JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCE & MEDICINE
MOVEMENT SKILL ASSESSMENT OF TYPICALLY DEVELOPING PRESCHOOL CHILDREN: A REVIEW OF SEVEN MOVEMENT SKILL ASSESSMENT TOOLS
Wouter Cools1, Kristine De Martelaer1, Christiane Samaey1 and Caroline Andries2
1Department of Movement Education and Sport Training, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, 2Department of Developmental and Lifespan Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
© Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2009) 8, 154 - 168
Search Google Scholar for Citing Articles
|The importance of movement is often overlooked because it is such
a natural part of human life. It is, however, crucial for a child's physical,
cognitive and social development. In addition, experiences support learning
and development of fundamental movement skills. The foundations of those
skills are laid in early childhood and essential to encourage a physically
active lifestyle. Fundamental movement skill performance can be examined
with several assessment tools. The choice of a test will depend on the context
in which the assessment is planned. This article compares seven assessment
tools which are often referred to in European or international context.
It discusses the tools' usefulness for the assessment of movement skill
development in general population samples. After a brief description of
each assessment tool the article focuses on contents, reliability, validity
and normative data. A conclusion outline of strengths and weaknesses of
all reviewed assessment tools focusing on their use in educational research
settings is provided and stresses the importance of regular data collection
of fundamental movement skill development among preschool children.
Key words: Early childhood, psychomotor performance, motor development, validity, reliability.
children attending preschool range in age from three to six, although
in Europe some differences between countries exist (Eurydice, 2002).
This age period is a sensitive period for the development of fundamental
movement skills [FMS] (Gallahue and Donnely, 2003).
Because most preschool children are naturally curious, love to play and
explore, these FMS are learned very easily. Especially when stimulation,
opportunities to play and to be physically active or sport are offered.
The mastery of certain FMS is a prerequisite for daily life functioning
and participation in later physical or sport-specific activities.
Although the movement skill assessment tools vary in specific applications, the basic concepts of assessment all operate similarly.
|MOVEMENT SKILL ASSESSMENT TOOLS|
für vier- bis sechsjährige Kinder (MOT 4-6) [Zimmer and Volkamer, 1987]
Assessment Battery for Children (Movement-ABC - Movement-ABC 2) (Henderson
and Sugden, 1992;
Henderson, Sugden and Barnett 2007)
Developmental Motor Scales- Second Edition (PDMS-2) [Folio and Fewell,
Folio and Fewell, 2000]
für Kinder (KTK) [Kiphard and Shilling, 1974;
Kiphard and Schilling, 2007]
of Gross Motor Development, Second Edition (TGMD-2) [Ulrich, 1985;
Motoriek Test (MMT) [Vles et al., 2004]
Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP-BOT-2) [Bruininks, 1978; Bruininks and Bruininks, 2005]
scoring system varies according to the individual items; it ranges from
a 2-point scale to a 13-point scale. The raw scores can be converted into
a standard numerical score. Results can be aggregated into a fine manual
control composite, a manual coordination composite, a body coordination
composite and a strength and agility composite. The sum of scores results
in a total motor composite. The time required to assess one individual
varies between 45 to 60 minutes for the complete test and between 15 and
20 minutes for the short form.
|ADMINISTRATIVE AND ORGANIZATIONAL ASPECTS|
|RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY|
assessment instrument that is not valid is utterly useless. An assessment
tool that is not reliable cannot be valid. (Burton and Miller, 1998,
|NORMATIVE DATA AND ORIGIN OF THE MOTOR ASSESSMENT TOOLS|
When using a motor development test in an educational setting, a reference is needed to rank the performance of a child. However, prudence is recommended because the normative data are often based on small samples, are rather old or aim at motor deficiencies rather than motor capacities. Table 5 shows information on the normative data, along with the authors and the origin of the tool (country), the specific age range, the number of children in the sample and sampling method. Most motor developmental assessment tools in this review have normative data that are only representative for the US population. Some of the data differentiates for ethnicity, race, gender, etc. Only the Movement-ABC test has relatively recent normative data for European children. The KTK and MOT 4-6 and the MMT tests also provide normative data for European children. Some of these data have as a minus point that they are rather dated and limited because they were mainly used in the country of origin (See Table 5).
|CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE USE OF MOTOR ASSESSMENT TOOLS|
most fundamental criticism on movement skill assessment tools is that they
do not have the same psychometric quality as tools used to assess cognitive
development (Netelenbos, 2001a, 2001b).
