Developing and validating a school-based screening tool of Fundamental Movement Skills (FUNMOVES) using Rasch analysis

Publication authors

Lucy H. Eddy ,Nick Preston ,Mark Mon-Williams ,Daniel D. Bingham ,Jo M. C. Atkinson, Marsha Ellingham-Khan, Ava Otteslev, Liam J. B. Hill.


A large proportion of children are not able to perform age-appropriate fundamental movement skills (FMS). Thus, it is important to assess FMS so that children needing additional support can be identified in a timely fashion. There is great potential for universal screening of FMS in schools, but research has established that current assessment tools are not fit for purpose.

To develop and validate the psychometric properties of a FMS assessment tool designed specifically to meet the demands of universal screening in schools.

A working group consisting of academics from developmental psychology, public health and behavioural epidemiology developed an assessment tool (FUNMOVES) based on theory and prior evidence. Over three studies, 814 children aged 4 to 11 years were assessed in school using FUNMOVES. Rasch analysis was used to evaluate structural validity and modifications were then made to FUNMOVES activities after each study based on Rasch results and implementation fidelity.

The initial Rasch analysis found numerous psychometric problems including multidimensionality, disordered thresholds, local dependency, and misfitting items. Study 2 showed a unidimensional measure, with acceptable internal consistency and no local dependency, but that did not fit the Rasch model. Performance on a jumping task was misfitting, and there were issues with disordered thresholds (for jumping, hopping and balance tasks). Study 3 revealed a unidimensional assessment tool with good fit to the Rasch model, and no further issues, once jumping and hopping scoring were modified.

The finalised version of FUNMOVES (after three iterations) meets standards for accurate measurement, is free and able to assess a whole class in under an hour using resources available in schools. Thus FUNMOVES has the potential to allow schools to efficiently screen FMS to ensure that targeted support can be provided and disability barriers removed.