Students will take the National Physical Fitness Award (Napfa) test every alternate year instead of annually, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday.
The change, which will come into effect next year, will support a far-reaching revamp to the Physical Education (PE) syllabus which aims to encourage children to keep fit beyond school and instil more holistic values.
MOE's director of student development curriculum, Madam Liew Wei Li, said that conducting Napfa tests in alternate years - in Primary 4 and 6, Secondary 2 and 4 or 5, and Junior College Year 2 - "creates time and space for us to carry out a larger range of activities".
The way PE is graded will also change as part of the revamp, which will be rolled out progressively from next year and introduced in all schools by 2016. Instead of scoring A to C, report cards will provide a qualitative description of a student's ability on six fronts. They include the values and attitudes demonstrated during lessons, participation levels, and how much students take part in physical activities with family and friends outside of school.
Performance in the Napfa test will be assessed using bands from "Outstanding Performance" to "Needs Improvement", and the student's body mass index will be included.
This new grading system, which will be implemented in all schools in 2016, reflects the new PE syllabus' focus on recreational sports and team play, instead of competitions and passing the Napfa test.
One primary school teacher whom The Straits Times spoke to said that in the months leading up to the Napfa test, a large portion of PE time is used to train pupils for the various stations, including the standing broad jump and a 1.6km run. Secondary and JC students have to run 2.4km.