• Athletic Placement Process (APP)


    Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (APP) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    The selection classification process was first developed in the early 1970’s. This process was developed to screen students to determine their readiness to compete in interscholastic athletic competition by evaluating their physical maturity, fitness and skill. The intent of the program is to provide for students in grades 7 through 12 to safely participate at an appropriate level of competition based upon readiness rather than age and grade. Students going out for modified teams DO NOT need to go through this process.

    After several years of implementation, in the 1990’s the physical fitness standards were updated. In 2005, the selection classification standards were revised again, however, the physical maturity and physical fitness standards were not updated at that time. The Department has continued to receive feedback from the medical community, athletic administrators, and district administrators requesting that the standards for the process be updated to reflect changes in research regarding physical fitness and maturity. The newly announced Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (APP) was revised to address those concerns in a comprehensive manner and to update the applicable standards in accordance with Commissioner’s Regulation § 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(a).

    1. When does the current Selection Classification Process end and when will the APP be effective?

    The current Selection Classification Process, last updated in 2005, will continue to be in effect through the Spring 2015 season, and will be discontinued at the conclusion of that season. The APP will be effective beginning with the Fall 2015 season. See: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/pe/documents/Athletic-Placement-Process.pdf

    2. What are the major changes to the process outlined in the APP guidance? Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation § 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(a), a school district may choose to permit students to compete at a level of competition deemed appropriate to their physiological maturity, physical fitness, and skill level in relationship to other students at the desired level of competition. However, if a district chooses to adopt such a process, the district medical director, director of physical education/athletics and ultimately the Board of Education are responsible for implementing the APP consistent with these standards.

    • A student, teacher, coach, or parent/guardian may ask the Physical Education Director and/or Athletic Director to evaluate the student for the APP. However, students will not undergo the evaluation procedures without both a request from the physical education director and/or athletic director and written permission from the parent/guardian.

    A. Physical Fitness Standards

    • The previous guidance included separate fitness tests for specific sports and levels of play. Beginning in the fall of 2015, the President’s Physical Fitness Test will be the physical fitness standard used in the APP.

    See: https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/physical/benchmarks.shtml To meet the APP physical fitness standards the student must meet the 85th percentile level of the national norm for their age in 4 out of 5 test components


    •Components of the President’s Physical Fitness test include the following:

    •Curl-ups for one minute (Measures strength and endurance) –Partner holds the feet, arms are crossed, elbows touch knees, then scapulas (Shoulder blades) touch floor for one curl up. Reminder- Bouncing not permitted

    •Shuttle Run (Measures speed and agility) -2 parallel lines marked 30 feet apart-Student picks up 2 blocks or similar, cross starting line. Times counted in seconds.

    •One Mile Run/Walk (Measure heart/lung endurance) -Times are recorded in minutes and seconds.

    •Pullups -Option 1 (Measures upper body strength and endurance) Can use either overhand grasp (palms facing away from the body) or (palm facing towards the body). Chin must clear the bar to count as a pullup. Reminder-Smooth motion rather than jerky or swing motion.

    •Right Angle Pushups -Option 2 (For upper body strength and endurance) Keeping knees and back straight, lower body until 90-degree angle.

    Sit and Reach Testing –2 Options: 1. V-Sit Reach in inches or 2. Sit & Reach in centimeters-Legs must remain straight; fingertips of both hands should reach evenly along the measuring line. (Measures flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings).

    B. Maturity Assessment

    •The role of the medical director is essentially the same in the revised process, as the medical director continues to determine the physical maturity of the student. However, in the past Selection Classification Process, the Tanner scores were required scores, based exclusively on the Tanner staging of sexual development. The requirement meant the students must be at an identical level of development per the chart. This was not realistic as there is generally a range of ages playing at a high school competition level. Additionally, the Tanner scores were identical for both sexes. This did not accurately reflect the earlier age of development of adolescent females versus adolescent males, which made it more likely that a less physically mature female could be approved to play at a higher level against physically matured females, and therefore be at greater risk of injury. Therefore, the APP maturity assessment standards were revised as follows: The medical director is instructed to take into consideration the height, weight, muscle mass, and Tanner rating as compared to the other athletes he/she would compete with. This allows for a physician to use their professional judgment taking into account the totality of the student’s overall physical development when determining whether or not the student is of a comparable or similar level of physical maturity in relation to those they wish to compete with. These changes to the Selection Classification Process were made to lessen, but not eliminate, the chances of injury for a younger student competing with older students who tend to be larger and more physically mature. This change is based on recommendations from multiple physicians and medical professionals.

