EXERCISE AND QUALITY OF LIFE
Volume 7, Issue 2, December 2015
DOES THE CHANGE OF TESTING PROTOCOL HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON THE
RELIABILITY IN MOTOR SKILL TESTS?
, Ivan Vrbik
, Dejan Madić
and Goran Sporiš
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Industrial school Sisak, Sisak, Croatia
Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
The aim of this research was to determine the effect of two different metric protocols, the
present standard and a new protocol with a video demonstration of the task, on reliability and
homogeneity of motor skills assessment tests for the students in primary education. The
sample of participants comprised ofstudentsin the third and fourth grades from four
elementary schools in the urban area of Petrinja and Sisak in Croatia. The total number of
students that participated was 327, consisting of 186 boys and 141 girls aged 10.5 years. The
students were divided in two subsamples, based on the protocol applied. The sample of
variables consisted of 4 motor skills assessment tests: Shuttle-run, Partial Curl-up, 90° Push-
ups, Back-saver sit and reach.The results of metric characteristics of composite testing in the
field of motor skills have shown a high level of reliability, homogeneity and sensitivity of
tests after both protocols were applied. Based on the reliability coefficient, the test called
90°Push-ups can be used further by using the video demonstration protocol, with a few trials
before the application, while the test called Partial Curl-updoes not allow the use and
application of the test in this form and using this method. The research shows that, with
correction of some tests, the new protocol with the video demonstration has better results of
metric characteristics of tests compared to the standard protocol.
metric protocol, student, elementary school, motor skill tests
With the aim to determine the level of motor skills and physical condition of a subject,
laboratory and field test are applied on a daily basis. The importance of motor skills is
evident in the performance of everyday tasks, as well as all physical activities. The
differences in the level of motor skills are specific for every individual (Mišigoj-Duraković,
2008), and individual differences, referring to growth dynamics and development, are a
source of variability of shapes, functions and all abilities of human organism
Bouchard & Bar-Or, 2004, cited in Mišigoj-Duraković, 2008). Most of nervous structures and
basic forms of motion are developed by the school age, which makes this age ideal for
learning of basic abilities (Mišigoj-Duraković, 2008). The development of a child's motor
skills can be improvedthe best inthe age of 4 to 10. Former research conducted with students
are based on measuring motor abilities, but also fine and gross motor skills, during all the
stages of a child's development. The main goal of every research is the insight into direction
of development and the level of it, in order to react on time by applying and learning new
motor structures. Motor development has a role of controlling parameter in the general child's
development, because students need to be observed in all development stages and areas
1993; Piek, Dawson, Smith, &Gasson,
2008). Also, a positive
connection was discovered between thelevel of motor skills development andthe level of a
child's physical activities
(Cliff, Okely, Smith &McKeen,
2009; Fisheret al.,
Raudsepp& Pall, 2006). In order to study the motor development of a child thoroughly,
measurement is conducted to determine the level of motor skills or to estimate the success of
intervention program. Student’s understanding of the motor protocol, the instruction given
during the process of learning and the demonstrations are crucial for the final result in testsfor
motor status assessment
(Hayes, Hodges, Scott, Horn&Williams,
Kantak&Burtner, 2008), but they also affect the improvement and learning of certain forms
of motion (Al-Abodd, Davids&Bennett, 2001; Horn, Williams, Scott&Hodges,2005; Laguna,
Different forms of information can be given to a participant to help him/her infinding
(Magill,1993; Magill &Schoenfelder-Zohdi,
demonstration improves the quality of the visual information that later improves the trialof an
aiming task (Scully & Carnegie, 1998). Demonstration is a method for motor skills learning,
based on the capacity of nervous system to extract the important information from the
model'sperformance that can turn into a motor order (Buchanan & Dean, 2010).Improvement
and development of technology and higher availability of it, made the everyday use of
technical devices in all social spheres of life a means inevitable for work. The use of video-
taped demonstration as a way to share information with other people in the field of education
is particularly interesting. In the past few years, alongside the standard protocol with ''live''
demonstration by teachers or students, the new forms of protocol, that can significantly
improve learning and acquisition of motor skills, are in use.
One of the methods to provide information, as a way of learning of the task, is also a
video demonstration by a modeling
(an expert). The most usual form of providing
instructions during the learning of motor task are a video demonstration by an expert or a
(1993), and also Magill
&Schoenfelder-Zohdi (1996) confirmed in their research that participants can learn the skill
by observing an expert without getting any detailed feedback. In the research by Ram, Riggs,
Skaling, Landers &McCullagh (2007), modeling is defined as an intervention with external
stimulation, such as ''live'' demonstration or a video demonstration, during which the observer
learns the right way to perform the task by looking at the performance of someone else.
