Relative age effects in the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2: age banding and scoring errors
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AIM: The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2) uses age-grouped scoring, which will result in relative motor functioning being overestimated for some children and underestimated for others. In this paper, we measure these errors and discuss their consequences. METHOD: We pool data from two validation studies to obtain a sample of 278 children assessed with the MABC-2 (mean (SD) age: 5 years, 0 months (9.6 months); 142 female). We used regression to measure the association between standard score and relative age, and used these results to estimate misclassification rates at the MABC-2's recommended thresholds. RESULTS: Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 scores were distributed as expected (mean (SD) = 10.4 (2.8)). We estimated that the standard score varied by 2.76 units (0.92 SDs) per year of relative age. Depending on threshold and age bandwidth, this implies overall misclassification rates from 9% to 23%. INTERPRETATION: Relative age differences in MABC-2 scores led to substantial systematic error for young children. These errors can affect MABC-2 validity, longitudinal stability and agreement with other tools, which may reduce the appropriateness of care offered to children. Scoring approaches that may reduce or eliminate these errors are outlined.
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