Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Understanding the NAPFA test

Since I've been talking about fitness, I thought I'd expound on the NAPFA test that all primary school (from p4), secondary school and pre-university kids have to undergo every year. NAPFA, or National Physical Fitness Award, has existed from way back in my time. It's a standardised assessment of overall fitness for the masses and for lack of a better measurement, is quite a good gauge as to how fit your kids are.

The test is held in August for primary schools and April for secondary schools. It comprises a series of six items designed to test fitness, strength and flexibility:
  1. Sit-ups (in one minute)
  2. Standing broad jump
  3. Sit and reach
  4. Inclined pull-ups (for females and males up to 14)/Pull-ups (for males above 14)
  5. Shuttle run (4x10m)
  6. 1.6km/2.4km (primary school/secondary school and pre-U)
The last item is usually tested on a different day from the other five items.

The child's performance for each item is compared to a chart based on age and gender, and graded from A to F. I've since posted the score charts for primary school and secondary school/pre-U, if you need to refer. If you score at least an E for every item and at least 6 points, you get a Bronze award. At least a D grade for every item and 15 points, you get a Silver award. For Gold, you need to score at least a C grade for every item and 21 points.

Here's the tricky bit: the critical word is "every". Meaning that if your child scores A for five items and fails one item, he's considered to have failed the NAPFA test. This is a sore point with many people who can't master one of the items, often the standing broad jump or sit and reach, due to lack of flexibility.

Although participation is compulsory, there are no academic consequences if students fail the NAPFA test. Of course you are encouraged to pass it and hey, there's the personal satisfaction of knowing that you're fit. Boys have an added incentive to do well - if they attain at least a silver grade at age 18, they only need to undergo just two months of Basic Military Training (BMT) in their National Service instead of three. That's an attractive proposition if I ever saw one!

Many kids try to aim for an award - Lesley-Anne is one of them. The 1.6km is the toughest item for her, so Kenneth trains her for it by bringing her to the stadium and helping her work on her stamina and timing. Despite this, she usually finishes one of the last in her class. Still, she has managed to attain the Gold award for all three years from p4-6 and I'm proud of her achievement because she had to really sweat for it. By the way, when I was back in school, I hated, hated the NAPFA test. It's a miracle I passed at all.

Since there's no escaping the NAPFA test, might as well give it your best shot. Go for it - I'll be cheering you on from my sofa.


daphne said...

Mon, loved the last 3 words.... from my sofa. :D

monlim said...

That's me, the couch potato :D

Veronica_L said...

Brings me back to the time when I failed every year in pri sch. I was one of those PE-slackers that could pass but didn't bother to try. =)

monlim said...


Karmeleon said...

Our kids are small-sized, so I always find this NAPFA test rather unfair since the criteria used is based not on their size(weight/height) but according to their birthdays. *sigh*.

My girl used to get bronze while her classmates who are much bigger in size than her and not passed their birthday for the year would perform at the same level and get gold.

She's super happy now bc in secondary school, they test NAPFA before her birthday. So she gets gold. ;-)

Our no.3 who's in P4 now but is the size of an average p2, recently had his NAPFA scheduled 2 days after his birthday. How sad.

monlim said...

My kids are also always on the small side. But on the bright side, small kids tend to be faster!

breve1970 said...

This brings back not so fond memories of my Physical Fitness Tests back in school. The only items that I can do quite well are Sit & Reach and the 1.2km Run. Could never do well for the rest. Failed the Test back in P5... and barely passed in P6. LOL.

E.T. said...

Anyone know a good NAPFA trainer? Tks!

HASu Media Pte Ltd said...

Hey there,

There is this IPPT / NAPFA Tracker for you to track your NAPFA result.

So no need to wait once a year to make sure you pass.

Practise, practise, practise! :)

HASu Media Pte Ltd said...


the link is

Anonymous said...

Your blog is amazing. I am mesmerized.
Regarding NAPFA,
my kids train together with me during recess just jogging 10 minutes a day and they were not forced. We did it for one month together. It was awe inspiring to see your students running with you and putting in effort and almost the whole class, Priceless!

Superjared said...

That's a nice blog! I had to train a lot for my napfa.

Anonymous said...

Lol i hate napfa. Im the one person in my class slowly strolling thru the 2.4km run. The only thing i can pass is sit n reach cuz im flexible lol.

Jade said...

1.2?! Unfair ah!! Our sch makes us run that every week ouch! XD

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