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THE EVALUATION OF MOTOR COMPETENCE IN TYPICALLY DEVELOPING CHILDREN: AN INTEGRATIVE REVIEW

AVALIAÇÃO DA COMPETÊNCIA MOTORA EM CRIANÇAS COM UM DESENVOLVIMENTO NORMAL: REVISÃO INTEGRATIVA

ABSTRACT

The development of motor competence (MC) is essential in childhood. In this respect, previous studies have found several positive associations of the MC with physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, physical fitness, and perceived physical competence, as well as an inverse association with weight status. The lack of MC during this stage might, therefore, compromise the future adoption of active and healthier lifestyles. This review aimed at listing and examining the different instruments that have been used to evaluate MC in typically developing children, pointing the weakness and strengths from the perspective of Physical Education (PE) teachers. A systematic search of six electronic databases was conducted. Research designs included cross-sectional, longitudinal or experimental/quasi-experimental. Forty-two articles were identified according to the inclusion criteria. A preference for quantitative measures (21 studies) was verified comparatively to a more qualitative approach (13 studies), although eight studies used both measures. Additionally, we have found that 34 studies used standardized protocol tests and eight studies used protocols developed by the authors. In general the protocols exhibited some strong points, however several presented weaknesses that can limit their application in PE classes, such as the excessive amount of time required, the large number of tasks, the ceiling or floor effects, and the fact that not all MC components are simultaneously evaluated. Different instruments and methodologies have been used to evaluate MC. Finally, a quantitative standardized protocol test is suggested, with proper reliability and validity, which can be used by physical education professionals.

KeyWords:
Child; Adolescent; Motor competence; Review; Physical education.

RESUMO

O desenvolvimento da competência motora é essencial na infância. Estudos anteriores encontraram várias associações positivas da CM com a atividade física, aptidão cardiorrespiratória, aptidão física e competência motora percebida, bem como uma associação inversa com o peso. A falta de CM durante a infância pode, portanto, comprometer a futura adopção de estilos de vida ativos e saudáveis. Esta revisão tem como objetivo verificar e examinar os diferentes instrumentos que têm sido utilizados para avaliar CM em crianças com desenvolvimento típico, referindo ainda a fraqueza e os pontos fortes do ponto de vista dos professores de Educação Física. Foi realizada uma pesquisa sistemática em seis bases de dados electrónicas. Foram incluídos estudos transversais, longitudinais e experimentais/quasi-experimentais. Quarenta e dois artigos foram identificados de acordo com os critérios de inclusão. A preferência por medidas quantitativas (21 estudos) foi verificada relativamente a uma abordagem mais qualitativa (13 estudos), embora oito estudos utilizaram ambas as medidas. Além disso, descobrimos que 34 estudos usaram protocolos estandardizados e oito estudos protocolos desenvolvidos pelos autores utilizados. Em geral, os protocolos exibiram alguns pontos fortes, no entanto várias deficiências foram apresentadas que podem limitar a sua aplicação em aulas de educação física, tais como a quantidade excessiva de tempo necessário para avaliar, o grande número de tarefas, os efeitos de teto ou de chão, e o facto de que nem todos as componentes da CM são avaliadas simultaneamente. Diferentes instrumentos e metodologias têm sido utilizadas para avaliar a CM, no entanto não parece existir um instrumento ideal. Por fim, é sugerido um protocolo quantitativo padronizado, com fiabilidade e validade adequada, que pode ser usado por profissionais de educação física.

Palavras-chave:
Criança; Adolescentes; Competência Motora; Revisão; Educação Física.

Introduction

In general, Motor Competence (MC) can be described as a person’s ability to be proficient on an large array of fine and/or gross motor acts or skills11. Fransen J, D’Hondt E, Bourgois J, Vaeyens R, Philippaerts RM, Lenoir M. Motor competence assessment in children: convergent and discriminant validity between the BOT-2 Short Form and KTK testing batteries. Research in developmental disabilities. Elsevier Ltd.; 2014 Jun;35(6):1375-83. . MC is often used in the literature as a concept that entails a wide variety of terms (i.e., fundamental motor skill or movement, motor proficiency or performance, motor ability, motor coordination, agility, and fine motor proficiency). For the purpose of this study, MC is specifically defined as the mastery of human gross movement, which depends of an optimal development of Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS), comprising locomotor (e.g., leaping, galloping or vertical jump), stability (e.g., dynamic and static balance) and manipulative (e.g., catching, throwing and kicking) skills22. Gallahue D, Ozmun J, Goodway J. Understanding motor development : infants, children, adolescents, adults. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012. ),(33. Luz C, Rodrigues LP, Almeida G, Cordovil R. Development and validation of a model of motor competence in children and adolescents. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. Sports Medicine Australia; 2015 Jul; . These skills are essential for future acquisition of specialised motor skills (more complex movements) employed in many organized and non-organized physical activities for children and adolescents44. Clark J, Metcalfe JS. The mountain of motor development: a metaphor. In: Clark J, Humphrey J, editors. Motor development : research & reviews. Reston VA: National Association for Sport and Physical Education; 2002. p. 163-190. . For example, the mastery of specific FMS, like kicking and running, allows a child to successfully play soccer and to be more proficient, achieving higher levels of MC. Moreover, a recent systematic review has shown that MC, in childhood, is closely associated with health-related physical fitness, particularly in the components of cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness55. Cattuzzo MT, Dos Santos Henrique R, Ré AHN, Oliveira IS, Melo BM, Sousa Moura M, et al. Motor competence and health related physical fitness in youth: A systematic review. Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia. 2016 Feb;19(2):123-9. .