    •The Tanner scores on (chart H found in the APP document) are no longer required numbers, as was the case in the previous Selection Classification Process but, are now recommended numbers for the APP. Please note: The recommended Tanner scores are based on the average Tanner score of the average aged male or female that typically competes at those levels. Tanner scores are higher for females compared to males at the same levels, which more accurately reflects the earlier ages that females achieve physical maturity.

    C. Mixed Competition

    The Department has received several questions regarding how the updated APP guidance relates to the standards for mixed competition reviews. It is important to clarify that the regulations surrounding mixed competition for participation interscholastic sports pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation §135.4(c)(7)(ii)(c) remain the same. However, the physical tests to be used under that regulation will be updated and will also follow the President’s Physical Fitness Test. The Mixed Competition Guidelines are currently under review at the Department and further communication will follow in the near future.

    Please note: In mixed competition review, the fitness scores are not intended to be qualifying or disqualifying scores. The scores that appear in the chart are not absolute requirements for the panel. The scores only provide a reference for the panel to

    consider. If the scores of the student differ from the standards, the panel should assess the significance of that difference.


    It says Tanner staging is only recommended, so our Athletic Director says if it is only recommended then we do not have to consider it?
    This is not a consideration for the Athletic Director.  Consideration of the Tanner score is still required of the medical director, along with the student’s physicality.  The APP states, “The medical director should take into consideration the height, weight, muscle mass and Tanner rating as compared to the other athletes he/she would compete with. For physical development and maturity, Tanner staging remains the least invasive tool to gauge a person’s sexual maturity rating as an indicator of physical maturation. Best practice, therefore, would dictate that the medical director use the Tanner Rating Scale and compare the developmental level of the student to the average Tanner level of students playing the sport at the desired level. The medical director may conduct the Tanner Rating examination him/herself with the prior informed consent of the parent/guardian and of the student.”

    If the student is determined to have attained the appropriate physical maturity level and comparable physical size for the desired sport and level (see Appendix C and H), the student may proceed with the APP process.


    Is Tanner staging required to sign off students for sports?
    Tanner staging is only necessary for students who wish to participate in the APP. The Tanner Scores for APP are recommended scores and not required. These recommendations were made by a Committee of individuals, including professionals from the Office of Student Support Services and the Department of Health, and a physician consultant.






    This activity measures abdominal strength and endurance.

    Curl-ups Testing

    Here’s what you do:

    Have the student lie on a cushioned, clean surface with knees flexed and feet about 12 inches from buttocks. A partner holds the feet.  Make sure the arms are crossed with hands placed on opposite shoulders and elbows held close to chest. Keeping this arm position, the student raises the trunk, curling up to touch elbows to thighs, and then lowers the back to the floor so that the scapulas (shoulder blades) touch the floor, for one curl-up. To start, a timer calls out the signal " Ready? Go!" and begins timing the student for one minute. The student stops on the word "Stop."

    Curl-ups Tip

    Instruct helpers to count aloud the number of repetitions.


    Curl-ups Scoring

    "Bouncing" off the floor is not permitted. The curl-up should be counted only if performed correctly.


    Shuttle Run

    This activity measures speed and agility.


    Here’s what you do: Mark two parallel lines 30 feet apart and place two blocks of wood or similar objects behind one of the lines.

    Student starts behind the opposite line. On the signal "Ready? Go!" the student runs to the blocks, picks one up, runs back to the starting line, places the block behind the line, runs back and picks up the second block, and runs back across the starting line.


    Be sure the participants understand the importance of running through the finish line. Participants should perform this activity on a gym floor or other appropriate surface.


    Blocks should not be thrown across the lines. Scores are recorded to the nearest tenth of a second.

    One Mile Run/Walk

    This activity measures heart/lung endurance.


    Here’s what you do: On a safe, one-mile distance, students begin running on the count "Ready? Go!"

    Walking may be interspersed with running. However, the students should be encouraged to cover the distance in as short a time as possible.


    Use a large enough running area so that no more than eight laps are necessary to complete a mile. Help participants learn proper pacing for the mile by having them run at the mile pace for short distances during warm-up time.


