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PE Ed Code 51210

To achieve the benefits of a comprehensive physical education program, all students must be given sufficient opportunities to attain the physical  education learning standards at each grade and course level. California law clearly establishes the priority of physical education instruction. Education Code Section 51210 requires schools to provide a minimum of 200 minutes of physical education every 10 school days, exclusive
of recesses and the lunch period, for students in grades one through eight in an elementary school setting.

 See Non-Discrimination Section


Physical Education

Physical Education Model Content Standards

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, regular physical activity is one of the most important ways to maintain and improve one’s physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. A student who participates in physical education is more likely to become a healthy adult who is motivated to remain healthy and physically active throughout his or her life.

Physical education significantly contributes to students’ well-being; therefore, it is an instructional priority for California schools and an integral part of our students’ educational experience. High-quality physical education instruction contributes to good health, develops fundamental and advanced motor skills, improves students’ self-confidence, and provides opportunities for increased levels of physical fitness that are associated with high academic achievement.

Highlights of the Standards

The five overarching model content standards for elementary and middle school students are as follows:

Standard 1: Students demonstrate the motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities.

Standard 2: Students demonstrate knowledge of movement concepts, principles, and strategies that apply to the learning and performance of physical activities.

Standard 3: Students assess and maintain a level of physical fitness to improve health and performance.

Standard 4: Students demonstrate knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles, and strategies to improve health and performance.

Standard 5: Students demonstrate and utilize knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts, principles, and strategies that apply to the learning and performance of physical activity.

In elementary school the content standards emphasize the way in which students move through space and time in their environment, the way in which the student and a partner move in space together, the continuity and change in movement, the manipulation of objects in time and through space, and the manipulation of objects with accuracy and speed.

In middle school the content standards emphasize working cooperatively to achieve a common goal, meeting challenges, making decisions, and working as a team to solve problems.

Physical Fitness Tesing Resources & Charts

California Physical Fitness Test Reports: Search DataQuest for School, Distrcit, County, and State level reports

CDE News Release: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Releases 2010 Physical FitnessResults, Announces Co-Chairs of Team California for Healthy Kids

Standards established by The Cooper Institute that represent levels of fitness that offer some degree of protection against diseases that can result from sedentary living. These standards are organized by gender and age.

2011 HFZ® Charts (PDF; 227KB; 2pp.)
NEW Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition, these standards are to be used to the 2010–11 school year. Standards are organized by gender and age.

2011 FITNESSGRAM® Performance Standards Charts (PDF; 278KB; 4pp.)
These FITNESSGRAM® Performance Standards Charts provide performance standards that differentiate the needs improvement (NI) standard:  NI–Some Risk and NI–High Risk for the Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition fitness areas. The Body Composition fitness area also has a new Very Lean fitness PS. Standards are organized by gender and age.

2006 – 2010 HFZ® Charts (PDF; 235KB; 2pp.)
Standards used for the 2006–10 school year. Standards are organized by gender and age.


2004 Fitness and Academic Achievement Study (DOC; 1084KB; 12pp.)
The 2004 Physical Fitness Test results were used to study the relationship between fitness and academic achievement.

FITNESSGRAM® Reference Guide (Outside Source) (PDF; 1.3 MB; 206pp.)
This guide provides answers to questions associated with the use and interpretation of the FITNESSGRAM® assessment.


Physical Fitness Tesing

The State Board of Education (SBE) designated the FITNESSGRAM® as the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for students in California public schools. The FITNESSGRAM® is a comprehensive, health-related physical fitness battery developed by The Cooper Institute. The primary goal of the FITNESSGRAM® is to assist students in establishing lifetime habits of regular physical activity. Both 5th and 7th grade students take the California Physical Fitness test while grades K-8 all participate in the Presidents Physical Fitness awards program. This school-wide testing is completed each spring.


The FITNESSGRAM® is composed of the following six fitness areas, with a number of test options provided for most areas:

Aerobic Capacity

  • PACER (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run)

  • One-Mile Run

  • Walk Test (only for ages 13 or older)

Abdominal Strength and Endurance

  • Curl-Up

Upper Body Strength and Endurance

  • Push-Up

  • Modified Pull-Up

  • Flexed-Arm Hang

Body Composition

  • Skinfold Measurements

  • Body Mass Index

  • Bioelectric Impedance Analyzer

Trunk Extensor Strength and Flexibility

  • Trunk Lift


  • Back-Saver Sit and Reach

  • Shoulder Stretch



Make Fitness a Habit …60 Minutes of Activity a Day!

Fit Fitness into your busy day – it will strengthen your heart, improve your appearance and lower your stress. Do it with others helps you stick to it. Commit to staying active. It is important to your health and success. Whether it is walking the dog, running, or riding your bike…make physical activity one of the healthy habits in your daily life.

Enjoy the benefits of being physically active - Students who are physically fit are better able to handle the physical and emotional challenges that they encounter during the day. They feel better, sleep better, and have more self-confidence. They are more alert and perform better academically in class.

A Student who is physically active will…

  • have stronger muscles and bones
  • have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat 
  • be less likely to become overweight 
  • decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes 
  • have lower blood pressure 
  • have lower LDL “bad” blood cholesterol levels, and raise HDL “good” cholesterol levels
  • have a better outlook on life and self-confidence

Learn how one Mom got 500 Kids Walking before School! Pam Skinner is a mom, fitness instructor, and creator of innovative programs that promote physical fitness and healthy eating. She pioneered an investive program called 'Extreme Strider Morning Walking Program' for her daughter's elementary school in Huntington Beach, CA. Pam's goal is to encourage 100,000 students in schools across the country to start a morning walking program at their own school! Commit to staying active. It is important to your health and success. Whether it is walking in the morning before school, running, or riding your bike... make physical activity on of the healthy habits in your daily life.

More on Fitness 

Jump Start for Teens
Exercise Lessons
Physical Activity & Eating Log
Value of Physical Activity
10 Tips to Healthy Eating & Physical Activity

Did you know that schools that have a daily fitness program, for as little as 15 minutes a day, can improve their standardized testing scores by OVER 10%!