Background: A high level of participant skill is influential in determining the outcome of many sports. Thus, tests assessing skill outcomes in sport are commonly used by coaches and researchers to estimate an athlete's ability level, to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions or for the purpose of talent identification.
Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to examine the methodological quality, measurement properties and feasibility characteristics of sporting skill outcome tests reported in the peer-reviewed literature.
Data sources: A search of both SPORTDiscus and MEDLINE databases was undertaken.
Study selection: Studies that examined tests of sporting skill outcomes were reviewed. Only studies that investigated measurement properties of the test (reliability or validity) were included. A total of 22 studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods: A customised checklist of assessment criteria, based on previous research, was utilised for the purpose of this review.
Results: A range of sports were the subject of the 22 studies included in this review, with considerations relating to methodological quality being generally well addressed by authors. A range of methods and statistical procedures were used by researchers to determine the measurement properties of their skill outcome tests. The majority (95%) of the reviewed studies investigated test-retest reliability, and where relevant, inter and intra-rater reliability was also determined. Content validity was examined in 68% of the studies, with most tests investigating multiple skill domains relevant to the sport. Only 18% of studies assessed all three reviewed forms of validity (content, construct and criterion), with just 14% investigating the predictive validity of the test. Test responsiveness was reported in only 9% of studies, whilst feasibility received varying levels of attention.
Limitations: In organised sport, further tests may exist which have not been investigated in this review. This could be due to such tests firstly not being published in the peer-review literature and secondly, not having their measurement properties (i.e., reliability or validity) examined formally.
Conclusions: Of the 22 studies included in this review, items relating to test methodological quality were, on the whole, well addressed. Test-retest reliability was determined in all but one of the reviewed studies, whilst most studies investigated at least two aspects of validity (i.e., content, construct or criterion-related validity). Few studies examined predictive validity or responsiveness. While feasibility was addressed in over half of the studies, practicality and test limitations were rarely addressed. Consideration of study quality, measurement properties and feasibility components assessed in this review can assist future researchers when developing or modifying tests of sporting skill outcomes.