According to this author, there are five main reasons for this particular
shortcoming. First, cognitive development is considered the most important
developmental goal and since there is limited evidence that information
on movement skill development supports a better understanding of cognitive
development, the interest in movement skill development is limited. Secondly,
PE is often not valued as high as other subjects. Third, there is no evidence
for the existence of undivided motor capacity. Measuring a large number
of items using simple tasks might be a possible solution, but will become
too time consuming. Fourth, possibly contradictory results on gender differences
do not stimulate the creation of gender neutral, reliable and valid assessment
tools. According to Netelenbos, 2001b gender differences emerge at eleven or later, but not
all authors agree with this statement. For example; Pendersen et al. (2003)
and Ulrich, 2000 report
on clear gender differences for gross and fine movement skills and Van Waelvelde
et al., 2003
state it is a shortcoming of many movement tests for children not to offer
separate norms for boys and girls. Finally, there are great discrepancies
between children of the same age range. Especially when total test scores
are used for analysis, a test user should be aware of possible low correlation
between different motor tasks. There are no specific age norms for the acquisition
of FMS. The complexity of movement skills assessment reflects a multifactor
identity of the motor system, the possible presence of gender or cultural
differences and the large variance within children of the same age. In a
diagnosis process the use of more than one assessment tool is recommended
Table 6 shows strengths and weaknesses of the different movement skill assessment tools for use with typically developing children in a preschool research setting.
Many different factors influence the choice of a movement assessment tool. To make a selection of the test(s) that will be used in educational research settings, the following criteria should be considered:
overview of normative data underlines the one-sided normative US samples
used in assessment tools and the scarcity of validity for cross cultural
use of the tests (See Table 5). The
available data are either dated and/or based on small age group samples.
This supports the importance of including European preschool children
to provide adequate normative data for cross cultural use of these tests.
The challenges involve choosing appropriate test items because clearly
identified differences between movement skill development of American
and European children exist and as already mentioned, there is a shortage
of up to date information on movement skill development and performance
in Europe (Peerlings, 2007;
Simons and Van Hombeeck, 2003;
Vanvuchelen et al., 2003).
In conclusion, the primary goal of most of the reviewed instruments is to
detect deficiencies in movement skill development. Most of the studies using
these tools hardly discuss the variation in motor skill development of typically
developing children and most of the data on typically developing children
have been gathered by professionals educated for the detection of irregular
motor behavior. A suggestion for further research is that PE teachers are
also involved in normative data collection.
However, the goal of early detection can only be pursued if the there is a precise and up-to date description of typical movement skill development and performance of a particular population. Therefore, it is just as important that long term follow up of FMS development is performed and continued, and that well considered measures are taken to enhance FMS development.
|This work was supported by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel [OZR989BOF].|
Motoriktest fur vier- bis sechsjährige Kinder,
Employment: Research assistant, PhD-student at the Department of Movement Education and Sport Training, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy.
Research interests: Physical education with focus on physical activity and movement skill development.
Kristine De MARTELAER
Employment: Professor at the Department of Movement Education and Sport Training, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy.
Research interests: Pedagogy with focus on experiences and expectations of children and teachers / coaches with PE, sport and BLS, competences and job profile of teachers PE and youth coaches, Physical Education Teacher Education, motor development of young children in relation with the movement culture and education through dance.
Employment: Department of Movement Education and Sport Training, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Research interests: Psychomotor development and behavior in the age range of 0 to 8years old.
Employment: Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Head of the Department of Developmental and Lifespan Psychology.
Research interests: Developmental psychology with a focus on epidemiology and prevention of risk behavior in adolescents and dyslexia.