Motor competence during childhood is influenced by a combination of environmental factors, opportunities and experiences, encouragement, and instruction22. Gallahue D, Ozmun J, Goodway J. Understanding motor development : infants, children, adolescents, adults. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012. , making schools and Physical Education (PE) classes a place of choice to its development. Increasing Physical Activity (PA) levels does not seem to be enough to promote a gradual and positive development of MC66. Fisher A, Reilly JJ, Kelly LA, Montgomery C, Williamson A, Paton JY, et al. Fundamental movement skills and habitual physical activity in young children. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37:684-8. therefore, structured practice opportunities should be offered to children77. Hardy LL, Reinten-Reynolds T, Espinel P, Zask A, Okely AD. Prevalence and correlates of low fundamental movement skill competency in children. Pediatrics. 2012 Aug;130(2):e390-398. ),(88. Cohen KE, Morgan PJ, Plotnikoff RC, Callister R, Lubans DR. Physical Activity and Skills Intervention: SCORES Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2014. . Since children spend much of their days at school, and is assumed that these have the necessary equipment, personnel and facilities99. Bauer U. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Vol. 60, MMWR. Recommendations and reports : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports / Centers for Disease Control. 2011. 1-76 p. , PE classes are the ideal environment for promoting suitable MC experiences1010. Bailey R. Physical education and sport in schools: a review of benefits and outcomes. The Journal of school health. 2006 Oct;76(8):397-401. .

For most children, PE is the opportunity they have to engage in structured practice that specifically aims the development of MC, physical fitness, and health-enhancing PA, especially at high-intensity levels1111. McKenzie TL, Lounsbery MaF. Physical Education Teacher Effectiveness in a Public Health Context. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 2013;84(August 2015):419-30. . In several countries, PE classes are integrated into the school curriculum from the age of three, with great focus on development of MC1212. Couturier L, Chepko S, Holt/Hale S. National standards & grade-level outcomes for K-12 physical education. Champaign Illinois: Human Kinetics; 2014. . Recent findings have shown that MC can be improved with proper training given by PE teachers or highly trained classroom teachers1313. Morgan PJ, Barnett LM, Cliff DP, Okely AD, Scott Ha, Cohen KE, et al. Fundamental movement skill interventions in youth: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2013 Nov;132(5):e1361-1383. , although the former are recognizably in a unique position to provide and promote PE programs that enhance MC1414. Sallis JF, McKenzie TL, Beets MW, Beighle A, Erwin H, Lee S. Physical Education’s Role in Public Health: Steps Forward and Backward Over 20 Years and HOPE for the Future. Vol. 83, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2012. p. 125-35. .

Given the importance of MC promotion in childhood and the existing possibility of developing it with proper experiences in several contexts (e.g., sports training and PE classes), it becomes vital to be able to systematically evaluate children’s MC. These evaluations allow to identify possible motor delays, and to assess the effects of motor experiences, providing adequate information for future interventions1515. Hands B. How can we best measure Fundamental Movement Skills ? Health Sciences Conference Papers. 2002;3-5. . Many different MC assessment instruments have been developed for this purpose; however, their lack of range in terms of assessed competences represents a major challenge for the physical educator. Furthermore, the wide variation of used instruments has hampered the development of longitudinal research and the comparison of results across studies1616. Stodden DF, Goodway JD, Langendorfer SJ, Roberton MA, Rudisill ME, Garcia C, et al. A Developmental Perspective on the Role of Motor Skill Competence in Physical Activity: An Emergent Relationship. Quest. 2008 May;60(2):290-306. .

Motor competence can be assessed through quantitative and qualitative methods1717. Lam HMY. Assessment of preschoolers’ gross motor proficiency: revisiting Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency. Early Child Development and Care. 2011 Feb;181(2):189-201. . Quantitative methods are generally product-oriented, measuring the performance outcome (e.g., speed, distance) with a more user-friendly approach1717. Lam HMY. Assessment of preschoolers’ gross motor proficiency: revisiting Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency. Early Child Development and Care. 2011 Feb;181(2):189-201. . Qualitative methods are process-oriented, providing insight into the form or characteristics of the movement and comparing it with a mature model of performance. These methods tend to focus on critical components of the movement and usually require a more advanced knowledge on the movement components. In addition, qualitative approaches can be used to identify developmental changes and children’s different levels of performance1818. Miller J, Vine K, Larkin D. The relationship of process and product performance of the two-handed sidearm strike. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy. 2007 Feb;12(1):61-76. ),(1919. Lopes VP, Stodden DF, Bianchi MM, Maia JAR, Rodrigues LP. Correlation between BMI and motor coordination in children. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2012 Jan;15(1):38-43. . The data that are generated from these two methods are also different since qualitative methods produce ratio data and qualitative methods tend to be ordinal2020. Wright BD, Linacre JM. Observations are always ordinal; measurements, however, must be interval. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 1989;70(12):857-60. .

