'Sportmotorische Bestandesaufnahme': Criterion- vs. norm-based reference values of fitness tests for Swiss first grade children

L. Tomatis*, A. Krebs, J. Siegenthaler, K. Murer, E.D. de Bruin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Health is closely linked to physical activity and fitness. It is therefore important to monitor fitness in children. Although many reports on physical tests have been published, data comparison between studies is an issue. This study reports Swiss first grade norm values of fitness tests and compares these with criterion reference data. A total of 10,565 boys (7.18 +/- 0.42 years) and 10,204 girls (7.14 +/- 0.41 years) were tested for standing long jump, plate tapping, 20-m shuttle run, lateral jump and 20-m sprint. Average values for six-, seven- and eight-year-olds were analysed and reference curves for age were constructed. Z-values were generated for comparisons with criterion references reported in the literature. Results were better for all disciplines in seven-year-old first grade children compared to six-year-old children (p <0.01). Eight-year-old children did not perform better compared to seven-year-old children in the sprint run (p = 0.11), standing long jump (p > 0.99) and shuttle run (p = 0.43), whereas they were better in all other disciplines compared to their younger peers. The average performance of boys was better than girls except for tapping at the age of 8 (p = 0.06). Differences in performance due to testing protocol and setting must be considered when test values from a first grade setting are compared to criterion-based benchmarks. In a classroom setting, younger children tended to have better results and older children tended to have worse outcomes when compared to their age group criterion reference values. Norm reference data are valid allowing comparison with other data generated by similar test protocols applied in a classroom setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2015


  • percentile curves
  • criterion reference
  • Fitness test
  • norm reference
  • testing protocol


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