Fremont fitness improves, but 90% still fail one test

There’s good and bad news about Fremont and the California physical fitness test.

The good news is more students in the Class of 2012 passed all categories of the fitness test when they were freshmen.

The bad news is that the school is still failing miserably overall.

More than 90 percent of Fremont freshmen failed at least one of the tests in 2008-09. In California, the failure rate was 66 percent.

 “We need to do a better job as educators of communicating of how important physical education is – from grade school through high school,” said Paul Coover, a first-year PE teacher and a coach for cross country and track.

According to the California Department of Education Website, public school students in grades five, seven and nine are required to take the Physical Fitness Tests, whether or not they are enrolled in a physical education class. The state released the fitness test results on Nov. 30.

 The tests evaluate students in many areas, including aerobic capacity, upper body strength and endurance. Students must do many exercises for the test, including a one-mile run, pushups and modified pull-ups.

When asked why the failure rate of the fitness tests was so high among her classmates last year, sophomore Christina Nguyen said, “Students did not take it seriously … and some students are just lazy.”

Students from all four schools at Fremont improved slightly over the year before.

Last year, 12.6 percent of Mandela freshmen passed all six tests, up from 4.3 percent in 2007-08. Coover said he thought that, “Athletes who play a sport after school are more likely to pass all six portions.”

About 78 percent of the Mandela students passed three or more of the tests.

Just six miles away, however, 49.5 percent of the freshmen at Piedmont High School passed all six tests and 97 percent passed at least three of the six.

Piedmont has a median income of $134,270, while the median income for households in Fremont’s Zip Code is $38,281.

According to a study by the California Endowment, “Disparities in obesity rates among ethnic minority youth may be attributed to below-average levels of physical activity, particularly girls.”