According to Boyer, Miltenberger, Batsche&Fogel (2009), video modeling includes video
clip of an expert performing a certain task that is later shown to a student or a sportsman.
Modeling as a protocol that provides information about a basic motion or a task, has to be
performed as a conceptual information about ''what to do'' and refers primarily to the
performance trial (Zetou, Tzetzis, Vernadakis&Kioumourtzoglou, 2002, in Richardson and
Lee,1999). Feedback in the form of a video enables a complete feedback about the
performance and uses a model as demonstration of the correct performance, and expand the
standard way of learning and improving by adding a visual component to a verbal feedback
Many studies have explored the effect of certain protocols on learning various skills,
and compared the effects of the protocols on learning these skills as well. The most common
protocol applied is the video demonstration by a model used for learning certain skills. The
positive effects of video demonstrations, as well as faster learning based on the modeling's
performance, with improvement of results compared to some other protocols, have been
confirmed in many studies (Aiken et al., 2012; Atienza et al., 1998; Boyer et al., 2009;
BenitezSantiago, 2011; Cheraghiodocheshmehet al., 2009; Guadagnoliet al., 2002; Hodges et
al., 2003; Horn et al., 2005; Kelley, 2014; Laguna, 2008, Parsons et al.,
Ferracioli&Denardi, 2010; Zetouet al., 2002). However, differences between protocols were
not found in some studies(Al-Aboodet al., 2001; Emmenet al., 1985; Haguenaueret al., 2005;
Horn et al., 2002; Jennings et al., 2013; Miller et al., 1988; Magill &Schoenfelder-Zohdi,
Based on the results of the presentresearch, we noticed the lack of knowledge about
the effect of different metric protocols on reliability and homogeneity in tests for motor skill
assessment, which is the aim of this research. Following the aim, the hypothesis of this
research is that the application and the use of a new protocol for motor skill assessment with
a video demonstration of the motor task will increase the level of reliability, homogeneity and
sensitivity of the tests in comparison with a protocol that does not include a video
demonstration of the motor task.
The participants for this research were students in the third and fourth grade from four
elementary schools that belong to the urban area in the towns of Petrinja and Sisak. The total
number of students that participated in the research was 327, out of which 186 boys and 141
girls, aged 10,5 that are145 cm tall on average and have the average weight of 38,7 kg. The
students were divided in two subsamples, based on the protocol applied: Standard Protocol
(183; 110males and 73females) and Video Demonstration Protocol (144; 76male and 68
All the participants in this research attend regular classes of physical education, and
did not previously have experience with most of the given motor tasks, and they were
completely healthy during the tests.The research is approved by the Scientific and Ethical
Committeeof the Faculty of Kinesiology, the University of Zagreb, the Senate of Zagreb
University, while the head-masters of the schools mentioned above allowed the participation
of their schools before the beginning of the research. After that, parents of each child signed
the written agreement for the participation in the research and they were informed about the
object and the aim of the research.
The sample of variables in this research included 2 anthropometric measures (body
height and weight) and 4 tests for motor skill assessment (Shuttle-run, Partial Curl-up,
90°Push-up, Back-saver sit and reach).
: a participant stands outside the start line in a high starting position, head turned
towards the movement direction. On the sign ''Ready! Steady! Go!'', the student runs to get
the sponge, pick it up, runs back to the start-finish line, puts the sponge behind the line, runs
back to get the second sponge, takes it and runs back behind the start finish line. The task is
done when the participant puts the second sponge behind the start-finish line (Malina,
Bouchard & Bar-Or, 2004; Welk,& Meredith, 2010; Novak, 2010; Vrbik, 2015).
: a student is lying on the mat with his/her knees bent in 140°, with the hands
extended along the body and palms facing the mat. Under the feet, the measuring tapeis put in
the line with the top of the middle finger, and a piece of paper is put under his/her head. The
student starts doing the task on the sign, lifting the head and shoulders while sliding with the
hands on the measuring tape and putting the head back on the paper every time. The test is
finished when 75 lift of the upper body is done, whenthe student repeats a mistake for the
second time while doing the activity or is not able to continue the performance of the motor
activity (Welk, & Meredith, 2010; Novak, 2010; Vrbik, 2015).