    Always review students’ health status before administering this test. Give students ample instruction on how to pace themselves. Allow them to practice running this distance against time, as well as sufficient time for warming up and cooling down before and after the test. Times are recorded in minutes and seconds.


    This activity measures upper body strength and endurance.

    Pull-ups Testing

    Here’s what you do:

    The student hangs from a horizontal bar at a height the student can hang from with arms fully extended and feet free from the floor, using either an overhand grip (palms facing away from body) or underhand grip (palms facing toward body). Small students may be lifted to the starting position.

    The student raises his/her body until chin clears the bar and then lowers his/her body to the full-hang starting position. The student performs as many correct pull-ups as possible.

     Pull-ups Tips

    Spend as little time hanging from the bar beforehand as possible because the extra time on the bar may reduce the number of pull-ups performed. Discourage any leg kicking or body swinging, as this may also decrease the number of repetitions.

    Pull-ups Scoring

    Pull-ups should be done in a smooth rather than jerky motion. Kicking or bending the legs is not permitted and the body must not swing during the movement.

    Right Angle Push-ups Testing

    Here’s what you do:

    The student starts in push-up position, with hands under shoulders, arms straight, fingers pointed forward, and legs straight, parallel, and slightly apart (approximately 2-4 inches) with the toes supporting the feet.

    Keeping the back and knees straight, the student then lowers the body until there is a 90-degree angle formed at the elbows, with upper arms parallel to the floor. A partner holds her/his hands at the point of the 90-degree angle so that the student being tested goes down only until her/his shoulders touch the partner’s hand, then back up.

    The push-ups are done to a metronome (or audio tape, clapping, drums) with one complete push-up every three seconds, and are continued until the student can do no more at the required pace. The student should remain in motion during the entire three second interval.

    Right Angle Push-ups Tip

    As with the pull-up, spend as little time in the starting position beforehand in order to increase the number of repetitions. Any extra movement may also decrease the number of repetitions.

    Right Angle Push-ups Scoring

    Record only those push-ups done with proper form and in rhythm.

    Right Angle Push-ups Rationale

    Right angle push-ups are a good indicator of the range of strength/endurance found in kids, whereas some kids are unable to do any pull-ups. Pull-ups remain an option for those students at higher levels of strength/endurance.

    V-sit Reach

    This activity measures flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings.

    V-sit Reach Testing

    Here’s what you do:

    A measuring line four feet long is drawn perpendicular to the midpoint of the baseline, extending two feet on each side and marked off in half-inches. The point where the baseline and measuring line intersect is the "0" point.

    Student removes his/her shoes and sits on floor with measuring line between his/her legs and the soles of his/her feet placed directly behind the baseline, with the heels 8-12 inches apart.

    With hands on top of each other, palms down, the student places them on measuring line. With the legs held flat by a partner, the student slowly reaches forward as far as possible, keeping fingers on the measuring line and feet flexed. After three practice tries, the student holds the fourth reach for three seconds while that distance is recorded.

    V-sit Reach Tip

    Participants are most flexible after a warm-up run. Best results may occur immediately after performing the endurance run.

    V-sit Reach Rules

    Legs must remain straight with soles of feet held perpendicular to the floor (feet flexed). Students should be encouraged to reach slowly rather than "bounce" while stretching. Scores, recorded to the nearest half inch, are read as plus scores for reaches beyond baseline, minus scores for reaches behind baseline.

    Sit and Reach Testing

    Here’s what you do:

    You’ll need a specially constructed box with a measuring scale marked in centimeters, with 23 centimeters at the level of the feet.

    The student removes shoes and sits on floor with knees fully extended, feet shoulder-width apart and soles of the feet held flat against the end of the box.With hands on top of each other, palms down, and legs held flat, student reaches along the measuring line as far as possible. After three practice reaches, the fourth reach is held while the distance is recorded.

    Sit and Reach Tip

    Participants are most flexible after a warm-up run. Best results may occur immediately after performing the endurance run.

    Sit and Reach Rules

    Legs must remain straight, soles of feet against box, and fingertips of both hands should reach evenly along the measuring line. Scores are recorded to the nearest centimeter. 


    Physical Fitness: Scores

    Required for the Athletic Placement Process Choose one1

    Choose one2




    # in one minute

    Shuttle Run

    in seconds

    V-sit Reach

    in inches

    Sit & Reach

    in centimeters

    1 Mile-Walk/Run








    # every 3 sec.