Fundamental Movement Skills and Their Assessment in Primary Schools from the Perspective of Teachers

Meas Phys Educ Exerc Sci. 2021 May 11;25(3):236-249. doi: 10.1080/1091367X.2021.1874955. eCollection 2021.


Evidence suggests that children struggle to acquire age-appropriate fundamental movement skills (FMS), despite their importance for facilitating physical activity. This has led to calls for routine school-based screening of children's FMS. However, there is limited research exploring schools' capacity to conduct such assessments. This study investigated what factors might affect the adoption and implementation of FMS assessments in primary schools. School staff (n = 853) completed an online questionnaire developed using the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation and Behavior (COM-B) model. A majority reported that knowledge of pupils' FMS ability would be beneficial (65.3%), and 71.8% would assess FMS if support was provided. Barriers included: Capability - few possessed knowledge of FMS (15%); Opportunity - teachers reported 30-60 minutes as acceptable for assessing a class, a substantially shorter period than current assessments require; Motivation - 57.2% stated FMS assessments would increase workload stress. Solutions to these issues are discussed using the COM-B theoretical framework.

Keywords: Fundamental movement skills; assessment; behavior change; school.

Grants and funding

The work of the lead author (L.H. Eddy) was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Pathway Award [ES/P000745/1]. M. Mon-Williams was supported by a Fellowship from the Alan Turing Institute. The work of G. Medd was supported by PhD funding from the Beckfoot Trust. The work was conducted within infrastructure provided by the Centre for Applied Education Research (funded by the Department for Education through the Bradford Opportunity Area) and ActEarly: a City Collaboratory approach to early promotion of good health and wellbeing funded by the Medical Research Council [MR/S037527/]. L.J.B. Hill, M. Mon-Williams, N. Preston, and D. D. Bingham’s involvement was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Yorkshire and Humber ARC [NIHR20016]. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Institute for Health Research or the Departments of Health and Social Care or Education.