: a student is in the position of back press with the hand in shoulder width or a
bit wider, legs straight and spread a little, feet on the mat, back straight. The student goes
down with the hands towards the mat until the upper arm is parallel with the floor, and then
lifts up back to the starting position. The task is done when the studentis not able continue the
task or the second correction is done during the performance (Welk& Meredith, 2010; Vrbik,
Back-saver sit and reach
: astudent sits in front of the measuring device, one leg completely
extended, while the other is bent in knee with the foot on the mat. The arms are extended to
the front above the measuring scale with the palms put together, both facing the mat. With
both palms the student bends forwards over the measuring tape and holds the last position for
one second (Welk&Meredith, 2010; Vrbik, 2015).
The tests Back-saver sit and reach andShuttle-run were repeated three times, while other tests
were done once.
The research was conducted at the regular classes of physical education in the school
year 2013/2014, during May and the beginning of June. In the same period of time, lasting
two weeks, the experiment was done in both groups in two treatments. The first treatment
included the initial testing of all the students in the tasks. The second treatment consisted of
testing after the treatment in each task, using the method of random choice and applying
different metric protocols. Before doing the experiment, both groups of participants were
prepared by doing a 5-minute warm up that included joint rotations and basic games
appropriate for the age of the students.
Data analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
(v13.0, SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). The metric characteristics of each test were
determined in accordance with the experimental protocol:Reliability (Cronbach's α) - the
method of internal consistency in the series of measuring and interclass correlations (ICC);
test-retest method between the series of measures, and the coefficient of variability, while the
homogeneity was measured with average correlations between the particles (AVR). The level
of reliability of 1-item tests was determined by the test-retest method, based on the values of
the correlations between the test results and the repeated test, while homogeneity was --
determined by the t-test.
Normality of data distribution for each variable was tested by Kolmogorov-Smirnov
test in accordance with the protocol applied. The test confirmed that the distributions do not
significantly differ from the normal distribution.Table 1 contains the results of the metric
characteristics, reliability and homogeneity, multi-item motor skill tests in the initial
measuring and after the use of both protocols. Reliability results and homogeneity show high
values in all tests, both before and afterthe use of particular protocol. There is a decrease in
values of Cronbach's α and the average correlation between the items in the protocol with
video demonstration for the Shuttle-run test, as well as in the standard protocol. The increase
of the standard measurement error occurred after the use of the protocol, while the decrease
of the variability coefficientoccurred in the protocol with video demonstration.
In the assessment test of latent dimension of a motor skill, i.e. leg flexibility (Sit and
Reach for the right and Sit and Reach for the left leg), there was an increase of Cronbach's α
value and the average correlation between the itemsoccurred after the use of video
demonstration protocol, while the variability coefficient and the standard measurement error
decreased. Interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) in the standard protocol for the test called
Shuttle-run is high, and it is ICC= 0,928 in the interval; 95% CI, 0,908-0,944, as well as in
the video demonstration protocol where it was ICC = 0,908 in the interval; 95% CI, 0,878-
0,931. In the test Back-Saver Sit and Reach for the right leg in the standard protocol, it was
ICC = 0,978 and it is in the interval; 95% CI, 0,972-0,983, while in the video demonstration
protocol it is ICC=0,988 in the interval; 95% CI, 0,984-0,991. In the test Back-Saver Sit and
Reach for the left leg in the standard protocol, the ICC=0,975 in the interval; 95% CI, 0,967-
0,980, while in the video demonstration protocol it is ICC=0,985 in the interval; 95% CI,
Table 1. Metric characteristics of multi-item tests after the use of different protocols
Video demonstration protocol
AVR CV SEM
AVR CV SEM
Cronbach α - reliability coefficient; AVR - average correlation between items; CV -
coefficientof variation; SEM - standard error of measurement; SR I - Shuttle-run
(initial measuring); SR F - Shuttle-run (measuring after the protocol); BSRR I - Back-
save sit and reach for the right leg(initial measuring); BSRR- Back-saver sit and reach
for the right leg (measuring after the protocol); BSRL I - Back-saver sit and reach for
the left leg (initial measuring); BSRL F - Back-saver sit and reach for the left leg
(measuring after the protocol)
The reliability level of the standard protocol in the 1-item tests using the test-retest
methodwas not sufficient, based on the values of correlation between the test results and the
repeated test. The correlation value in the 90°Push-up test was r=0,739, while in the Curl-up
test it was r=0,626. Homogeneity of the tests was measured by the t-test and the tests showed
a high level of homogeneity, since the differences were insignificant (90°Push-up t= 1,379;
p= 0,169 and Curl-upt=
0,167). The test-retest method used in the video
demonstration protocol for the 90°Push-up test indicated sufficient correlation coefficient,
and it was r=0,857. In the same protocol for the Curl-up test, the value of the correlation
coefficient was insufficient, i.e. r= 0,721. The tests did not occur homogeneous, considering
the significant differences of the tests after the use of video demonstration protocol(Push-up
t= -6.525; p< 0.01; Curl-up t= -8.006; p<0.01).
