Rationale Among the most widely used instruments to assess developmental co‐ordination disorder (DCD) in children are the Bruininks‐Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP) and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (M‐ABC). However, there is little research on agreement between these tests, when administered to children in field‐based settings by trained non‐clinicians.
Method Ten of 75 schools participating in a larger study were randomly selected. All children in grade 4 (n= 340) in each of these schools were assessed at the same time using both the BOTMP‐SF and the M‐ABC in May of 2005. The order of tests was balanced, with an average gap in time between tests of 10–15 min. All tests were administered by trained research assistants.
Results The correlation between tests was moderate (r= 0.50, P < 0.01). Kappas were low at the fifth (k= 0.19) and 15th (k= 0.29) percentile cut‐points, which are generally used to identify cases of DCD. Re‐analysis using the relative improvement over chance (RIOC) statistic, however, revealed slightly better agreement at both cut‐points (fifth percentile, RIOC = 0.29; 15th percentile, RIOC = 0.47). Children who scored as probable for DCD on both motor tests, as well as on only the BOTMP‐SF, had higher body mass index, poorer physical fitness and lower levels of teacher‐reported physical ability than those positive for DCD on the M‐ABC only or those who scored negatively on both tests.
Discussion In general, the agreement between tests, even after adjustment for RIOC, was poor. Children identified with poor motor competence by both tests or by the BOTMP‐SF only are at particular risk for poor physical fitness, overweight/obesity and physical inactivity. It appears that each assessment measures different dimensions of motor ability but that under field‐based conditions the M‐ABC may be less useful when applied by non‐clinicians.