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Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
ISSN: 0270-1367 (Print) 2168-3824 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/urqe20
SKIPing With Head Start Teachers: Influence of TSKIP on Object-Control Skills
Ali Brian, Jacqueline D. Goodway, Jessica A. Logan & Sue Sutherland
To cite this article: Ali Brian, Jacqueline D. Goodway, Jessica A. Logan & Sue Sutherland (2017):
SKIPing With Head Start Teachers: Influence of T-SKIP on Object-Control Skills, Research
Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2017.1375077
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2017.1375077
Published online: 19 Oct 2017.
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Download by: [Tufts University]
Date: 27 October 2017, At: 17:27
RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT
https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2017.1375077
SKIPing With Head Start Teachers: Influence of T-SKIP on Object-Control Skills
Ali Brian
,1 Jacqueline D. Goodway,2 Jessica A. Logan,2 and Sue Sutherland2
University of South Carolina; 2The Ohio State University
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1
ABSTRACT
ARTICLE HISTORY
Purpose: Children from disadvantaged settings are at risk for delays in their object-control (OC)
skills. Fundamental motor skill interventions, such as the Successful Kinesthetic Instruction for
Preschoolers (SKIP) Program, are highly successful when led by motor development experts.
However, few preschools employ such experts. This study examined the extent to which Head
Start teachers delivering an 8-week teacher-led SKIP (T-SKIP) intervention elicited learning of OC
skills for Head Start children. Method: Head Start teachers (n = 5) delivered T-SKIP for 8 weeks
(450 min). Control teachers (n = 5) implemented the typical standard of practice, or well-equipped
free play. All children (N = 122) were pretested and posttested on the OC Skill subscale of the Test
of Gross Motor Development-2. Results: Descriptive analyses at pretest identified 81% of the
children were developmentally delayed in OC skills (below the 30th percentile). A 2-level hierarchical linear model demonstrated the effectiveness of T-SKIP with significant differences
(β = 4.70), t(8) = 7.02, p < .001, η2 = .56, between T-SKIP children (n = 63) and control children
(n = 59) at posttest. Conclusion: Head Start teachers who delivered T-SKIP could bring about
positive changes in children’s OC skills, thereby remediating the initial developmental delays
presented. Control children remained delayed in their OC skills in spite of daily well-equipped free
play, giving rise to concerns about their future motor competence and physical activity levels.
Received 19 June 2016
Accepted 23 August 2017
Opportunities to engage in movement experiences are
important to the overall development of a child (Gehris,
Gooze, & Whitaker, 2015). Engagement with movement
experiences enables children to explore the environment,
which facilitates a child’s learning and cognitive development (Gehris et al., 2015), creativity (Davies, 1996), socialization skills (Mashburn & Pianta, 2006), and motor
development (Gallahue, Ozmun, & Goodway, 2012). In
recognition of the importance of movement experiences
in the early years, SHAPE America – Society for Health
and Physical Educators America created its Active Start
Guidelines for children aged 0 to 5 years to provide a
framework for early childhood educators to implement
physical activity with their students (National Association
for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 2009).
The Active Start Guidelines state that “all children ages
birth to five should engage in daily physical activity that
promotes health-related fitness and movement skills”
(NASPE, 2009, p. 4), and they include the following
recommendations for preschoolers: (a) Each day, preschoolers should accumulate at least 60 min of structured
physical activity; (b) preschoolers should engage in at least
60 min or more of unstructured physical activity per day
and should not be sedentary for more than 60 min at a
time; (c) preschoolers should develop competence in
CONTACT Ali Brian
© 2017 SHAPE America
brianali@mailbox.sc.edu
KEYWORDS
Fundamental motor skills;
motor development; motor
skill interventions; physical
education
fundamental movement skills; (d) preschoolers should
have safe indoor and outdoor areas for movement; and
(e) caretakers of preschoolers should be aware of the
importance of physical activity and facilitate the child’s
movement skills (NASPE, 2009).