In this research, we used the tests that are constructed to assess a latent dimension of
repetitive force, agility and flexibility. The tests were taken from the battery of test
(Welk&Meredith, 2010) that are used for physical condition assessment of the American
students. We presented the analysis of metric characteristics and tests with the aim to
determine reliability and homogeneity, but also to illustrate how the tests are applicable to the
assessment of the motor skill level of the students in primary education. Some of the tests,
such as the Shuttle-run, and the Curl-upshowed sufficient homogeneity and reliability
coefficients even in the previous studies of different age categories of students and young
people (Novak, 2010; Malinaet al., 2004). Also, the tests similar in the structure of use to the
tests for assessment of force, agility and flexibility dimension had sufficient metric
characteristics in the previous studies(Findaket al., 1996; Metikoš, Hofman, Prot, Pintar,
&Oreb, 1989; Prskalo, Jenko, Petračić, Šerbetar&Šuker, 2007). The group of tests for the
motor skill level assessment, used in this research, has not previously been used in our
country with this kind of population, and their metric characteristics have not been analyzed.
The results of metric characteristics of composite tests in the field of motor skills
indicated a high level of reliability, homogeneity and sensitivity of tests when both protocols
were used. Reliability coefficient (Cronbach's α) for the total sample, taking into account both
boys and girls, ranges from 0,922 to 0,983, in the standard protocol it is in the range of 0,928
0,978 and in the video demonstration protocol it is 0,908 to 0,988.These values of
reliability level of tests are satisfactory, according to the criteria of Momirović, Štalec& Wolf
(1975) for the limit of 0,80 and more, Malacko and Popović (1997) for the limit of 0,85 and
more, and according to Mužić (1973) and Hopkins (2000) for the limit of 0,90 and more.
Interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) in all motor skill tests is very high (0,91-0,99). Similar
results in some similar, or even the same variables for motor skill assessments occurred in the
research by Cole et al. (2000) with the ICC=0,95-0,98) and Novak (2010), with the ICC =
Reliable tests have a low coefficient of variation
(CV) and a high interclass
correlation coefficient (ICC), with an insignificant measurement error (Moir, Sanders, Button
2005), which was mostly confirmed in this research as well. Homogeneity
coefficient , assessed by the average correlation between items (AVR), ranges from the
lowest value of 0,78 in the test Shuttle-run with the video demonstration protocol used, to the
value of 0,96 in the test Back-saver sit and reach for the left and the right leg, also in the
video demonstration protocol. The results of the homogeneity coefficient values are
considered satisfactory and we conclude that the object of measurement is the same for every
item, especially for the test Back-saver sit and reach for the right and the left leg in the video
demonstration protocol. The value of homogeneity coefficient (AVR) of 0,78 in the Shuttle-
run test in the video demonstration protocol is also considered satisfactory and a
homogeneous test, since the same value was measured in the similar agility assessment test
in the research by Jukić et al. (2008), based on the population of soldiers.
For the same test, the homogeneity coefficient in the standard protocol is 0,82. The
reason for the higher homogeneity in the Shuttle-run test with the standard protocol can be
found in the better initial result of both sexes and lower standard deviation. The high level of
coefficient, homogeneity and reliability in both tests (SR,BSRR and BSRL) can be explained
by the following facts, considering the approach to testing that was defined precisely and
clearly for every protocol, and was the same for each participant in a particular protocol.
Also, we should keep in mind that the participants may have previously learned similar
structure and form of motion at physical education classes. One of the things that can have an
effect on the homogeneity coefficient in the Shuttle-run test is a child's trial to imitate model's
performance. Since the performance methods of this task are slightly longer and more
complex, some students were ''confused'' at the moment of picking up the sponge during the
performance (which hand to use for picking up the sponge and which side to turn to). The
slightly longer time of student’staskperformance probably caused fatigue, thatoccurred at
different moment for every child, and thus caused the fatigue of the central nervous system
(CNS) and muscles.
