Interrater reliability of the star excursion balance test

J Athl Train. Sep-Oct 2013;48(5):621-6. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.3.03. Epub 2013 Mar 19.


Context: Dynamic postural control has gained popularity as a more useful assessment of function than static postural control. One measurement of dynamic postural control that has increased in frequency of use is the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT). Although the intrarater reliability of the SEBT is excellent, few authors have determined interrater reliability. Preliminary evidence has shown poor reliability between assessors.

Objective: To determine interrater reliability using a group of investigators at 2 testing sites. A corollary purpose was to examine the interrater reliability when using normalized and nonnormalized performance scores on the SEBT.

Design: Descriptive laboratory study.

Setting: University research laboratory.

Patients or other participants: A total of 29 healthy participants between 18 and 50 years of age.

Intervention(s): Participants were evaluated by 5 raters at 2 testing sites. After participants performed 4 practice trials, each rater assessed 3 test trials in the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reaching directions of the SEBT.

Main outcome measure(s): Normalized and nonnormalized (leg-length) reaching distances were analyzed. Additionally, the mean and maximum values from the 3 test trials were analyzed, producing a total of 16 variables.

Results: For all 16 measures, the interrater reliability was excellent. For the normalized maximum excursion distances, the intraclass correlation coefficients (1,1) ranged from 0.86 to 0.92. Reliability for the nonnormalized measurements was stronger, ranging from 0.89 to 0.94.

Conclusions: When the raters have been trained by an experienced rater, the SEBT is a test with excellent reliability when used across multiple raters in different settings. This information adds to the body of knowledge that exists regarding the usefulness of the SEBT as an assessment tool in clinical and research practice. Establishing excellent interrater reliability with normalized and nonnormalized scores strengthens the evidence for using the SEBT, especially at multiple sites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Young Adult