Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals:
The California Physical Fitness Test —
Appropriate Uses and Data Privacy
To align with the California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) commitment to preserving the health, safety, and well-being of California’s students, local educational agencies (LEAs) should ensure that California Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) data is used to deliver the primary goal of the PFT. Results from the PFT should not be used for classroom grading. The California State Board of Education’s designee as the PFT for students in California public schools is the FITNESSGRAM®, developed by The Cooper Institute. The FITNESSGRAM® Scientific Advisory Board’s position statement titled “Appropriate and Inappropriate Use of Fitness Testing Data,” defines the principle mission of the FITNESSGRAM® as being “to promote lifelong physical activity and attainment of health related physical fitness.”
The FITNESSGRAM® Scientific Advisory Board provides the following recommendations summarizing appropriate uses of the FITNESSGRAM® for LEA applications:
- Teaching students about different types and intensities of physical activity
- Teaching students about criterion referenced health standards and health-related fitness
- Personal testing to evaluate physical activity and/or health-related fitness
- Helping students to self-monitor physical activity and track fitness results over time
- Sharing results with parents to promote family involvement and engagement
- Institutional testing to allow teachers to view group data (for curriculum development)
- Annual institutional evaluation of the fitness levels of the student population
The FITNESSGRAM® Scientific Advisory Board’s position statement can be found on the FITNESSGRAM®’s web page at https://www.cooperinstitute.org/research/ccls.
This letter also reaffirms expectations for ensuring that federal and state data privacy laws and policies are maintained when handling PFT data. As your LEA prepares for data collection and reporting for the PFT, adhering to data privacy laws is fundamental in safeguarding student education records, confidentiality, and privacy.
The results from each section of the PFT, as well as the student’s overall performance standard status, are considered student assessment results, which are protected from disclosure by applicable privacy provisions. Laws, policies, and best practices as to both general and student data privacy allow LEAs and the CDE to meet statutory responsibilities when collecting and maintaining personally identifiable information from the education records of California students. Data privacy laws include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Protects the privacy of students’ education records and provides that LEAs may disclose information in school records only with written permission from a student’s parents or from the student after the student reaches the age of eighteen (20 United States Code Section 1232(g) and 34 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 99).
- Privacy of Pupil Records. Requires that LEAs keep student records private (California Education Code sections 49062, 49073.1, 49073.6 et seq.).
- California Constitution—Article I, Section I. Prescribes that minors enjoy a right to privacy that is enforceable against private parties and government officials. The right to privacy encompasses the right to nondisclosure (autonomy privacy) as well as in the collection and dissemination of personal information such as medical records and gender identity (informational privacy).
LEAs may wish to direct further questions regarding these subjects to their legal counsel. If you have any questions regarding the PFT, please contact the CDE High School Equivalency and Outreach Office by phone at 916-445-9449 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Gregson, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent
Performance, Planning, and Technology Branch
cc: Regional Assessment Network Members