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California Physical Fitness Test (PFT)


California Department of Education                                                                                                                                            

Physical Fitness Test


In February and March our students in grades 5, 7, and 9 will participate in the California Physical Fitness Test (PFT). The FITNESSGRAM (1) is the required annual PFT for students in grades five, seven, and nine in California public schools. This health-related fitness test, developed by The Cooper Institute, is intended to help students acquire lasting habits of regular physical activity.


The FITNESSGRAM includes tests for six areas of fitness, including Aerobic Capacity, Body Composition, Abdominal Strength and Endurance, Trunk Extensor Strength and Flexibility, Upper Body Strength and Endurance, and Flexibility. There are two or three test options for most of the fitness areas of the FITNESSGRAM so that all students, including those with special needs, have the chance to participate in the PFT. For those fitness areas that have multiple options, only one option is reported for each student.


For each fitness area of the FITNESSGRAM, a student’s performance is classified into the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) or into other zones, depending on the fitness area. For Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition, results are classified as in the HFZ, Needs Improvement, or Needs Improvement – Health Risk. For all other areas, results are classified as in the HFZ or Needs Improvement.


The desired performance goal for each test option is the HFZ, which represents a level of fitness that offers some protection against the diseases related to physical inactivity. The Needs Improvement designation indicates an area of fitness where a student would benefit from activities designed to improve performance in that area. Needs Improvement – Health Risk is a designation that specifically indicates increased health risks due to the level of fitness. The HFZ ranges and performance classifications are updated on a regular basis; therefore, student results should always be evaluated against the current year HFZ charts.


Our students will receive their results upon completion of the PFT. These results will help students understand their individual levels of fitness. Students are encouraged to talk about these results with their parents or guardians and their physical education teacher. Parents and guardians can use these results to help their children plan appropriate fitness activities.


If you have any questions about your child’s participation in the PFT, the FITNESSGRAM, or the test results, please contact your child’s school. The current year HFZ charts and other information about the PFT are available on the California Department of Education PFT Web page at



(1)  The FITNESSGRAM and Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) are registered trademarks of The Cooper Institute.