Date of Conferral







Patti Barrows


Past research has indicated a significant relationship between physical fitness and standardized test scores; however, the relationship between physical fitness and other aspects of school performance has yet to be empirically examined in a population specifically composed of middle school girls. This study examined several factors that contribute to school success, such as classroom behavior, attendance, and grades, in relation to physical fitness among a group of adolescent girls. It was specifically designed to examine the statistical relationship between physical fitness, as measured by the Fitnessgram, and quantitative data on school performance including grades, standardized test scores, school behavior, and attendance among 280 middle school girls. The biopsychosocial theory was used as the basis of this study, with the biological factors of fitness levels and BMI, psychological factors of grades and test scores, and social factors of attendance and behavior. A 1-way between-subjects multivariate analysis of variance demonstrated that the psychological and social factors of school performance were significantly affected by the biological factor of physical fitness. A significant correlation was also found between BMI, grades, and attendance. Positive social change implications include informing school administrators on the importance of increasing the emphasis on physical activity instead of replacing physical activity with additional time in core academic subjects. In addition, the results demonstrate the important relationship between school performance and physical fitness in middle school girls and underscore the importance of fostering physical fitness within this distinct group of middle school-aged girls.