System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time

Author of Tool: 

Thomas L. McKenzie, Ph.D.

Key references: 

McKenzie, T. L. (2002). The use of direct observation to assess physical activity. In G. Welk (Ed.), Physical activity assessments for health-related research (pp. 179-195). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

McKenzie, T. L., Sallis, & Nader, P. R. (1991). SOFIT: System for observing fitness instruction time. Journal of
Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 195-205. (Original paper)

Primary use / Purpose: 

The SOFIT was designed to obtain simultaneous objective data on student activity levels, the lesson context in which they occur, and how teachers interact regarding promoting physical activity and fitness during physical education, exercise classes, and sport practices.


SOFIT (System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time) is a comprehensive tool for assessing physical education classes by providing for the simultaneous collection of data on student activity levels, the lesson context, and teacher behavior. Physical activity engagement is one of the main health-related goals of physical education and it is needed in order for students to become physically fit and physically skilled. Participation in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during class is highly dependent upon how physical education subject matter is delivered (i.e., lesson context) and the instructor delivering it (i.e., teacher behaviour).


SOFIT has been validated in several ways and studies have shown that it can be used reliably
in diverse instructional settings (see SOFIT Manual).



Digital Object Identifier (DOI):