Two interesting articles in the press recently appear to highlight two sides of the same coin.

The BBC article on June 16 headline reads ‘Test fitness at primary school, say health campaigners.” Referring to the UK Active report ‘Generation Inactive’.

And the Guardian of 23rd June reads “School sport suffers as one in four children think video games are exercise, says report.”

Both highlight the ‘ticking time bomb’ of health related issues in children due to lack of exercise.  The BBC’s provocative headline belies the very sensible advice in the article that children should be more active throughout the day.

We are faced with a situation where many children are not as active as they should be and 25% assume video games are exercise.  Obesity is becoming a critical national problem and behavior management issues in the classroom are on the rise.

So should we be ‘testing’ our children’s PE and fitness levels as the BBC suggest?

Perhaps there’s a middle ground – perhaps tracking what children are doing rather than testing it might provide an answer.  Anything that is measured improves, as the saying goes.  We see it in adults using fitness tracking apps and we’ve seen it with children using Striver. Testing suggests a high stakes regime that few schools have the specialist staff to introduce, maintain or interpret the results meaningfully.  Tracking is a formative assessment that all schools can easily do and Striver is here to help with a range of activities that develop both fitness and PE skills in combination.

By rewarding individual improvements, children will stay engaged in PE and sport longer and in that time we should do everything we can to encourage and educate them into the importance of having an active, healthy body.

Would love to hear your thoughts.