The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH



FitnessGram® FAQ

In this section, we will be adding some of our most frequently asked teacher questions throughout the year. For general software questions, please visit the FitnessGram software help site.

Q. Why do FitnessGram tests have maximum scores?

Many teachers who administer the FitnessGram assessment have asked why the test items have maximum scores students can achieve.  While some students may achieve higher scores than the test allows, the fundamental purpose of FitnessGram is to assess health-related fitness - not performance.  

The test items most frequently asked about are the back-saver sit and reach and the trunk lift. The FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board has indicated specific reasons as to why these particular test items have a maximum score of 12 related to injury prevention:

  • Back-saver sit and reach -
    The limitation of 12 inches as the maximum score is used to discourage hypermobility.
  • Trunk lift -
    Students should not be encouraged to lift the chin more than 12 inches because excessive arching of the back can cause compression of the spinal discs.

Students should know that the purpose of FitnessGram is to assess the level of fitness needed for good health, understanding that their abilities may exceed the Healthy Fitness Zone®.