*Corresponding author: Gabriela Pană, Bălașa Doamna, High School of Fine Arts, Târgoviște, Romania
How to cite this article: Gabriela P, Bogdan G. Original Aspects Regarding the Motor Age of Students in Primary Education. J Phy Fit Treatment & Sports.
2021; 9(1): 555751. DOI: 10.19080/JPFMTS.2021.09.555751
As in the other aspects of social life, the field of physical education is an important vector of concerns aimed at optimizing it under all its aspects. The prepubertal period, which is associated with primary education, is particularly important in the development and maturation process of the individual, considering that, up to the age of 10 years, children acquire over 80% of their lifetime motor experience. Therefore, investigating the internal mechanisms specific to the motor and psychomotor organization of students in vocational primary education to optimize their instructive-educational process is the main objective of this experimental research. The experiment involved 20 students in grades 1-4 from the “Bălașa Doamna” High School of Fine Arts in Târgoviște. They were assessed on the sports ground and in the sports hall of the above-mentioned high school. The assessment consisted in applying 12 items specific to the Bilateral Coordination and Running Speed and Agility subtests from the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test Battery, Second Edition. The results highlighted a series of information about the motor age of the investigated subjects, as compared to their chronological age, for the Running Speed and Agility and Bilateral Coordination components. All this information, coupled with the study of theoretical and methodological aspects specific to this level of education, is a basic element of the learning strategy that any person directly involved in the instructive-educational process should adopt and adapt to current educational requirements.
As in the other aspects of social life, the field of physical education is an important vector of concerns aimed at optimizing it under all its aspects. This implies the development of strategies objectified at the national, regional, or institutional level and their implementation to improve the educational path of direct beneficiaries – students . Physical education remains an effective and indispensable means of general education regarded whether we talk about reviewing its objectives and specific contents in accordance with modern requirements or about its influence on the instructive-educational process . Physical education should focus on the acquisition of sequential motor skills and “increased physical competency based on the unique developmental level of the individual” . Issues related to the motor age of students in vocational primary education are included into the sphere of psychomotor development of the individual, a particularly important topic for the theories and models specific to human
behaviour. Psychomotor development refers to changes in a child’s cognitive, emotional, motor, and social abilities from the
beginning of life throughout fetal and neonatal periods, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. “It occurs in a variety of domains and a wide range of theories makes understanding children’s development a challenging undertaking” .
Psychomotricity is a relatively new concept in the field of physical education and sport. Since the transition to physical education as a school subject taught by specialized teachers, the trend has imposed the creation and adaptation of means applied to older students, but equally to preschool and primary school students. This tendency also exists in sports, where the initiation process has lowered to younger age levels. Given this situation, the necessity to respond to children’s real needs has emerged .
Of major importance for the field of physical education and not only, psychomotricity offers, by systematically and properly addressing its components, the favorable framework for the effective adaptation of the child to the requirements of school and social environments . During childhood, individuals interact with their environments through direct and indirect actions that foster their development . The development of various gross
and fine motor skills begins in infancy and, throughout childhood,
individuals experience tremendous physical and developmental
growth that typically progresses in a predictable sequence .
Therefore, the fundamental concern in the current educational
context is represented by the early identification of possible gaps
in the psychomotor development of children through several
specific assessments aimed to achieve the individualized and
differentiated planning of the educational approach .
Assessing motor skills by using an appropriate tool for the
diagnosis and assessment of motor proficiency age is an essential
objective that every teacher should have, mostly in preschool- age
children , but also throughout primary education. The BOT-2
test is a norm-referenced test whose most important reason for
implementation is to assess motor proficiency in children and
adolescents, as well as to use it in the screening process . This
test is applicable and purpose-oriented and is used to measure
motor skills in individuals aged 4 to 21 years. It is often used by
therapists and paediatricians specializing in motor disorders, as
well as by sports teachers to evaluate motor development and
diagnose developmental coordination disorders (DCD) in children
from different countries .
Individual appropriateness, the key concept of developmental
physical education, is based on the central idea that each child
has a unique timing and pattern of growth and development.
