically Fit or HEALTHY they are. To sum it up, I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who said ” Your body is your window through which you see the world.”
While I was in the Air Cadet system we did the Canada Fitness testing protocols as part of our fitness component. I know that they still do the fitness testing and there are awards to the top cadets. In the air cadet program there are few badges that you can wear, compared to the other elements (army) and one of them is the Canada Fitness badge.
So if you were living under a rock, and you must ask: What were the Canada Fitness Test Standards?
Here they are: It is based on six fitness performance tests that give an overall picture of your general physical
fitness condition. The six tests, each of which have a specific purpose, include the following:
- a. push-ups, for arm and shoulder girdle strength;
- b. shuttle run, for speed, power and agility;
- c. partial curl-ups, for abdominal muscles;
- d. standing long jump, for power and agility;
- e. 50 m run, for speed, power and agility; and
- f. endurance run, for stamina.
How is it scored?
The Canada Fitness testing used levels that were represented by elements such as gold, silver, bronze. There were two others, and they were the level of excellence, and the dreaded participation pin. So after you completed all the tests, you received a grade based on the lowest scoring of any of the sections. For example if you get silver ratings in 5 out of the 6 test, and then you get a bronze level in the push ups. Then your overall rating and your little fancy badge is a bronze. So the Canada fitness test was promoting overall health and fitness, and was in fact a blend of speed, agility, strength, and stamina. It sounds eerily similar to CrossFit’s 10 general physical skills that they promote as one of the pillars of their fitness program.
Click below to see all of the standards and levels for the now defunct Canada Fitness Testing
I say it was a great test of overall health and fitness and think that the idea should be revisited. After all, what we are doing now to keep our youth healthy and fit is clearly NOT working.