Assessment of Motor Development in Childhood: Contemporary Issues, Considerations, and Future Directions

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Assessment of the motor domain is a critical aspect of understanding motor development. Measurement of motor development is the baseline to understand potential delays and to promote the tools for change and improvement of this domain. This paper aims to reflect on the construct of motor development and the process of assessing motor performance. We review the use of assessments in motor development research and discuss issues of validity, reliability, sensitivity, and specificity. We appraise selected assessments, describe how the use of assessments changed over the periods of study in motor development, and examine the contemporary status of assessments and its applications. Finally, and most importantly, we provide suggestions and recommendations for future directions in the field, as well as pose important questions for researchers and practitioners to consider when selecting, using, and interpreting assessment results. In light of the contemporary view of motor development and the increasing focus on health applications, we recommend the use of screening tools, short forms, and technology, as well as encouraging the use of and more research on motor development assessments in childhood.

Tamplain is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX. Webster is with the Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Augusta, GA. Brian is with the Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Valentini is with the Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.

Tamplain (priscila.tamplain@uta.edu) is corresponding author.
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