Therefore, motor activities performed by children engaged in
developmental physical education programmed “are geared to
their stage of motor development and level of skill learning” . The
prepubertal period, which is associated with primary education,
is particularly important in the development and maturation
process of the individual, considering that, up to the age of 10,
children acquire over 80% of their lifetime motor experience.
Thus, investigating the internal mechanisms specific to the motor
and psychomotor organization of students in vocational primary
education to optimize their instructive-educational process is the
main objective of this experimental research.
The results obtained after assessing the research subjects
through the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test Battery, Second Edition,
will highlight the existence of statistically significant differences
between the arithmetic means of motor age and chronological
age, as revealed by the Bilateral Coordination and Running Speed
and Agility subtests.
This ascertaining psycho-pedagogical experiment is part of
the doctoral thesis of the first author and was conducted on 20
students in grades 1-4 from the “Bălașa Doamna” High School of
Fine Arts in Târgoviște. The research subjects were assessed on
the sports ground and in the sports hall of the above-mentioned
high school between 28 April and 9 May 2014. The assessment
consisted in applying 12 items specific to Bilateral Coordination
and Running Speed and Agility subtests from the Bruininks-
Oseretsky Test Battery, Second Edition. The IT products and
specific tools used for the statistical analysis of the obtained
results were mainly represented by BOT-2 ASSISTTM, the Scoring
and Reporting System (specific software of the Bruininks-
Oseretsky Test Battery, Second Edition, which was used to
process and interpret the raw scores obtained by students in
the subtests performed, and then convert them into derived
scores characteristic of each subject – scale score, standard score,
confidence interval, percentile rank, age equivalent, descriptive
category), as well as MINITAB, version 15.1, of the MINITAB Inc.
(a computer product designed to process the statistical data
characterizing the main entities of a phenomenon subjected to
statistical analysis in order to understand it).
According to Matheis and Estabillo , there are several
“standardized measures that assess motor functioning in
children, including those specifically examining fine and/or
gross motor skills, measures of developmental functioning
and informant report-based interviews and questionnaires”.
As an assessment tool, we used the improved version of the
Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2), namely
a set of individually administered tests with very precise and
well-targeted objectives aimed to measure a wide range of
motor skills in subjects aged 4-21 years. This test was designed
to be used, among others, by physical therapists, psychologists,
physical education teachers and coaches, providing them with an
effective instrument for measuring fine and gross motor skills.
The subtests and corresponding composites that assess manual
coordination, body coordination and strength and agility skills
will be especially informative for developmental adaptive physical
education teachers and physical therapists, while the subtests and
corresponding composites that assess fine manual control skills
will be particularly valuable to occupational therapists, special
educators, classroom teachers and rehabilitation specialists. BOT-
2 assesses abilities from four different motor areas .
• Fine Manual Control: Subtest 1 – Fine Motor Precision;
Subtest 2 – Fine Motor Integration.
• Strength and Agility: Subtest 6 – Running Speed and
Agility; Subtest 8 – Strength.
For this research, out of the eight subtests specific to the motor
areas described above, we have chosen the Bilateral Coordination
and Running Speed and Agility subtests. Defined in the literature
as “the ability to coordinate both sides of the body at the same
time in an organized and controlled manner” , bilateral
coordination is a basic component of psychomotor behaviour,
which directly influences the successful performance of various
types of motor actions and activities carried out in everyday life or
specific to certain branches of sport. Activities from the Running
Speed and Agility subtest, whether if we talk about shuttle run,
hopping on one or both feet, or stepping over a balance beam,
provides the opportunity to make educational and even clinical
observations about child’s performance. The aspects described
above highlight once again that the psychomotor assessment
of these components should be mainly performed at certain
stages of child development in ontogenesis, when the specialized
intervention, because of identifying normal or pathological gaps
in the psychomotor development of the child, has maximum
chances of success.
Subtest 4: Bilateral Coordination
Item 1: Touching Nose with Index Fingers - Eyes Closed.