The Active Start Guidelines recommend both unstructured free play and structured gross motor activities as part
of an overall balanced gross motor development program
(NASPE, 2009). Early childhood centers generally provide
20 min to 60 min of well-equipped daily free play as the
typical standard of practice aimed at fostering gross motor
skill development and providing physical activity
(McWilliams et al., 2009). However, although important
for young children, free play alone may not be sufficient to
foster the development of fundamental motor skill (FMS)
competence (Altunsöz & Goodway, 2016; Brian, Goodway,
Logan, & Sutherland, 2017; Logan, Robinson, Wilson, &
Lucas, 2011; Riethmuller, Jones, & Okely, 2009).
Fundamental motor skills are the building blocks to
more complex movement patterns (e.g., games, sports,
and lifestyle activities; Clark & Metcalfe, 2002) and physical
activity participation (Robinson et al., 2015; Stodden et al.,
2008). Fundamental motor skills consist of locomotor skills
(e.g., running, leaping, and jumping), stability skills (e.g.,
bending, twisting, and curling), and object-control (OC)
Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina, 1300 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC 29208.
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A. BRIAN ET AL.
skills (e.g., throwing, dribbling, and kicking). For young
children, OC skills are particularly important, as they are
critical for participating in sports, games, and activities. For
example, to play T-ball safely, a child needs to be able to
catch a ball. To play a game of soccer, children need to kick
the ball.
Not only are OC skills important to engagement in
sports and games for young children, but they are also
associated with future participation in physical activity in
adolescence (Barnett, Van Beurden, Morgan, Brooks, &
Beard, 2009). Participating in physical activity combats
diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles such as Type
2 diabetes, certain cancers, and sleep apnea (Institute of
Medicine, 2011). Developing OC competence is a particularly important developmental outcome for young children
and adolescents (Barnett et al., 2009).
Two specific populations are particularly vulnerable to
delays in their FMS: children from socioeconomically disadvantaged settings (Goodway & Branta, 2003) and girls
(Goodway, Robinson, & Crowe, 2010). Children from
socioeconomically disadvantaged settings (e.g., growing
up in poverty) may have disparate opportunities to develop
their FMS (Goodway & Branta, 2003). Indeed, many young
children from disadvantaged settings consistently demonstrate delays in their FMS (Goodway & Branta, 2003;
Goodway et al., 2010; Martin, Rudisill, & Hastie, 2009;
Parish, Rudisill, & St. Onge, 2007; Robinson & Goodway,
2009; Valentini & Rudisill, 2004). In addition to socioeconomic status, young girls tend to demonstrate greater
delays in their OC skills compared with young boys
(Goodway et al., 2010). Although it is not completely
understood why socioeconomic status and sex exacerbate
motor skill delays (Goodway & Smith, 2005), it is well
documented that early intervention is effective for remediating motor skill delays that may be present (Logan et al.,
2011; Riethmuller et al., 2009).
Recognizing the need for early intervention, motor
development experts have developed structured programming to remediate and prevent motor skill delays
among young boys and girls (Brian et al., 2017;
Goodway & Branta, 2003; Martin et al., 2009; Parish
et al., 2007; Robinson & Goodway, 2009; Valentini &
Rudisill, 2004). One such approach is the Successful
Kinesthetic Instruction for Preschoolers (SKIP) intervention (Altunsöz & Goodway, 2016; Brian et al., 2017;
Goodway & Branta, 2003). After as little as 6 weeks
(Brian et al., 2017) and as long as 12 weeks (Goodway
& Branta, 2003), children who participated in the SKIP
motor skill intervention, implemented by motor development and physical education experts, were able to
remediate their FMS delays with powerful effect sizes
ranging from η2 = .63 (Brian et al., 2017) to η2 = .89
(Goodway & Branta, 2003). The control groups within
these studies participated in the early childhood center’s everyday curriculum of well-equipped free play
monitored by the classroom teachers (Brian et al.,
2017; Goodway & Branta, 2003; Robinson &
Goodway, 2009). Although free play is an important
part of a child’s day, it is important to note that the
control children’s FMS skills remained delayed in spite
of daily free play-based movement opportunities (Brian
et al., 2017; Goodway & Branta, 2003; Robinson &
Goodway, 2009), thereby placing them at risk for current and future sedentary behaviors (Robinson et al.,
2015; Stodden et al., 2008). Furthermore, Stodden and
colleagues’ (2008) developmental trajectory model suggests that children with low FMS competence will be
drawn into a negative spiral of disengagement ultimately resulting in low levels of physical activity and
a greater likelihood to be overweight or obese.
