The Army’s newest physical fitness test has changed just days before test scores were set to become record for Soldiers taking the test.
On March 23, the Army released the newest test events and timelines for the test to be taken for record. The biggest changes included the replacement of the leg tuck event with the plank, inclusion of age and gender performance-normed scoring scale, and addition of the 2.5-mile walk as an alternate aerobic event.
“Based on analysis of observed test data, the Army determined that the plank simply provides a more accurate measure of core strength for all Soldiers,” read an Army release. “The RAND independent study observed that the leg tuck was not an accurate predictor of core strength of all Soldiers, as it requires a minimum pre-requisite upper body strength that made it impossible to measure core strength across all Soldiers commensurately.”
According to the website, the RAND Corporation, a third party, non-biased corporation, provided an evaluation of the new test through data gathered by the Army containing diagnostic ACFT scores, interviews and discussions with members of the workforce and subject-matter experts, and a review and assessment of ACFT relevant research, plans, policies and other guidance. This study helped implement the changes to the ACFT.
The age and gender performance-normed scoring scales brought back a similar feel of the previous physical fitness test where minimum and maximum events scores change with age and gender groups.
“The shift to an age and gender performance-normed scoring scale was based on thorough analysis of all data, Soldier feedback, and analysis from the RAND independent study. The adjustment in scoring scales more accurately reflect a distribution of performance across all elements of the Army and ensures a fair transition to a new fitness test of record. The resulting ACFT scoring scales are still rigorous and will enable the Army to promote a culture of physical fitness and readiness,” the release stated.
The final element of change included the new timeline of when ACFT scores will become record. Until the end of fiscal year 2022, active-duty and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers will continue to prepare for the ACFT until Oct. 1, 2022, when test scores will be for record. Reserve and National Guard component Soldiers will also continue preparing for the test of record until April 1, 2023, when their test score will also be for record.
This change will ensure all Soldiers will be given adequate time to prepare for record test scoring. Until the dates of “for record” are reached, failing ACFT score will not be used in consideration of flags, reenlistment, evaluations, promotion points, separations, and evaluation boards for Soldiers.
“The Army seeks to transform the culture of fitness within the Army to maximize readiness and reduce preventable injuries and attrition,” according to the release. “The phased implementation provides Soldiers time to improve on individual events prior to making taking the test for record. We are confidant Soldiers’ performance on ACFT will increase with time, training and under “for record” test conditions.”
For a full list of ACFT grading scales, event descriptions and suggested exercises to improve in each event, visit www.army.mil/acft.