Item 2: Jumping Jacks.
Item 3: Jumping in Place - Same Sides Synchronized.
Item 4: Jumping in Place - Opposite Sides Synchronized.
Item 5: Pivoting Thumbs and Index Fingers.
Item 6: Tapping Feet and Fingers - Same Sides Synchronized.
Item 7: Tapping Feet and Fingers - Opposite Sides.
The research results were statistically processed using the
following IT products:
1) BOT-2 ASSISTTM, Scoring and Reporting System: specific
software of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test Battery, Second Edition.
2) MINITAB, version 15.1, of the MINITAB Inc., a computer
product designed to process the statistical data characterizing the
main entities of a phenomenon subjected to statistical analysis to
In our research, we used the following instruments provided
by this IT product:
• Statistical indicators of central tendency (arithmetic
mean, median, mode).
• Statistical indicators of data spreading (standard
deviation, dispersion, maximum and minimum values, range,
coefficient of variation).
• The two-tailed dependent
t-test – to verify the statistical
hypothesis regarding the existence of statistical differences
between the arithmetic means of motor age and chronological age
for the measured parameters.
3) The Microsoft EXCEL 2003 product, which was used to:
• Calculate the Cohen’s effect size index and the percentage
value of the difference between the average scores recorded by
• Make the necessary adjacent calculations (totals, mean
differences, percentages, data ordering, filtering).
• Statistically interpret the test results for each of the
Table 1 shows the results achieved by students in the
Bilateral Coordination and Running Speed and Agility subtests,
as well as the statistical interpretation of the specific values for
each subtest. Statistical data processing highlights the following
aspects specific to the two components addressed (Bilateral
Coordination and Running Speed and Agility): In the Bilateral
Coordination test, the average motor age is 9.83 (9:10) years
compared to 7.53 (7:6), which is the average chronological age.
We find that the average motor age is 2.30 (2:4) years higher than
the average chronological age. Data spreading is homogeneous
for chronological age and relatively homogeneous for motor age.
The most common result for motor age is 8.58 (8:7) years, with a
percentage of 40% of total results. The effect size (1.61) indicates
large-to-very large differences between the two ages.
The ages recorded for Bilateral Coordination are graphically
represented in Figure 1. In the Running Speed and Agility subtest,
the average motor age is 9.82 (9:10) years. We note that the
average motor age is 2.29 (2:3) years higher than the average
chronological age. Data spreading is relatively homogenous for
motor age and homogeneous for chronological age. The most
common motor age is 9.33 (9:4) years, with a percentage of 30%
of total results. The effect size (3.84) indicates large to very large
differences between the two ages. The ages recorded for Running
Speed and Agility subtest are graphically represented in Figure 2.
Present as a specific objective for the field of physical
education, the development of psychomotor skills ensures,
through its fulfillment, the completion of the acquisitions specific
to the different stages of learning in the child’s life. It follows
that insufficient approach to these issues, especially in their
relationship with other variables of the educational process,
can lead to an incomplete and distorted picture of the efficiency of programming and evaluation of teaching content and results,
transposed into behavior specific to this age stage. The results of
this research highlight the importance of adapting and optimizing
the methodology of applying the physical education program at the
primary cycle, depending on the particularities of psychomotor
development of students, especially at the direct relationship
between motor and chronological age. For the field of physical
education, knowing the level of psychomotor development of the
child is both an objective present in each stage of study and the
starting point in developing intervention strategies characteristic
of educational cycles, beginning from the content of the study
program and ending with the formulation of the operational
objectives of each lesson. In the absence of this valuable
information, the teacher is put in the situation to approach the
instructive-educational process in an empirical way, without the
feedback of the students he works with, which is unacceptable in
the conditions of a modern and efficient education .