Although motor skill interventions such as SKIP are
very effective when implemented by experts (Logan
et al., 2011; Riethmuller et al., 2009), little is known as
to whether preschool classroom teachers can produce
FMS outcomes if they implement motor skill interventions. A number of barriers to preschool teachers
implementing motor skill interventions/structured
motor programming are present (Hughes, Gooze,
Finkelstein, & Whitaker, 2010). These barriers include:
(a) a lack of confidence with their ability to perform the
content, (b) limited or no equipment, (c) inadequate
space, (d) a lack of time in the school day, (e) increased
pressure to meet reading and math learning outcomes
(Hughes et al., 2010), (f) little awareness of the Active
Start Guidelines (Brian et al., 2017), (g) a lack of policy
requiring structured motor programming (Brian,
Pennell, Sacko, & Schenkelburg, in press; McWilliams
et al., 2009), and (h) inadequate professional development opportunities within motor development and/or
physical education for in-service teachers (Gehris et al.,
2015; Hughes et al., 2010).
Given the aforementioned barriers, there is a need to
examine the fidelity of preschool teachers implementing a motor skill intervention such as SKIP. Fidelity
refers to the extent to which an intervention is delivered as intended and provides a measure of internal
validity (Carroll et al., 2007). Along with assessing
fidelity, it is also important to examine the effectiveness
of a teacher-led motor skill intervention on preschoolers’ learning of OC skills for boys and girls from
disadvantaged settings. Intervention effectiveness
examines the extent to which an intervention produces
a desired result or effect (Guzik & Queenan, 2003).
To address the barriers surrounding gross motor
programming, it has been suggested that preschool
teachers need to receive ongoing coaching, support,
SKIPING WITH HEAD START TEACHERS
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and professional development in motor development
and physical education (Gehris et al., 2015).
Therefore, the purposes of this study were: (a) to examine the fidelity of Head Start preschool teachers implementing the teacher-led SKIP (T-SKIP) Program with
ongoing coaching and support, and (b) to determine
the effectiveness of T-SKIP on the OC skills of preschool boys and girls who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. To our knowledge, this study is the first to
examine the effectiveness of a motor skill intervention
implemented by classroom preschool teachers on the
OC skills of young children. This study is significant
because our results have the potential to translate
across Head Start centers throughout the United
States as an ecologically valid strategy to teach FMS.
Methods
Setting and participants
Head Start is a federally funded early childhood program
serving children from socioeconomically disadvantaged
families with income at or less than 130% of the poverty
line (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
2017). Five Head Start preschool centers were randomly
selected from within a larger coalition of Head Start centers
(N = 25) in a large, urban Midwestern city. All Head Start
centers in this coalition used the same curriculum, featured
the same schedule, and were all located in similar settings.
Teachers (N = 10; aged 25–55 years) were randomly
assigned to either the T-SKIP (n = 5) or control (n = 5)
conditions. All teachers volunteered to participate.
Teachers (1 man, 9 women) included Caucasian (n = 4),
African American (n = 4), Hispanic (n = 1), and Asian
(n = 1) participants. Teachers ranged in years of teaching
experience (1–20 years, M = 5 years) and all had earned a
bachelor’s degree in education with a teaching certification.
