Problems with Identification of Children Who Are Physically Awkward Using the TOMI

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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This study investigated whether the TOMI (Stott, Moyes, & Henderson, 1984), a motor skills test recommended for the identification of children who are physically awkward (Sugden, 1985; Wall, Reid, & Paton, 1990), contains biased items. Findings of a study by Causgrove and Watkinson (1993) indicated that an unexpectedly high proportion of girls from Grades 3 to 6 were identified as physically awkward, and the authors suggested that the TOMI may be biased in favor of boys. In the present study, this suggestion was investigated through comparison of performances of TOMI subtest items by boys and girls from Grades 1 to 6. Chi-square analyses on each of the eight test items revealed significant performance differences between boys and girls on the two ball skills tasks of catching and throwing (p < .0001) at Age Bands 3 and 4; a significantly greater proportion of boys than girls age 9 to 12 years passed the catching and throwing tasks. A significant performance difference was also found on the tracing task at Age Band 1, with more girls passing tracing than boys. Implications for future research requiring the identification of children who are physically awkward are discussed.

Janice Causgrove Dunn is with the Faculty of Physical Activity Studies, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, S4S 0A2. E. Jane Watkinson is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2H9.

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