Top-down and bottom-up approaches to motor skill assessment of children: are child-report and parent-report perceptions predictive of children's performance-based assessment results?

Scand J Occup Ther. 2013 Jan;20(1):45-53. doi: 10.3109/11038128.2012.693944. Epub 2012 May 31.


BACKGROUND/ AIM: Therapists use different types of tests, scales, and instruments to assess children's motor skills, including those classified as being top-down and bottom-up. The aim of the study was to investigate the ability of measures of children's motor skill performance from the perspectives of children and parents (a type of top-down assessment) to predict children's performance-based motor ability test results (a type of bottom-up assessment).

Methods: A convenience sample of 38 children and parents was recruited from Victoria, Australia. Motor skill performance was evaluated from a top-down perspective using the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children--Second Edition (MABC-2) Checklist to measure children's and parents' perspectives respectively. Motor skill performance was also evaluated from a bottom-up approach using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency--Second Edition (BOT-2). Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analysis to determine whether the PSDQ or MABC-2 Checklist was predictive of the children's BOT-2 performance results.

Results: Two predictive relationships were identified based on parents' perspectives, where the total score of the MABC-2 Checklist was found to be a significant predictor of the BOT-2 Manual Coordination motor composite score, accounting for 8.35% of its variance, and the BOT-2 Strength and Agility motor composite score, accounting for 11.6% of its variance. No predictive relationships were identified between the children's self-report PSDQ perspectives and the BOT-2 performance scores.

Conclusions: Therapists are encouraged to utilize a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches and purposefully to seek parents' and children's perspectives when evaluating children's motor skill performance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Parents*
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Victoria