No teachers possessed a master’s degree. No teachers
claimed to have received any college coursework in
motor development or physical education. Most of the
teachers claimed no sporting or physical activity experience
(n = 7), while 2 teachers claimed limited experience such as
recreational yoga. One teacher self-reported no sporting or
physical activity experience beyond walking for leisure.
The children (N = 122) in this study were purposely
selected and assigned from within either the T-SKIP classrooms (n = 63) or the control Head Start classrooms
(n = 59) of the participating teachers. No children in this
study possessed a documented disability. Children in the
T-SKIP intervention group (37% boys, Mage = 4.7 years,
SD = 2.4) possessed an ethnic/racial breakdown that
included African American (n = 31; 49%), Caucasian
(n = 9; 14%), Hispanic (n = 21; 34%), and Asian (n = 2;
3
3%). Control children (46% girls, Mage = 4.8 years,
SD = 1.9) were students in classrooms of control teachers
and did not participate in T-SKIP. The control children’s
demographic breakdown was African American (n = 26;
44%), Caucasian (n = 4; 7%), Hispanic (n = 6; 10%), Asian
(n = 0; 0%), and Other (n = 23; 39%).
Procedures
A university institutional review board granted permission to conduct this study prior to its start. Children
assented to participate after each child’s parent/guardian
provided written consent. Teachers consented to participate voluntarily upon receiving an invitation from Head
Start area managers to participate in this study. Upon
receiving consent, teachers subsequently participated in
a 6-hr initial coaching session on T-SKIP when they first
filled out a demographic questionnaire.
During the first hour of the session, teachers received
an information session discussing motor development
and physical education content, theory, and principles.
In addition, teachers were provided with a rationale for
delivering T-SKIP to their children as well as all materials
necessary to conduct the intervention. Teachers then participated in a 3-hr session, which featured active learning
of motor skills (throw, catch, kick, strike, dribble, and roll)
and physical education principles and content. All content covered during both the information session and the
active-learning session aligned with the outcome measures of this study for both teachers and children.
Throughout the 3-hr active-learning session, the
teachers’ understanding of the content was evaluated
via completion of six short motor development video
exams that focused on each of the six OC skills covered
in this study. All teachers were required to demonstrate
85% or higher mastery of the content before moving to
the next skill. By the end of the 3-hr active-learning
session, all teachers demonstrated 85% competency or
higher for all six video exams with an average of 91%
across all teachers and exams.
After demonstrating competency on all six exams,
teachers concluded the initial coaching session with a 2hr introduction and practice period of T-SKIP lessons,
which is described in the next section. During this 2-hr
period, teachers completed a series of modules where they
demonstrated individual skills, task progressions, and an
entire lesson plan to peers and the research team. In
addition, mock scenarios occurred in which teachers
had to provide verbal, physical, and visual prompts as
well as modify tasks based on the present level of performance of the research team demonstrating different levels
within a task analysis of a skill. During the practice teaching modules, the research team also calculated lesson plan
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4
A. BRIAN ET AL.
fidelity via a check sheet (see “Fidelity” section) and
shared the results with the teachers to reinforce outcomes
desired of teachers during this study. At the end of the 6hr initial coaching session, teachers received all materials
necessary (including lesson plans) to implement T-SKIP
and were informed they would receive ongoing coaching
and support throughout the intervention on a faded
schedule.
Ongoing coaching support varied based on teachers’
fidelity but within the parameters set within the faded
schedule. For Weeks 1 to 2, the lead researcher prepared
the teacher for setup and reviewed the skills to be taught
on the Friday before the week of the intervention.
