Charting the Development & Validation of a Physical Fitness Test & Maintenance Standards for Canadian Forces Diving Personnel

Research Paper Title

Phase III Report: Development and Validation of a Physical Fitness Test and Maintenance Standards for Canadian Forces Diving Personnel.


The objectives of Phase III were to develop a physical fitness test battery and maintenance standards for Canadian Forces Diving Personnel, specifically Clearance (Cl), Ships’ Team (ST), Port Inspection (PID) and Combat (Cbt) divers. Phases I and II were used to identify potential test items that could be administered as a battery of tests reflecting the physical and physiological demands of diving in the Canadian Forces (CF).

Phase III involved a number of sequential stages in order to validate the test as a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (BFOR) should it ever be legally challenged. The validation process involved the use of “convergent validity” in which a variety of sources of information are used to help establish that the test battery is measuring what it purports to measure ( i.e. ensuring that CF divers have the fitness to perform their duties in a safe and efficient way). The sources of information used in this project included a comprehensive task analysis, focus groups, individual interviews, questionnaires, video analysis, physiological assessment, and consideration of tests used by other international military diving groups. The reliability of the tests was also established, as a test cannot be valid if it is not reliable.

The project also involved establishing valid standards of performance for each task of the test battery. This part of the project relied heavily on the use of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) consisting of supervisors for each of the dive groups. The SMEs were fundamental in identifying acceptable levels of performance of the test battery. It was also important to provide some information on the potential impact of the test implementation and standards based on the population that assisted in the validation of the test battery.


Docherty, D., Goulet, L., Gaul, K., McFadyen, P. & Petersen, S. (2007) Phase III Report: Development and Validation of a Physical Fitness Test and Maintenance Standards for Canadian Forces Diving Personnel. Project Commissioned and Funded by the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) Ottawa, Canada.


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