Numerous instruments have been developed to assess MC in typical and atypically developing children. In a review, Cools and colleagues2121. Cools W, Martelaer KDe, Samaey C, Andries C. Movement skill assessment of typically developing preschool children : A review of seven movement skill assessment tools. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2009;8:154-68. looked closely into seven MC assessment instruments, pointing out the weaknesses and strengths of each one of them. However, this review was limited to preschool ages and standardized protocols. Our present work adds to this topic by expanding the age range and the type of instruments used (including non-standardized). The aim of this study was to conduct an integrative review of all different instruments used to assess MC in typically developing children, and to point out the weakness and strengths in respect to the applicability by PE or by elementary classroom teachers.

Methods

The guidelines defined in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) Statement2222. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS medicine. 2009 Jul 21;6(7):e1000097. were used to organize this review.

Eligibility Criteria

Two authors (CL and GA) independently assessed the eligibility of the studies according to the following inclusion criteria: i) articles in which the evaluation of MC was a central goal; ii) studies were the participants age was 6 to 14 years-old, attending primary/elementary school (6-10 years) and middle school (10-14 years); iii) studies were the participants had no health problems or neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., motor disorders, intellectual disability). In some cases, however, research including children with special needs or disabilities was included when the control group included typically developing children; iv) studies where at least two different MC categories of gross motor skills (i.e. stability, locomotor or manipulative, according to original authors) were assessed, either using product (quantitative) or process (qualitative) measures; v) any type of study design (e.g., cross-sectional, longitudinal or experimental/quasi-experimental) with the exception of review papers; vi) articles published or accepted for publication in journals with peer review, that is, conference proceedings and abstracts were excluded; and finally vii) studies published in English. It should be stressed that articles with the aim of testing the psychometric characteristics of different instruments or with screening purposes were not considered in this work.

Information Sources and Search

Two strategies were used for collecting information. Firstly, a systematic search of six electronic databases (Science Direct, Web of Knowledge, Pubmed, ERIC, Academic Search and Sport Discus) was conducted, using combinations of the following keywords: ‘child’, ‘adolescent’, ‘assessment’, ‘motor skill performance’, ‘fundamental motor skill’, ‘motor coordination’, and ‘motor competence’ with the *AND or *OR operator according to the database. Secondly, in order to refine the search and reduce the possibility of information loss, a snowballing literature search was used. This strategy consists in identifying additional references in the bibliography of the previously selected studies. The literature search was confined to studies from January 1st, 2000 to October 30th, 2013, since this time frame allows capturing all instruments that have been used more recently.

Study Selection

After the initial search, different stages were followed for selecting the studies for analysis, namely: i) removing all duplicates; ii) screening and removing articles based on the title and abstract. When doubts emerged, or when there was insufficient information the full text was retrieved for further analysis in order to make a proper judgement; iii) screening and removing articles based on full text articles selected on the previous step; iv) screening and removing articles based on full text articles incorporated from the snowballing search. All decisions, in all stages, were made independently by two of the authors (CL and GA). The results were conferred after each stage and the following stage would only initiate when full consensus was reached. Thereby there was a total agreement in all final articles.

Data Collection Process

In this stage, CL organized all the information concerning the participants’ characteristics, type and nature of studies, tests and measures of MC and principals findings, and GA checked the information and adjusted the terminology used.

Results

Study Selection

In the first stage, 1606 potentially relevant articles were identified using the keywords combinations. After removing duplicates, 1464 articles remained. After screening the titles and abstracts of potential studies (n=55) and with the inclusion of the snowballing literature (n=12), 67 full text articles were retrieved. A total of 42 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review for further analysis (Figure 1).

Figure 1
PRISMA flowchart of studies through the review process

Studies Characteristics

Europe (n=23) and the Oceania (n=10) were the continents with more studies included in the systematic review. Studies with 6 to 10 year-olds were the most common (n=24); five studies focused on 10 to 14 year-olds, and 13 studies evaluated children with ages between 3 and 14 years. Regarding the study design, eight articles used a longitudinal approach, seven were quasi-experimental, and 27 reported cross-sectional studies. The nature and type of the instruments used for assessing MC in these studies was diverse, however we found six qualitative standardized protocols, 20 quantitative standardized protocols and eight that used both types. Additionally, qualitative and quantitative protocols developed by the authors were used in seven and one studies, respectively (see Table 1).

Table 1
Summary of included studies.

Measurement of MC

As mentioned earlier, the nature of the measure used to evaluate MC proficiency, as well as the tests or protocols used, differed among the studies.

