Throughout this special issue, different authors have discussed diverse aspects of past, present, and future motor development research. In such research, understanding how people move involves much more than studying motor behavior in individuals of different ages. Rather, empirical designs should embed some element of past, present, and future motor behavior into research questions, designs, methodologies, and interpretations. In this article, we provide an overview on the process of asking movement-related developmental questions and designing appropriate research studies that will answer them to provide a foundation for both new and returning investigators interested in studying human motor development. We compare descriptive and experimental approaches as well as longitudinal, cross-sectional, and alternative research designs, followed by a discussion of common statistical analyses suited for these designs. Through this discussion, we offer suggestions for the most appropriate ways in which to study developmental change. We finish with our thoughts on future directions for investigational methods within motor development research.
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Nancy Getchell, Nadja Schott, and Ali Brian
Kara K. Palmer and Ali Brian
The Test of Gross Motor Development, 2nd edition (TGMD-2), is one of the most widely used measures of motor skill competence. The purpose of this study was to examine if differences in scores exist between expert and novice coders on the TGMD-2 (Ulrich, 2000).
Three coders, one expert and two novices, reviewed and scored young children’s (N = 43; Boys = 57%; Mage = 4.88, SD = 0.28) TGMD-2 data. The kappa statistic was used to determine agreement between expert and novice coders on the locomotor and object control subscale of the TGMD-2. Independent samples t tests and percent differences were then used to examine scoring differences for each of the twelve skills.
Results support that expert and novice coders do not demonstrate significant agreement when scoring the TGMD-2 except for when scoring the kick (t 41 = –1.3, p = .2) and the gallop (t 41= –1.7, p = .09).
This work demonstrates that more stringent or consistent training regimens are needed before allowing novices to code TGMD-2 data.
Larissa True, Ali Brian, Jackie Goodway, and David Stodden
Motor competence is associated with psychological and physical health outcomes. A reciprocal relationship between motor competence and perceptions of physical competence exists, but the developmental trajectory of the motor competence/perceived competence relationship is not well understood. Standardized assessments take a product- or process-oriented approach, but research concerning the motor competence/perceived competence relationship is limited to using process-oriented assessments. It is unknown whether boys and girls use product and process information differentially in the development of perceived competence. Children (N = 411) were aggregated into age groups. Perceived competence and product and process aspects of motor competence were assessed. Older children were more skillful than younger children but reported lower perceived competence. The motor competence/perceived competence association increased for both motor competence measures across age groups. Girls demonstrated stronger associations between process measures of motor competence and perceived competence, while boys indicated stronger associations between product measures of motor competence and perceived competence. When both motor competence measures were used to predict perceived competence, more variance in perceived competence was explained, compared with using independent predictors. The strength of the prediction increased across age groups, indicating that motor competence is a stronger predictor of perceived competence in older children.
Ali Brian, Adam Pennell, Ryan Sacko, and Michaela Schenkelburg
Most early childhood centers charge preschool teachers with delivering gross motor skill content and providing physical activity (PA) opportunities to children. Little is known regarding preschool teachers’ background and confidence and the extent to which centers meet the Active Start Guidelines (ASGs) for PA. Preschool teachers (N = 102) completed an exploratory survey and the Self-Perception Profile for Adults Athletic Competence subscale. Eighty-eight percent possessed no formal background in physical education (PE)/PA, while most teachers (77%) were not aware of the ASGs. Most participants (92%) reported that they do not provide daily, teacher-led PE/PA programming, and less than half (47%) provided at least 60 min of daily free play. Preschool teachers were found to have below average perceived motor competence. Recommendations are provided for preservice teacher training programs, policymakers, as well as professional development of in-service teachers.
Ali Brian, Sally Taunton, Chelsee Shortt, Adam Pennell, and Ryan Sacko
The purpose of this study was to examine differences in motor competence, perceived motor competence (PMC), body mass index, and physical activity (PA) and to assess factors that predict PA behaviors of preschool children with and without disabilities. A total of 59 children with (n = 28) and without (n = 31) disabilities participated in the study. Results revealed that children with disabilities had significantly greater amounts of PA than peers without disabilities. There were no significant differences for motor competence, PMC, and body mass index for children with or without a disability. Although age and body mass index were controlled, both disability and PMC significantly predicted PA. Future intervention studies should consider maintaining high levels of PMC, as it is a significant predictor of PA.
