Test development for evaluating 4-6-year-old children´s motor performance and recognizing problems related to it

The aim of the research was to develop a motor skills assessment tool for 4-6-year-old children that would include test items for body awareness and basic motor skills, therefore demonstrating the children’s motor performance and related problems and supporting the planning of training programs. First, the contents of nine existing motor skills assessment tools were analyzed. Then, a new pilot test was prepared to test a sample group of 906 children (the mean age 5.1 years, SD 0.41, 48% boys, 52% girls). For the reliability and validity analysis, 55 simultaneous coding by two testers (r=.844 -.992, p=.01), 30 retests (r=.823, p = .01), 38 video analyses (test-retest and inter-tester constancy 86-96%) and 29 tests by MABC (no significant differences) were implemented. Non-parametric methods were used. The sample was divided into several age groups: 4.00-4.50 years, 4.51-5.00 years, 5.01-5.50 years and 5.51-6.00 years. The existing tests analyzed included the most important motor control elements except for body awareness and dual tasks. The manuals excluded the meaning of the test items from the process’ point of view and the reasons for failing. In the KEMO test, body awareness and control correlated with balance, skipping, and the total score. Children, who failed in the dual or triple tasks, also failed in several test items and had a low total score.  Gender differences were significant (p = .000 - .05) in the group of 4.5-5.5-year-olds in several test items and with regard to the total score. Separate criteria were established for boys and girls in those items. The cut-off points of the test items and the total score are at 5% (gender ratio 4:1) and 15% (gender ratio 2:1). Problems with one test item indicates a need for training while a low total score indicates widespread problems that require therapy, a follow-up, or intervention. The test takes 15-20 minutes to complete.

Keywords: motor control, motor skills, assessment, motor performance, learning disabilities, early education, early intervention


The original dissertation is in Finnish, but there is English abstarct and summary available.
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City (for University):
University of Jyväskylä