Qualitative standardized protocols

With regard to qualitative instruments, the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD - 1st or 2nd edition)2323. Ulrich DA. Test of Gross Motor Development. Austin, Texas: Pro-ED. Inc.; 1985. ),(2424. Ulrich DA. Test of Gross Motor Development , Examiner’s manual. 2nd ed. Austin, Texas: Pro-ED. Inc. ; 2000. was the only standardized protocol found in the literature, having been used in 6 studies2525. Akbari H, Abdoli B, Shafizadeh M. The Effect of Traditional Games in Fundamental Motor Skill Development in 7-9 Year-Old Boys. Iran Journal of Pediatrics . 2009;19(2):123-9. ),(2626. Karabourniotis D. Curriculum enrichment with self-testing activities in development of fundamental movement skills of first-grade children in Greece. Perceptual and motor skills. 2002;(1989):1259-70. ),(2727. Mitchell B, McLennan S, Latimer K, Graham D, Gilmore J, Rush E. Improvement of fundamental movement skills through support and mentorship of class room teachers. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. 2013;7(3):e230-4. ),(2828. Pang A, Fong D. Fundamental Motor Skill Proficiency of Hong Kong Children Aged 6-9 Years. Research in Sports Medicine. 2009;(November):37-41. ),(2929. Bonifacci P. Children with low motor ability have lower visual-motor integration ability but unaffected perceptual skills. Human movement science. 2004 Sep;23(2):157-68. ),(3030. Spessato BC, Gabbard C, Valentini N, Rudisill M. Gender differences in Brazilian children’s fundamental movement skill performance. Early Child Development and Care . 2012;(August 2015):1-8. . The main goal of the TGMD is to identify children, in the age range from 3 to 10 years, which are significantly behind their peers in gross motor performance. This battery includes locomotor and manipulative skills and takes about 15 to 20 minutes per participant. Comparing the two editions of this protocol, it was found that the revised edition has several improvements concerning reliability (minimum of .85) and validity aspects. In addition, a new manipulative skill (underhand roll) was added and a locomotor skill (skip) was excluded. Age norms for both subtests are presented divided into half-year increments. The discrimination of skill level (below or above), the good reliability and validity presented, and the assessment of manipulative skills are the strong points of this battery. However, stability skills are not evaluated, the results tend to have ceiling or floor effects, and the existence of cultural biases in some skills are considered weaknesses of this test battery, since this test was normed on a sample of 1,208 north american children2121. Cools W, Martelaer KDe, Samaey C, Andries C. Movement skill assessment of typically developing preschool children : A review of seven movement skill assessment tools. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2009;8:154-68. . Moreover, for PE professionals it is too time consuming to assess all twelve tasks of the TGMD in a PE class.

Quantitative standardized protocols

The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP)3131. Bruininks RH. Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency: Examiners Manual. Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Service; 1978. or its short form was used in four studies3232. Nourbakhsh P. Perceptual-motor abilities and their relationships with academic performance of fifth grade pupils in comparison with oseretsky scale. Kinesiology. 2006;38:40-8. ),(3333. Ratzon N, Greenbaum C, Dulitzky M, Ornoy A. Comparison of the Motor Development of School-Age Children Born to Mothers with and without Diabetes Mellitus. Physical & Occupational Therapy inPediatrics . 2000 Jan;20(1):43-57. ),(3434. Wrotniak BH, Epstein LH, Dorn JM, Jones KE, Kondilis Va. The relationship between motor proficiency and physical activity in children. Pediatrics . 2006 Dec;118(6):e1758-1765. ),(3535. Wrotniak BH, Salvy SJ, Lazarus L, Epstein LH. Motor proficiency relationships among siblings. Perceptual and motor skills . 2009;108:112-20. . The BOTMP and the BOT-23636. Bruininks RH, Bruininks BD. Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency: Examiners Manual . 2nd ed. Circle Pines, Minnesota: AGS Publishing; 2005. evaluate fine and gross movement skill development in children and adolescents and are used for screening, evaluation, research, and program planning. In addition, they support diagnoses of motor impairments in individuals with ages between 4 to 14.5 years for the BOTMP, and 4 to 21 years for the BOT-2 (1520 north American Children)3636. Bruininks RH, Bruininks BD. Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency: Examiners Manual . 2nd ed. Circle Pines, Minnesota: AGS Publishing; 2005. ),(3737. Deitz JC, Kartin D, Kopp K. Review of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition (BOT-2). Physical & occupational therapy in pediatrics. 2007;27:87-102. . Both instruments exhibit good validity and reliability, and both assess four major components: fine manual control, manual coordination, body coordination, and strength and agility. BOTMP and BOT-2 have 46 and 58 items, respectively. A short form of BOT-2, consisting of 14 items, was developed for a fast screening of overall motor proficiency. This short form presents a high correlation (.80) with BOT-2 and takes about 15 to 20 minutes to apply. The evaluation with the entire BOT-2 takes 45 to 60 minutes. The strengths pointed by the authors include: the possibility of using the short form for screening for possible motor coordination problems, the existence of separated gross and fine motor composite scores that allow comparisons, and the fact that this instrument covers a wide age range. However, there are also some weaknesses. As examples, age equivalent scores are based on extrapolations, scoring can be time-consuming, and several sessions with the same participant may be required due to participant’s fatigue (for more information see3737. Deitz JC, Kartin D, Kopp K. Review of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition (BOT-2). Physical & occupational therapy in pediatrics. 2007;27:87-102. ),(3838. Cools W, Martelaer KDe, Samaey C, Andries C. Movement skill assesment of typically developing preschool children: a review of seven movement skill assessment tools. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine . 2009;8:154-68. . Another important disadvantage is that the goal of the instrument is to identify possible motor coordination problems and not to assess MC specifically, so it is mostly used for clinical assessment and not as an ideal instrument for PE professionals.

The Stay in Step (SiS)3939. Larkin D, Revie G. Stay in step: A gross motor screening test for children K-2. Sydney: The Authors; 1994. was solely used in one study4040. Hands B. Changes in motor skill and fitness measures among children with high and low motor competence: A five-year longitudinal study. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport . 2008 Apr;11(2):155-62. and it is a validated gross motor screening test to identify children with poor motor development. This test has a good test-retest reliability for each item, ranging between r= .87 to r= .90, and can only be used with 5 to 7 year-olds. The SiS consists in the evaluation of four motor skills including stability, manipulative, locomotor and velocity. The narrow age range makes this a limited instrument to apply in the school context.

The Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK)4141. Kiphard EJ, Schilling F. Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder: KTK. Weinheim: Beltz Test; 1974. was the most used protocol to assess MC, with 15 studies. This test uses a quantitative method that refers to a norm and assesses gross body control through locomotor and stability outcomes. It can be used with typically developed children as well as with children with brain damage, behavioral problems or learning difficulties1919. Lopes VP, Stodden DF, Bianchi MM, Maia JAR, Rodrigues LP. Correlation between BMI and motor coordination in children. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2012 Jan;15(1):38-43. ),(2121. Cools W, Martelaer KDe, Samaey C, Andries C. Movement skill assessment of typically developing preschool children : A review of seven movement skill assessment tools. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2009;8:154-68. . The KTK protocol presents four motor tests with construct and content validity4242. Kiphard E, Schilling F. Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder : KTK Manual. Göttingen: Beltz Test; 2007. . Additionally, it presents good intra-rater reliability (≥.80) and test-retest reliability (>.85), and it can be used in children with ages between 5 and 14 years2121. Cools W, Martelaer KDe, Samaey C, Andries C. Movement skill assessment of typically developing preschool children : A review of seven movement skill assessment tools. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2009;8:154-68. . Few and easy motor tasks, with a good reliability, and a fast assessment procedure, are considered major strengths of this protocol. However, some weaknesses can be mentioned, as the fact that this instrument only uses four motor tests to assess MC, it does not evaluate manipulative skills, and it uses old normative data (1128 German children). In fact, the absence of a manipulative component assessment represents a large fragility, since these skills are believed to be the best indicators to explain the association between MC and cardiovascular fitness, across childhood and into adolescence4343. Barnett LM, Morgan PJ, Van Beurden E, Ball K, Lubans DR. A reverse pathway? Actual and perceived skill proficiency and physical activity. Medicine and science in sports and exercise . 2011;43:898-904. ),(4444. Stodden DF, Gao Z, Goodway JD, Langendorfer SJ. Dynamic Relationships between Motor Skill Competence and Health-Related Fitness in Youth. Pediatric Exercise Science. 2014;26(3):231-41. .

Quantitative and qualitative standardized protocols

Eight studies used a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach. The McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND)4545. McCarron L. MAND : McCarron assessment of neuromuscular development, fine and gross motor abilities. Dallas Tex.: McCarron-Dial Systems Inc.; 1997. was used in one study4646. Hands B, Larkin D, Parker H, Straker L, Perry M. The relationship among physical activity, motor competence and health-related fitness in 14-year-old adolescents. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports. 2009 Oct;19(5):655-63. , and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC) 1st edition4747. Henderson SE, Sugden DA. Movement assessment battery for children manual. London: The Psychological Corporation Ltd; 1992. or 2nd edition4747. Henderson SE, Sugden DA. Movement assessment battery for children manual. London: The Psychological Corporation Ltd; 1992. ),(4848. Henderson S, Sugden DA, Barnett AL. Movement assessment battery for children-2 : Movement ABC-2 : Examiner’s manual. London: Pearson; 2007. ) was employed in five4949. Ekornås B, Lundervold AJ, Tjus T, Heimann M. Anxiety disorders in 8-11-year-old children: motor skill performance and self-perception of competence. Scandinavian journal of psychology. 2010 Jun 1;51(3):271-7. ),(5050. Haga M. The relationship between physical fitness and motor competence in children. Child: care, health and development. 2008;34:329-34. ),(5151. Livesey D, Lum Mow M, Toshack T, Zheng Y. The relationship between motor performance and peer relations in 9- to 12-year-old children. Child: care, health and development . 2011;37:581-8. ),(5252. Schurink J, Hartman E, Scherder EJA, Houwen S, Visscher C. Relationship between motor and executive functioning in school-age children with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2012 Apr;6(2):726-32. ),(5353. Zhu Y-C, Wu SK, Cairney J. Obesity and motor coordination ability in Taiwanese children with and without developmental coordination disorder. Research in developmental disabilities. 2011 Jan;32(2):801-7. and two studies5454. Rigoli D, Piek JP, Kane R. Motor coordination and psychosocial correlates in a normative adolescent sample. Pediatrics . 2012 Apr;129(4):e892-900. ),(5555. Gabbard C, Caçola P, Bobbio T. The ability to mentally represent action is associated with low motor ability in children: a preliminary investigation. Child: care, health and development . 2012 May;38(3):390-3. , respectively.

The McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development5656. McCarron L. McCarron assessment of neuromuscular development: Fine and gross motor abilities. 3rd ed. Dallas, Tx; 1997. was developed as a tool for health professionals, to screen and evaluate 3.5 to 18 year-old children. The MAND is an individually administered, norm-referenced assessment tool comprising quantitative and qualitative measures of five fine motor and five gross motor skills. Raw scores for each item are converted to scaled scores based on the participant’s age. A measure of overall motor skills (Neuromuscular Developmental Index) is given through the sum of the ten-scaled scores. The MAND presents a good reliability ranging between .67 and .985656. McCarron L. McCarron assessment of neuromuscular development: Fine and gross motor abilities. 3rd ed. Dallas, Tx; 1997. , and has showed good concurrent validity5757. Tan SK, Parker HE, Larkin D. Concurrent validity of motor tests used to identify children with motor impairment. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. 2001;18:162-8. . It has many advantages, for example, it has a large age range of application and it includes both qualitative and quantitative components. However, the absence of manipulative skills, an important MC component, and the lack of similarity between most of the tests and the activities or sports that children are familiar with, can be seen as disadvantages.