Ali Brian, Sally Taunton Miedema, Jerraco L. Johnson, and Isabel Chica
Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are an underlying mechanism driving physical activity behavior and promoting positive developmental trajectories for health. However, little is known about FMS of preschool-aged children with visual impairments (VI). The purpose of this study was to examine the FMS of preschool-aged children (N = 25) with (n = 10) and without (n = 15) VI as measured using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3. Children without VI performed significantly higher than their peers for locomotor (M = +11.87, p = .014, η2 = .31) and ball skills (M = +13.69, p < .001, η2 = .56). Regardless of the presence of a VI, many participants struggled with developing FMS, with the greatest disparity resting within ball skills. These findings help to clarify the FMS levels of preschool-aged children with VI. Thus, there is a need for both further inquiry and intervention for all children.
Amanda Young, Seán Healy, Lisa Silliman-French, and Ali Brian
To inform the development of scalable and sustainable fundamental motor skill interventions for children with Down syndrome, this study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of Project Skill Intervention Implemented by Parents (Project SKIP), a web-based, parent-mediated intervention intended to improve ball skills among children with Down syndrome. Twenty-four families enrolled in the study (including 13 boys and 11 girls; M age = 4.92). Fourteen children were assigned to an experimental group and participated in the 6-week intervention, and 10 children served as the inactive comparison group. The Test of Gross Motor Development-3 was administered preintervention and postintervention. In addition, parents of children in the experimental group completed a postintervention survey to assess their perceptions of Project SKIP. Following the intervention, there was a significant improvement in ball skills (p = .023, d = 0.86) for children in the experimental group, whereas the comparison group did not show significant improvement. Moreover, parents perceived Project SKIP to be feasible and effective; all parents reported being satisfied with their overall experience in the program, and 11 parents indicated that their child’s fundamental motor skills were positively influenced by the intervention. Engagement was high, with the majority of parents (n = 8, 57%) interacting with Project SKIP content three to four times a week.
Justin A. Haegele, Ali S. Brian, and Donna Wolf
Our purpose in this study was to document the criterion validity of the Fitbit Zip for measuring steps taken by youth with visual impairments (VI). A secondary purpose was to determine whether walking pace, mounting position, or relative position to the user’s mobility device impacted the criterion validity of the device. Fourteen adolescent-aged individuals (M age = 15.4; 13 male and 1 female) with VI participated in this study. Participants wore four Fitbit Zips at different mounting positions and completed two, 2-min walking trials while the lead investigator hand tallied steps. Measurement validity was analyzed using absolute percent error (APE), intraclass correlation coefficients estimated level of conformity, and paired samples t tests and Cohen’s d effect sizes assessed APE relative to mounting positions. Results supported the use of the Fitbit Zip during regular-paced walking; however, caution must be used during activities exceeding regular walking speeds, as devices consistently underestimated steps.
Scott W.T. McNamara, Ali Brian, and Melissa Bittner
Identifying tools to reinforce content on teaching children with visual impairments (VI) is needed to better inform future physical educators as children with VI often have poor physical education (PE) experiences. Content acquisition podcasts (CAPs), podcasts created with instructional design principles and expert-developed content, may provide preservice PE teachers with knowledge and confidence needed to properly teach children with VI. The purpose of this investigation was to compare knowledge and self-efficacy differences from pre- to postintervention among a control group, a textbook chapter group, and a CAPs group. A knowledge and self-efficacy assessment was developed through a modified Delphi method. The CAPs participants showed significantly higher knowledge gains compared with other groups. The CAPs group revealed significantly higher self-efficacy gain when compared with the control but did not significantly differ from one another. The textbook group did not significantly differ from the control group. Implications for future research and suggestions for practitioners are discussed.
Priscila Tamplain, E. Kipling Webster, Ali Brian, and Nadia C. Valentini
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.