Gross motor skill performance of 7- and 8-year-old children
Cencula, Karen B.
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The purpose of this study was to compare the gross motor skills of elementary-aged children to existing data from a process-oriented assessment instrument, the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD), published by D. A. Ulrich in 1985. Subjects were one hundred twelve 7- year-old children (58 females and 54 males) and one hundred fourteen 8- year-old children (55 females and 59 males). All subjects were enrolled in Hawthorn Elementary School District 73, Vernon Hills, Illinois, during the 1986-87 school year. All TGMD test items, locomotor and object control, were used in this study. The locomotor skills tested were the run, leap, gallop, slide, skip, hop, and horizontal jump. The object control skills assessed were the kick, stationary bounce, catch, overarm throw, and two-hand strike. Each skill contains three to four performance criteria. Each subject was scored according to the number of criteria he/she successfully performed in two out of three trials. Subjects were videotaped while performing both subtests. Each subject was assessed individually by the investigator, a physical education specialist. An independent t-test was used to determine the difference between the means of the males and females of the study group on each skill and on each subtest (locomotor and object control) of the TGMD. An independent t-test was used to determine the difference between the means of the normative data provided in the TGMD test booklet and the data obtained from the study sample. The alpha level for the study was .001. A significant difference (p̲<.001) favoring males in object control subtest scores was found for both 7- and 8-year-olds. No significant difference was found between the 7- and 8-year-old males and females for the locomotor skills subtest. The 7- and 8-year-old females of the study group scored lower (p̲<.001) than the 7- and 8-year-olds of the TGMD in object control subtest scores. There were no differences (p̲>.001) between the scores of 7- and 8-year-old males of the study group and data available for 7- and 8-year-old TGMD subjects. Results indicate that the 8-year-old males and females in the study group scored lower (p̲<. 001) in locomotor skill performance than the 8- year-old subjects utilized to obtain scores on the TGMD. No difference (p̲>.001) was found between the 7-year-old males and females of the study and the data for the TGMD 7-year-olds in locomotor skills performance. Seven- and 8-year-old males and females achieved 80% mastery status in the skills of the run and the catch. Seven-year-old males and 8-year-old females achieved 60% mastery status in the slide. The 8-year- old males were the only group tested to achieve over 60% mastery status in the continuous bounce. It was concluded that there are significant differences in object control skills of 7- and 8-year-old males and females. It was found that children are not achieving the mature form of gross motor skills at the ages of 7 and 8, as earlier research indicates.