Description and Features of a New Computerized Gross Motor Sk ...

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Motor skills, a person’s movement coordination performance quality, are essential to people’s daily functioning (Voelcker-Rehage 2008) and are critical for children’s learning and cognitive development (Miller 1989), perception of academic and athletic self-competence and peer acceptance (for a review see Boudreau-Larivière et al. 2012). Also, levels of gross motor skills competence predict physical activity frequency and intensity in children, (Cairney et al. 2005a; Cairney et al. 2005b), which in turn influence weight status and risk for obesity later in development and during adulthood (Boudreau-Larivière et al. 2012). Therefore, reliable measurements of motor skills are needed to assess whether children’s abilities are within a normal range or show deficits. Classical tests measuring motor skills require that at least one, but preferably two trained evaluators administer the tests by observing a participant performing motor tasks and by making a quick judgment about this participant’s performance. The limit of such methods is that they are prone to errors and misinterpretation by the evaluators (Rosenthal and Rosnow 1991). The objective of this paper is to present and validate a new computerized test using the Kinect technology for motor performance assessment, which has the advantage of registering a participant’s motor skills more precisely than an observer. The computerized test is programmed to assess a participant`s performance using criteria from classical tests.