Posted on Sep 2, 2015
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
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A few months back, I posed the question "Do we adequately teach running." This got the cogs turning as well as several discussions regarding fitness for the following question.

Do we adequately TEST Physical Fitness?

As it stands, we generally take a couple hours, toss on the PT gear, and do a three (3) Test Battery to determine if someone is Physically Fit. It's my stance that this is a Health Test, and a very simple one at that.

But it got me to thinking, we most of our other Tests, across the board, they are far more extensive. If you were to take the ASVAB again, it would take a while, and though many of us would consider various sections easier than others, none of us would know the answers in advance. The same would apply to the Language battery.

Why is it that the Physical Fitness Test, is simplified to the point, where if it was academic, we would have no choice but to accuse the participants of "cheating" just because they know the answers in advance?

I realize there is a level of difficulty inherent in the scoring. Especially in "maxing" any of the Services's tests, but moving away from the test itself and looking at the philosophy behind it.

As I said, it's a Health Test. So, does the PFT promote good Health? Do people develop healthy habits in pursuit of maxing the test? I cannot in good faith say yes to that question. Even more so, the (battery of) test(s) doesn't necessarily punish unhealthy habits.

So all that said, would a better battery of tests be more extensive? Rather than 3 tests + Height/Weight (all pass/fail), should would we move to 10+ tests, where height/weight/tape, etc are all components (points instead of pass fail)?

Would that better support the philosophy?

Your thoughts appreciated.
Posted in these groups: Logo_no_word_s FitnessPft_logo PFTP542 APFTPrt_logo PRT (Army)
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Responses: 8
MAJ Contracting Officer
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I'm still stuck on the "PT should test your ability to do your MOS in combat" approach.
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MAJ Public Affairs Specialist
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As much as I hate to say anything good about the Marines, I think they test better than the Army does. Two different tests in a year. I'm sure a Marine will expand on it but one test is more of a "traditional" test and the other is more of what may need to happen on a battle field.

I like the idea of two different tests designed to test different aspects of physical readiness.
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LCDR Deputy Department Head
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I agree that a change would be beneficial and making everything pass/fail would also make sense. The more categories tested the more realistic the assessment actually is.
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MAJ Public Affairs Specialist
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I like the pass/fail concept but Soldiers possess a strong competitive streak and the desire to better than their battle buddy drives them to be in better physical condition.
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