The consequence of the CNS and muscle fatigue is the above mentioned ''confusion'',
and also the lower results. One of the very important reasons that should not be ignored is
inappropriate footwear that, in combination with the dusty ground, leads to sliding. The
consequence of sliding was taking more space given for the test performance by crossing the
lines or kicking the sponge with a leg, which ended up in crossing the borders given in the
test. All these things caused lower results, but also the lower reliability coefficient at the same
time. Considering all the flaws discovered in this test, that should be taken into consideration
in future research, the new test method shouldbe used to check the performance of the test,
whether by making the tasks familiar or by increasing the number of items. Furthermore, the
external influence such as noise or a large number of students did not affect the test
reliability, so,eventually, it did not have an effect on the students’ performance (Williams et
The video demonstration protocol had a higher level of reliability in the Back-saver sit
and reach for the left and the right leg test (0,985 and 0,988), compared to 0,975 and 0,978 in
the standard protocol, while the Shuttle-run test in the standard protocol had a higher level of
0,928 and 0,908 in the video demonstration protocol. It shows that the
Shuttle-run test has a better homogeneity and reliability in the standard protocol, so it is
suggested to use that protocol for this particular test.
Reliability coefficient of 1-item tests was determined by the test-retest method. The
correlation result of the 90°Push-up test in the video demonstration protocol is r=0,86, which
makes the test reliable. The homogeneity of the test was assessed by the t-test that resulted in
a significant difference (t= -6,525 ; p< 0,01), and the same can be done with variation
analysis (Božanić, 2011). The significant difference indicates that the test is heterogeneous.
The reasonfor the difference and the confirmation of heterogeneity lead to conclusion that
motor learning at that agehas the biggest effect on the test. In addition, t-test showed a
significant difference (t= -8,006; p< 0,01) even in the Curl-up test in the same protocol.
Because of the reliability level, i.e. the result of the correlation coefficient (r = 0,72)from the
test, and the heterogeneity of the test, this test is not considered satisfactory for further use in
the same way.
Based on the descriptive indicators that show the increase of the results, the possible
effect of fatigue can be eliminated as one of the indicators for the lower result, while motor
skill learning can be the actual reason. The solution for all these problems could be trials that
would make the tests familiar, and decrease the effect of learning at the same time.
Tsigilis&Theodosiou (2008) also made this conclusion in their research, and suggested
preliminary introduction with the test 2-4 weeks before the measurement. The effect of
familiarization would certainly be evident in the Curl-up test, considering the frequency of
use of the usualtest,that differs in structure of motion. In the standard protocol, test reliability
of 90°Push-ups was r=0,74 and it is not considered satisfactory, as well as the correlation of
r=0,63 for the Curl-up Test. For both tests, homogeneity was determined by t-testand it did
not show significant statistical differences.
From that point of view, we can conclude that the tests are homogeneous, but not
precise enough for measuring. Besides that, the tests do not have a sufficient level of
sensitivity and as such they are not adequate for comparison of participants at that age. This
conclusion is based on the result variability, i.e. standard deviation, which should be the
arithmetic average value of 1/3 of the participant’s result.The phenomenon that is present in
both test and both protocols is certainly the given possibility to perform the task during the
testing by the participant only one time.
After the analysis and the insignificant differences of descriptive parameters and
metric characteristics of the tests while using both protocols, it is possible to conclude that the
Shuttle-run test can be suggested for motor skill assessment, i.e. agility assessment of
students in primary education, by applying both metric protocols. The flexibility assessment
test, called Back-saver sit and reach for the left and the right leg, can be applied for the result
assessment of students in primary education by using the video demonstration protocol.Based
on reliability coefficient, the test called 90°Push-ups is suggested for further use by applying
the video demonstration protocol, with a few trials prior to the use of theprotocol, so that
students could learn the structure of task performance to a certain extent. The results of Curl-
up test do not allow further use and application of the test in the form and the method
described, especially since the similar tests for motor skill assessment of students (Sit and
reach and Curl-up) were previously proven to have a good reliability and validity by
Vlahović, Babin&Bavčević (2007). However, they mention that certain improvements of
measurement protocols and test is necessary in order to improve diagnostic procedures in
kinesiology.The tests used in this research have shown good metric characteristics, so they
can be used further and expand the existing battery of tests for motor skills level assessment
of students in primary education, with a few trials or a previous learning (90°Push-ups) or
certain corrections in the test performance (Curl-up). After the analysis, based on all the data
from this research, the given hypothesis can be partially accepted, and verified again in the
future research, with corrections and learning prior to the performance of particular tests.
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