The Movement Assessment Battery for Children (M-ABC) 1st edition4747. Henderson SE, Sugden DA. Movement assessment battery for children manual. London: The Psychological Corporation Ltd; 1992. permits to identify delays in the development of MC in 4 to 12 year-old children, divided by four age bands. This test is composed by eight motor tasks per age band that evaluate three movement categories: fine motor skills (manual dexterity), manipulative skills (aiming and catching), and stability (static and dynamic). The skills are evaluated in a 6-point rating Likert scale, where 5 is the weakest and 0 the best performance. The M-ABC 2st edition4848. Henderson S, Sugden DA, Barnett AL. Movement assessment battery for children-2 : Movement ABC-2 : Examiner’s manual. London: Pearson; 2007. presents the same objective with also eight motor tasks (same categories), however this edition allows the assessment of 3 to 16 year-old children divided by three age bands. The total test score is given by the sum of the eight item standard scores (range 8-152). Both editions show good validity and sufficient reliability4747. Henderson SE, Sugden DA. Movement assessment battery for children manual. London: The Psychological Corporation Ltd; 1992. ),(4848. Henderson S, Sugden DA, Barnett AL. Movement assessment battery for children-2 : Movement ABC-2 : Examiner’s manual. London: Pearson; 2007. ),(5757. Tan SK, Parker HE, Larkin D. Concurrent validity of motor tests used to identify children with motor impairment. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. 2001;18:162-8. ),(5858. Chow SMK, Henderson SE. Interrater and test-retest reliability of the Movement Assessment Battery for Chinese preschool children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2003;57(5):574-7. ) and take about 20 to 30 minutes per participant. One of the major advantages is the simple test administration that allows the collection of a large sample in a short period of time. On the other hand, the ratio between the number of tasks and the time required is inadequate3838. Cools W, Martelaer KDe, Samaey C, Andries C. Movement skill assesment of typically developing preschool children: a review of seven movement skill assessment tools. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine . 2009;8:154-68. , and the lack of assessment of locomotor skills is also a disadvantage.

Non-standardized qualitative protocols

Qualitative protocols specifically developed for the study using a process-based approach with stability, locomotor and manipulative skills were used in seven studies5959. Boyle-Holmes T, Grost L, Russell L, Laris BA, Robin L, Haller E, et al. Promoting elementary physical education: results of a school-based evaluation study. Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education. 2010 Jun;37(3):377-89. ),(6060. Foweather L, Mcwhannell N, Henaghan J, Lees A, Stratton G, Batterham AM. Effect ok a 9-wk. after-school multiskills club on fundamental movement skill proficiency in 8- to 9-yr.-old children: an exploratory trial. Perceptual and motor skills . 2008 Jun;106(3):745-54. ),(6161. Hume C, Okely A, Bagley S, Telford A, Booth M, Crawford D, et al. Does Weight Status Influence Associations Between Children’s Fundamental Movement Skills and Physical Activity? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2008 Jun;79(2):158-65. ),(6262. Okely ?, Booth M. Mastery of fundamental movement skillS among children in New South Wales : prevalence and sociodemographic distribution. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport . 2004;358-72. ),(6363. Okely ?, Patterson J, Booth M. Relationship of cardiorespiratory endurance to fundamental movement skill proficiency among adolescents. Pediatric exercise science. 2001;(27):380-91. ),(6464. Okely ?, Booth ML, Chey T. Relationships between Body Composition and Fundamental Movement Skills among Children and Adolescents. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2004 Sep;75(3):238-47. ),(6565. van Beurden E, Zask A, Barnett LM, Dietrich UC. Fundamental movement skills - How do primary school children perform? The “Move it Groove it” program in rural Australia. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport . 2002;5(3):244-52. . These protocols have similarities, in the sense that all decomposed each movement skill in various components and scored each of the components as present or absent in four or five trials. For all the mentioned studies, the components of each movement skill protocol were established based on the Get Skilled: Get Active program and FMS assessment6666. NSW Department of Education and Training. GET SKILLED : GET ACTIVE A K-6 resource to support the teaching. 2000. . Three of the studies6161. Hume C, Okely A, Bagley S, Telford A, Booth M, Crawford D, et al. Does Weight Status Influence Associations Between Children’s Fundamental Movement Skills and Physical Activity? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2008 Jun;79(2):158-65. ),(6262. Okely ?, Booth M. Mastery of fundamental movement skillS among children in New South Wales : prevalence and sociodemographic distribution. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport . 2004;358-72. ),(6363. Okely ?, Patterson J, Booth M. Relationship of cardiorespiratory endurance to fundamental movement skill proficiency among adolescents. Pediatric exercise science. 2001;(27):380-91. ),(6464. Okely ?, Booth ML, Chey T. Relationships between Body Composition and Fundamental Movement Skills among Children and Adolescents. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2004 Sep;75(3):238-47. did not evaluate any stability skills, two used solely one stability task, and only two studies used two tasks (static balance, vertical jump). The tasks used for the assessment of locomotor (e.g., sprint run, hop, side gallop, skip and dodge) and manipulative skills (kick, catch, overhand throw and forehand strike) were identical in all 7 studies; however, the number of tasks used differed among the studies. All locomotor and manipulative tasks used in these studies, with the exception of run and leap, presented a good reliability (≥.70) and the content validity was established by 52 experts6464. Okely ?, Booth ML, Chey T. Relationships between Body Composition and Fundamental Movement Skills among Children and Adolescents. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2004 Sep;75(3):238-47. ),(6767. Department of Education. Fundamental Motor Skills A Manual for Classroom Teachers. Melbourne, Australia: Community Information Service; 1996. . The use of several locomotor and manipulative skills that are similar to activities or sports that students are familiar with6464. Okely ?, Booth ML, Chey T. Relationships between Body Composition and Fundamental Movement Skills among Children and Adolescents. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2004 Sep;75(3):238-47. , is considered the greatest advantage of these protocols. However, the time-consuming data collection, the need of expert evaluators, the lack of age referenced standardization, and the undervaluation of the stability skills represent important weaknesses for the use of these protocols in a school context.

