A Brief Exploration of Measurement and Evaluation in Kinesiology

in Kinesiology Review
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A comprehensive review of the impact of measurement and evaluation in kinesiology is difficult to accomplish within the framework of a single research paper. Measurement touches nearly every research area in the field of kinesiology. In fact, for quantitative research it can be argued that without good measurement there can be no good research. Measurement researchers in kinesiology have impacted various areas, including criterion-referenced evaluation of test scores, development of fitness tests to measure body composition and aerobic fitness, health-related physical fitness, physical activity epidemiology, youth fitness testing, and many others. They have introduced innovative statistical techniques such as item response theory, which provides the underlying basis for modern standardized testing. Issues of test equating, differential item functioning, and the great impact of the expansion of computers and the Internet deserve special attention. Unfortunately, not all of the important contributions in the measurement field can be expanded upon in this manuscript. Instead, this paper will focus mainly on key measurement and evaluation influences on public health issues. In applied measurement research, two major themes have been the assessment of physical fitness and the assessment of physical activity. The last 40 years have been a time of defining the content area of measurement in kinesiology. Important measurement textbooks were published during this period (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1975; Morrow, Jackson, Disch, & Mood, 1995; Safrit, 1986). Since the 1970s the measurement field and the kinesiology field in general expanded from a focus on physical education to include all of the exercise and sport sciences. This paper will explore measurement and evaluation in kinesiology by (a) providing an overview of major milestones in measurement and evaluation over the last 40 years, (b) discussing current key areas of research and inquiry in measurement and evaluation, and (c) speculating about future research and inquiry in measurement and evaluation. The absence in this article of other important issues in measurement and evaluation in kinesiology does not imply anything about their importance.

Mahar is with the Activity Promotion Laboratory, Dept. of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. Rowe is with the Physical Activity for Health Research Group, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

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