Posted on: March 7, 2018 | By: mhinshaw4 | Filed under: Evaluative, Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2, T&M Tools

After reviewing the test and previous posts I have found their information on test updates and procedure to be accurate and up to date with the last test update being in 2000.

Category of test: Evaluative

Title: Assessment of gross and fine motor skills in preschool children using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales Instrument

Purpose: Identify motor development level of children aged 3-6 years old within the school system by using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales – Second Edition (PDMS-2). Understanding where relative motor deficits are occurring will allow for planning activities to focus on increasing areas of need for specific children with can lead to benefits not only physically but also socially1.

Study Population: 156 normally motor developing children, 82 boys and 74 girls, aged 3-6 years old with a mean age of 52.26 months. These children were all students attending four schools in Western Greece. Exclusion criteria included any diagnosed neurological, sensory or motor problems.

Methods: Children were separated into 5 groups based off age; (1): 37-42 months, (2): 43-48 months, (3): 49-54 months, (4): 55-60 months and (5): 61-72 months old. The subjects were tested over 5 of the 6 subsets from the PDMS-2 including stationary, locomotion, object manipulation, grasping and visual-motor integration. The 6th subset reflexes was not performed since all participants were at least 3 years old and therefore no longer appropriate for reflex testing.

Due to the time requires to perform all actions in each of the above 5 categories researchers only had participants attempt an activity if 75% of standardized sample for that age group was able to successfully complete the activity. A score of ‘2’ is given when the participant is able to complete the activity meeting all criteria, ‘1’ is given when attempts have resemblance to the activity but does not meet all criteria and a ‘0’ is given if they will not attempt an activity or “the attempt does not show that the skill is emerging”. When a participant scores three consecutive 2’s on the test that is determined to be their ‘basal level’, three consecutive 0’s on the test is determined to be their ‘ceiling level’. Over a nine-month period 48 visits were made to the schools and each child was tested individually in a room without peers for about 20-40 minutes using the PDMS-2.

Raw score results were converted into standard scores and quotient scores based off of the tables that are provided with the PDMS-2 in order to compare the sample of participant’s motor abilities to those considered standardized for the PDMS-2. Data was analyzed with independent t-tests in order to account for gender differences and One Way Anova was used to compare these scores to the standardized patients within their age group. Bonferroni test used for post hoc comparisons and significance threshold set at .05.

Outcome Measures: PDMS-2 using 5 of the 6 subsets including; stationary ability, locomotion, object manipulation, grasping and visual-motor integration.

PDMS-2 can be used for children from birth to 72+ months. It is recognized internationally for its reliability and validity. First edition was distributed in 1983 but most recent version updated in 20002. This study chose the PDMS-2 over other tests because it assesses physical function in both gross motor and fine motor skills, is the “first battery standardized on a national level” and is the “only tool to combine evaluation with planned intervention”. PDMS-2 is broken into six subsets including; reflexes, stationary, locomotion, object manipulation, grasping and visual-motor integration based off of Harrow’s taxonomy of psychomotor domain.

Intervention: Following measurement of the children the researchers informed the class teacher about specific motor activities that they could add to their exercise program. “Extensive discussion” of motor development in children occurred between the researchers and the teachers of the school.

Results: Mean scores for each subset of at least 8 is considered average or satisfactory compared to norms, likewise quotient scores of 90 or above are also considered average. Overall, the means of the 156 children were above the average score of 8 for each of the 5 subsets tested, with a range of 9.51 on the stationary subset to 11.46 on visual-motor integration. Similarly, the quotient scores were also above norms for average with a gross motor quotient of 97.92 and a fine motor quotient of 107.38. Trends noted on participants included girls scoring higher on stationary, locomotion and visual-motor integration items and boys scoring higher on the object manipulation. No significant differences existed in the grasping subset. Overall no significant difference in Gross motor quotient or Total motor quotient between genders, however girls had significantly higher scores in the Fine motor quotient. The youngest (37-42 months) and oldest (61-72 months) groups had significantly lower scores on the stationary items compared to the age groups between them. The oldest group (61-72 months) also showed significantly lower scores than all other age groups in the locomotion subset. In object manipulation the youngest two groups had significantly better scores than the oldest two groups with no significant difference with the middle (49-55 month) group. In the grasping subset the youngest (37-42 month) group had significantly lower scores than all other groups and the oldest group (61-72 months) all successfully completed the grasping tasks (SD=0). Finally, in the visual-motor integration subset demonstrated significantly lower scores in the youngest two groups (37-42 months & 43-48 months). When examining quotient scores the oldest group (61-72 months) received the lowest scores in gross motor quotient. In the fine motor quotient the youngest group (37-42) received the lowest scores. When looking at the total motor quotient it was found that the youngest (37-42 months) and oldest (61-72 months) scored significantly lower than the other groups.

Strengths/Limitations: This article did a good job explaining other tests that exist and why they chose the PDMS-2 over these other tests. It discussed how both researchers performing the test had received extensive training in administering the PDMS-2 and conducted a trial of 10 participants and found no discrepancies in scoring between researchers. The article mentioned the possibility of social roles and gender stereotypes impacting which skills are more developed between the boys and girls. One possible limitation of this study could be the limited variation in sample size, being that all the participants came from 3 different schools in Greece. This could have some impact on the generalizability as these children may have different levels of exercise or altered social/gender roles, which can impact motor development level.

Conclusion: This study revealed some interesting findings about motor abilities at different age levels and between genders. Overall this study found that the participants mean scores were above the norms for each subset and quotient. Some trends that this study found were a faster development in the girls ability to perform stationary tasks such as balance, locomotion tasks such as hopping and skipping, and faster development of hand skills and visual-motor integration skills. The boys showed a greater ability with object manipulation items including kicking, throwing and catching. Other studies have found similar findings based upon gender differences3. It also found that the oldest children had difficulty with gross motor skills, especially stationary and locomotion skills. The oldest group also had the highest performance in fine motor skills subsets including grasping, which they received a perfect score, and visual-motor integration. Determining where relative motor skill deficits may occur can allow you to tailor an activities and games to focus on areas that may need work. It has been shown that increasing motor abilities is also related to increased social factors.

Dourou E, Komessariou A, Riga V, Lavidas K. Assessment of gross and fine motor skills in preschool children using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales Instrument. European Psychomotricity Journal. 2017;9(1):89-113.


  1. Hardy, L. L., King, L., Farrell, L., Macniven, R., & Howlett, S. (2010). Fundamental movement skills among Australian preschoolchildren. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 13(5), 503–508.
  2. Fewell, R., & Folio, R. (2000a). Peabody Developmental Motor Scales second edition: Examiner’s manual . Texas: Shoal Creek Boulevard.
  3. Foulkes, J. D., Knowles, Z., Fairclough, S. J., Stratton, G., O’Dwyer, M., Ridgers, N. D., & Foweather, L. (2015). Fundamental movement skill performance of preschoolchildren in Northwest England. Perceptual Motor Sk ills, 121(1), 260–283.