Non-standardized quantitative protocols

Only one study used a specifically developed quantitative protocol6868. Kalaja SP, Jaakkola TT, Liukkonen JO, Digelidis N. Development of junior high school students’ fundamental movement skills and physical activity in a naturalistic physical education setting. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy . 2012 Sep;17(4):411-28. . Here, several tasks were used to assess all components of MC. These tasks showed moderate to high reliabilities. The use of at least two tasks to evaluate each MC component and the short time required for data collection are two of the strengths of this protocol. The lack of tasks related to some MC components (e.g., catch), and the lack of similarity between some of the tasks (e.g., the rolling test) and familiar sport activities, can be considered as limitations of this protocol.

Discussion

The main goal of this systematic review was to collect and synthesize existing protocols developed to evaluate MC in typically developing children, which can be used by PE professionals. Of the 42 eligible studies, 13 used qualitative protocols, 21 preferred a quantitative approach and 8 studies used protocols including both qualitative and quantitative procedures, so a preference of quantitative (product-oriented) methodologies over qualitative (process-oriented) methodologies was found. It is interesting to note that, comparative to other continents, the use of quantitative methods are preferred in Europe. Both methodologies have advantages and disadvantages. The quantitative instruments found in the review process have several weaknesses concerning their implementation by PE professionals, namely: i) there is a limited range of motor tasks; ii) they do not evaluate all MC components; ii) they screen motor coordination problems instead of MC; iii) limited age range; iv) lack of similarity between some of the tasks and principal sport activities.

Qualitative methods allow to distinguish more accurately between different stages of specific skill performance and, therefore, provide sensitive information that grants the teacher with the knowledge of the specific components of a skill a student should practice1515. Hands B. How can we best measure Fundamental Movement Skills ? Health Sciences Conference Papers. 2002;3-5. . This allows for a better organization of PE classes. However, the qualitative tests also have some important disadvantages concerning their use by PE professionals. Some examples are the needed expertise and training of the evaluator, the time necessary to assess each participant, usually in the form of video recording observation, and the obligation of parental consent for video footage. Although a trained PE teacher is expected to be able to administer the assessment without the need of video recording, in many countries primary school teachers are responsible for PE administration and they do not have the necessary knowledge or expertise to assess movement skills6969. Morgan PJ, Hansen V. Classroom Teachers’ Perceptions of the Impact of Barriers to Teaching Physical Education on the Quality of Physical Education Programs. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . Taylor & Francis Group; 2013 Jan 23; ),(7070. Xiang P, Lowy S, Mcbride R. The Impact of a Field-Based Elementary Physical Education Methods Course on Preservice Classroom Teachers ’ Beliefs. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 2002;21:145-61. . Another disadvantage is the fact that an ideal performance pattern may not exist. Traditionally, the mastering of specific motor tasks (expertise) has been described as the capacity to consistently replicate a specific movement pattern, increasing the automaticity of movement7171. Seifert L, Komar J, Barbosa T, Toussaint H, Millet G, Davids K. Coordination Pattern Variability Provides Functional Adaptations to Constraints in Swimming Performance. Sports medicine. 2012 Jun 4;68-75. and eliminating movement patterns that are considered detrimental for the correct movement. However, it is known that even elite athletes are unable to reproduce invariant movement patterns, despite years of practice7272. Bauer H, Schöllhorn W. Self-Organizing Maps for the Analysis of Complex Movement Patterns. Neural Processing Letters. 1997;193-9. , showing that the exact repetition of the same movement is impossible to achieve.

