Assessment of motor development in childhood: Contemporary issues, considerations, and future directions

Priscila Tamplain, E. Kipling Webster, Ali Brian, Nadia C. Valentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-409
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Motor Learning and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Change
  • Context
  • Health
  • Research
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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