BACKGROUND: A large proportion of children are not able to perform age-appropriate fundamental movement skills (FMS). Thus, it is important to assess FMS so that children needing additional support can be identified in a timely fashion . There is great potential for universal screening of FMS in schools, but research has established that current assessment tools are not fit for purpose .
OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate the psychometric properties of a FMS assessment tool designed specifically to meet the demands of universal screening in schools .
METHODS: A working group consisting of academics from developmental psychology, public health and behavioural epidemiology developed an assessment tool (FUNMOVES) based on theory and prior evidence . Over three studies , 814 children aged 4 to 11 years were assessed in school using FUNMOVES . Rasch analysis was used to evaluate structural validity and modifications were then made to FUNMOVES activities after each study based on Rasch results and implementation fidelity .
RESULTS: The initial Rasch analysis found numerous psychometric problems including multidimensionality, disordered thresholds, local dependency, and misfitting items . Study 2 showed a unidimensional measure, with acceptable internal consistency and no local dependency, but that did not fit the Rasch model . Performance on a jumping task was misfitting, and there were issues with disordered thresholds (for jumping, hopping and balance tasks). Study 3 revealed a unidimensional assessment tool with good fit to the Rasch model, and no further issues, once jumping and hopping scoring were modified .
IMPLICATIONS: The finalised version of FUNMOVES (after three iterations) meets standards for accurate measurement, is free and able to assess a whole class in under an hour using resources available in schools . Thus FUNMOVES has the potential to allow schools to efficiently screen FMS to ensure that targeted support can be provided and disability barriers removed.