For the reasons stated above, knowing that qualitative and quantitative measures are correlated (low to moderate)1818. Miller J, Vine K, Larkin D. The relationship of process and product performance of the two-handed sidearm strike. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy. 2007 Feb;12(1):61-76. ),(7373. Roberton MA, Konczak J. Predicting children’s overarm throw ball velocities from their developmental levels in throwing. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport . 2001;72:91-103. ),(7474. Valentini NC, Getchell N, Logan SW, Liang L, Golden D, Rudisill ME, et al. Exploring Associations Between Motor Skill Assessments in Children With , Without, and At-Risk for Developmental Coordination Disorder. Journal of Motor Learning and Development. 2015;39-52. ),(7575. Logan SW, Robinson LE, Rudisill ME, Wadsworth DD, Morera M. The comparison of school-age children’s performance on two motor assessments: the Test of Gross Motor Development and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy . 2012;(August 2014):1-12. , and that quantitative methods generally ensure a high level of reliability over time and between evaluators7676. Spray JA. Recent Developments in Measurement and Possible Applications to the Measurement of Psychomotor Behavior. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. Routledge; 1987 Sep;58(3):203-9. , it is natural that quantitative tests would be a good option for assessment in PE classes or in other sport contexts.

Our results also show that 34 studies used standardized protocol tests (KTK was the most used), while in eight studies the authors developed the protocols. The use of standardized protocols has several advantages, such as the guarantee of previously tested reliability and validity7777. Portney L. Foundations of clinical research : applications to practice. Upper Saddle River N.J.: Pearson Education; 2009. . The lack of statistically robust psychometric properties (reliability, validity) and the impossibility of comparing the results to normative data are pointed as the major weaknesses of using specifically developed protocols. Despite the potentialities of using standardized tests, it is important to mention some disadvantages that might limit the use of the protocols we have found, from the point of view an of school implementation: i) the acquisition cost of standardized protocols tests; ii) the need to evaluate the three components of MC, which are not included in all standardized protocols tests; iii) time constraints, since standardized protocols usually have several tests and might be time consuming.

The greatest strength of our study is the correct application of the different steps suggested by the PRISMA statement and the determination of the risk of bias for the eligible studies. However, some limitations can be mentioned such as the date range for the eligible studies, and the fact that only English language studies were used.

The studies analysed in this review used different instruments for assessing MC. All the found protocols exhibited particular weaknesses and strengths, and were targeted to specific goals and populations. Considering that a practical and easy to administer instrument that encompasses the full MC spectrum does not seem to exist, the need for a quantitative standardized protocol test using the three MC components is warranted for both PE and research settings.

Other research studies33. Luz C, Rodrigues LP, Almeida G, Cordovil R. Development and validation of a model of motor competence in children and adolescents. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. Sports Medicine Australia; 2015 Jul; ),(7878. Sigmundsson H, Loras H, Haga M. Assessment of Motor Competence Across the Life Span: Aspects of Reliability and Validity of a New Test Battery. SAGE Open. 2016;6(1):2158244016633273-. , published after the data range considered in this review, have proposed new test batteries to assess MC. The study by Sigmundsson and colleagues7878. Sigmundsson H, Loras H, Haga M. Assessment of Motor Competence Across the Life Span: Aspects of Reliability and Validity of a New Test Battery. SAGE Open. 2016;6(1):2158244016633273-. is simple to administer but still does not consider the three components of MC (it tests two fine and two gross motor tasks). On the other hand, the study by Luz and colleagues33. Luz C, Rodrigues LP, Almeida G, Cordovil R. Development and validation of a model of motor competence in children and adolescents. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. Sports Medicine Australia; 2015 Jul; proposes six quantitative motor tasks to assess MC, two for each motor category (i.e. locomotor, stability and object control). The authors found that MC could be objectively measured with a good structural and measurement reliability. The stability category was assessed by the shifting platforms (moving sideways for 20s using two wooden platforms) and jumping laterally (jumping sideways with two feet together over a wooden beam as fast as possible for 15s) tests. The locomotor category was measured using Shuttle Run (running at maximal speed 4x10 meters) and standing long jump (jumping with both feet simultaneously as far as possible) tests. Finally, the manipulative category was evaluated through a throwing velocity test (throwing a baseball at a maximum speed against a wall using an overarm action) and a kicking velocity test (kicking a soccer ball nº4 at a maximum speed against a wall using a kicking action). The authors also found that these three categories are closely related to each other. This is an important finding especially for physical educations teachers who have to frequently assess their students.

Conclusions

In this study, a systematic review of the presented methodologies to evaluate MC in typically healthy children was conducted. MC has been assessed through qualitative or quantitative methodological approaches using several standardized protocol tests, or protocols have been developed according to the objectives of the evaluation. Given the existence of positive associations between MC and health benefits7979. Lubans DR, Morgan PJ, Cliff DP, Barnett LM, Okely AD. Fundamental movement skills in children and adolescents: review of associated health benefits. Sports medicine (Auckland, NZ). 2010 Dec 1;40(12):1019-35. and the important role that PE plays in the development of MC1313. Morgan PJ, Barnett LM, Cliff DP, Okely AD, Scott Ha, Cohen KE, et al. Fundamental movement skill interventions in youth: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2013 Nov;132(5):e1361-1383. , it would be of great interest to create a standardized protocol test to evaluate MC in its full spectrum. Such instrument does not seem to exist but we believe that it would be of paramount importance for both PE and research related settings.

Acknowledgments:

We would like to thank everyone who helped with the revision of the manuscript.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    2017

History

  • Received
    15 July 2016
  • Reviewed
    23 Nov 2016
  • Accepted
    13 Feb 2017
Universidade Estadual de Maringá Avenida Colombo, 5790 - cep: 87020-900 - tel: 44 3011 4315 - Maringá - PR - Brazil
E-mail: revdef@uem.br