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Screening of gross motor skills among Swedish children and adolescents
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2232-253X
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH.
2006 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Screening of gross motor skills among Swedish children and adolescents

Anna Tidén, Marie Nyberg

Stockholm University College of Physical Education and Sports, Sweden

Physical Education (PE) teachers in Sweden have noticed that pupils are getting worse in their ability to manage gross motor skills. The gross motor skills and coordinative skills are the solid ground for sports and other health activities. If not developing their gross motor skill children tends to avoid taking part in games and sports. The benefits of sports and outdoor activities such as social and health benefits can therefore be missed. The aim of the study was to investigate 2000 pupils in school year 3, 6 and 9 concerning their: physical and health status, the level of physical activity and conception of the subject “PE and health”. The selection of pupils was based on randomly chosen schools and classes from Sweden. The aim of  the motor skills test, was to make a survey of what Swedish pupils can manage in gross motor skills today. Based upon these results we can in the future tell whether the pupils are maintaining today’s level of gross motor skills or not. The Swedish curriculum for “sports and health” states that pupils should manage gross motor skills in the 5th year of school. Can they manage to do that?

The study started with the construction of the gross motor and coordinative skill tests. The movements selected for the test were based on gross motor skills, coordinative skills and combinations of these skills. The test included 16 movements measured on a scale from 1 to 4. The levels of the scale have a written description to support the ocular observations. The highest score to achieve was 64 and the lowest was 16. Examples of skills tested were; skipping, jumping, crawling, rolling, being upside down, bouncing and throwing balls. The results are analyzed both on an aggregated level here referred to as gross motor skills profile, as well as on a single movement level. The results indicate that 29% of the pupils in the 6th school year are not able to manage the gross motor skill tests without remarks. The pupils with the lowest scores can be found among young female children with low strength and overweight. The test also shows that in the 9th school year boys are stronger than girls. Boys and girls in the lower ages (school year 3 and 6) are more similar in the gross motor skills profile but not on the single movement level. It can also be noted that girls are better in skipping and some of the movements of more gymnastic character whereas boys are better in throwing balls and beanbags. Boys and girls have nearly identical results in the test of balance, walking on a balance beam where gender or age does not seem to have any affect.

From the main findings of the tests we can observe that the younger pupils have not yet developed the gross motor skills. It is also noticeable that many of the pupils in the 6th school year are achieving poor results in the tests even though the Swedish curriculum for “sports and health” states that the pupils should have achieved these skills already in the 5th school year. Many of the girls in the 9th school year are very poor in the movements that included some strength ability. This weakness is important for PE teachers to pay attention to, at an early stage of the girl’s physical development when girls do not develop the same strength as boys during their puberty.

If children do not have the gross motor skill and some strength it is more likely that they will choose other activities or have other interest then physical activities and sports on their leisure time. This may in the future give them health problems because we know from fact that physical inactivity is one of the main causes to bad health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006.
Keyword [en]
screening, gross motor skills, children
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-2474OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-2474DiVA: diva2:568121
Conference
ECSS, European College of Sport Science, 2006, Lausanne, July
Available from: 2012-11-15 Created: 2012-11-15 Last updated: 2015-12-07Bibliographically approved

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