Knowledge and understanding of the internal mechanisms
that influence the appearance of differences between motor
age and chronological age of primary vocational students, using
objective and modern means of assessment, is the starting point
in developing individualized teaching and training strategies
which considers both the educational profile of the student and
the stage of his ontogenetic development. Moreover, the results
of this research open the horizon of orientations to other age
stages in which specialized intervention is urgently needed, both
in terms of training and in terms of diagnosing certain gaps in the
field of psychomotor development of the child. We refer here to
the preschool period and to the one of the gymnasium cycles of
studies, periods at the level of which the most important psychobehavioral
acquisitions are made. We also consider it opportune
to initiate further research, covering various aspects related to
the psychomotor development of primary and primary vocational
students and whose results allow the formulation of valid
conclusions at regional and even national level.
After testing the group of subjects to verify the existence of
statistically significant differences between the arithmetic means
of chronological age and motor age for the Bilateral Coordination
and Running Speed and Agility parameters, we can draw the
following conclusions: As regards the Bilateral Coordination
component, the statistical hypothesis verification using the twotailed
dependent t-test for equal means has shown that there are
statistically significant differences between the two average ages,
p << 0.0001 < 0.05. Therefore, the research hypothesis according
to which the difference between chronological age and motor age
is statistically significant is confirmed.
For the Running Speed and Agility parameter, the statistical
hypothesis verification using the two-tailed dependent t-test for
equal means has shown that there are statistically significant
differences between the two average ages, p << 0.0001 < 0.05.
Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected and the research hypothesis
according to which the difference between chronological age
and motor age is statistically significant is accepted. Physical
education mainly aims to educate and develop fine and gross
motor skills, generally with an intentional purpose, thus providing
the necessary conditions to reach a high level of motor behaviour
(a prerequisite for motor performance), with applicability in
various fields of social practice.
Motor development is directly related to the development
of cognitive, language and social skills. The assessment of motor
skills and functioning in children provides valuable information
towards the screening of developmental delays, the identification
of neuro-developmental disorders, intervention planning and
progress monitoring . Physical education should encourage
the uniqueness of the individual and should be based on the
fundamental idea that, although motor development is agedrelated,
it is not age-dependent. As a result, teacher decisions
concerning what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach
are primarily based on the appropriateness of the activity for
the individual and only secondarily on the appropriateness of
the activity for a certain age group . In an earlier time, the
psychomotricity integrated into school physical education was
assimilated only as an instrument of motor development. At
the same time, school physical education recognizes the human
person as a subject, with complex emotions and own shares. The
relationship between physical education and psychomotricity
originates in the human being’s desire for relating to and
integrating into the environment, which can be achieved through
conscious actions and movements, through experiencing at every
stage of life .
The research results highlighted a series of information about
the motor age of the investigated subjects, as compared to their
chronological age, for the Running Speed and Agility and Bilateral
Coordination components. All this information, coupled with the
study of theoretical and methodological aspects specific to this
level of education, is a basic element of the learning strategy that
any person directly involved in the instructive-educational process
should adopt and adapt to current educational requirements.
Assessment, in whatever form and context, is an essential link of
the educational process, which involves the constant adaptation
of its content to current requirements related to the curriculum
and the concrete ways of applying it according to each educational
level. When selecting an appropriate measure, attention should be
paid to child characteristics and the purpose of the assessment.
As part of a comprehensive assessment, standardized measures
should be paired with parent/caregiver interview and clinical
examination of cognitive, adaptive, and physical functioning .
Therefore, the modern means of assessment, for example the
Bruininks-Oseretsky Test Battery, Second Edition, as instruments
for validating the results of experimental research like the present
one, continue to prove their usefulness and effectiveness in terms
of objectivity, but especially from the perspective of the multiple
aspects targeted and highlighted [16-19].
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Bruininks RH, Bruininks BD (2005) Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (Second Edition). Minneapolis, MN: NCS Pearson.
Prajakta K, Dhote S, Palekar T (2017) Assessment of bilateral coordination using Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, 2nd Edition (BOT-2), in 5 to 15 years school going children. International Journal of Physiotherapy and Research 5(3): 2026-2030.
Camargos K, Maciel R (2016) The importance of psychomotricity in children education. Multidisciplinary Core Scientific Journal of Knowledge 9: 254-275.