OBJECTIVE: While school fitness environment is known to have a significant impact on children’s physical activity and fitness, no quick, easy, yet accurate tool is available to assess school fitness environment. The purpose of this study was to develop such a tool and validate it using a contracting-group method.
METHOD: After a comprehensive search on the literature, a check list of school fitness environment, including items in sports facilities, role of PE teachers, training methods by PE teachers, perceived values by principals and teachers and students’ reported PE participation etc., was developed. An evaluation team consisting of one researcher and two graduate students was formed and trained. The team then went to two schools, A and B, in Jiujiang city, China, to interview the principals, PE teachers, students in each school, went over the school sport facility, as well as tested a group of Grade 9 students’ aerobic fitness (1000-M run for boys and 800-M run for girls).
RESULTS: A total 219 students (106 boys, 113 girls) in School A and 235 students (125 boys,110 girls) in School B were tested and their aerobic fitness level were evaluated using the 2018 high school entrance exam (HSEE) criterion. After comparing with their rating and some discussions, School A was rated having a better school fitness environment and students’ fitness performance (running time in seconds) and corresponding t-test comparison further supported the observation:
CONCLUSIONS: With a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, a simple school fitness environment tool was developed, and by comparing students’ aerobic fitness from two schools, its initial validity evidence was collected and confirmed.