During the lessons, the lead researcher provided support
as needed—for example, by making sure progressions
were set up properly. For Weeks 3 through 5, the lead
researcher intervened during the lessons as needed but
did not meet with the teachers ahead of time. For example, if a child was performing a skill incorrectly, the lead
researcher suggested a modification to the task to elicit a
more proficient response. During Weeks 6 through 8,
the lead researcher only intervened if teachers solicited
support and/or if a safety concern occurred. For example, during striking, if a child were to move too close to a
swinging paddle, the researcher may intervene to stop
the child. In total, during Weeks 6 through 8, the lead
researcher intervened two times, both at the request of
the teachers.
The T-SKIP Program
The T-SKIP Program is a modified version of the
evidenced-based SKIP Program. The SKIP Program
was originally designed for implementation by a
motor development or physical education expert. The
original SKIP Program has been validated during the
past 20 years across several locations in the United
States to remediate motor skill delays of young children
who are disadvantaged and/or to significantly improve
FMS in young children (Altunsöz & Goodway, 2016;
Brian et al., 2017; Goodway & Branta, 2003; Robinson
& Goodway, 2009). The SKIP Program features a variety of instructional approaches (e.g., direct instruction
and mastery motivational climate/high autonomy); evaluation of the array of skill development of children;
developmental task analyses of each skill, ranging from
easy to complex; individualized and inclusive instruction; repetitive cycle of skills and tasks that increase and
decrease with complexity; children as self-coaches and
peer coaches who can focus on key words/cues; and the
development of proprioception (Altunsöz & Goodway,
2016; Brian et al., 2017). The dosage of SKIP ranges
from 6 weeks (Brian et al., 2017) to 12 weeks (Goodway
& Branta, 2003) with a frequency of two times per week
and a duration of 30 min to 45 min per lesson.
The T-SKIP Program is a modification of SKIP
designed specifically for early childhood teachers who
have little to no previous background with motor development or physical education. The modification from
SKIP to T-SKIP was based on a pilot study of SKIP with
master early childhood teachers (Brian et al., 2017).
T-SKIP includes the content and pedagogical approach
of the SKIP Program for children along with all lesson
plans, materials, equipment necessary to implement
SKIP, and ongoing coaching and support for the teachers.
Within T-SKIP, we only provided teachers with instruction to deliver content resulting in learning of OC skills.
Given the time constraints of the T-SKIP intervention, we
decided to prioritize OC instruction over locomotor
instruction for the following reasons: (a) We did not
want to overwhelm the teachers with learning 12 new
skills and our previous pilot work indicated teachers
found learning 6 OC skills very stressful and difficult
(Brian et al., 2017), (b) OC competence in the early
years is more predictive of physical activity participation
in adolescence than are locomotor skills (Barnett et al.,
2009), and (c) OC skills are more complex and require
greater instruction and practice trials (Gallahue et al.,
2012; Goodway & Branta, 2003). As such, we decided to
just focus on OC skills within this study. For a further
description of the initial pilot trial, see Brian et al. (2017).
Measures
The primary dependent variable for children in this
study was OC skill competence. Object-control skill
competence was measured via the OC Skill subscale
of the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2;
Ulrich, 2000). The TGMD-2 is a valid and reliable
norm- and criterion-referenced assessment of FMS
for girls and boys ages 3 years, 0 months to
10 years, 11 months (Ulrich, 2000). The TGMD-2
includes a six-item OC Skill subscale assessing
throw, strike, dribble, catch, kick, and roll. All six
skills contain three to five critical elements that are
scored with either a “0” if the critical element is not
present or a “1” if the critical element is demonstrated. Each child completed two trials of the six
skills (score = 0–10 points). The total raw score
ranged from 0 points to 48 points. Raw scores were
converted into standard scores and percentile ranks
using age and sex (Ulrich, 2000). All children were
pretested and posttested on the TGMD-2 following
the standardized procedures within the TGMD-2
manual (Ulrich, 2000).
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SKIPING WITH HEAD START TEACHERS
The TGMD-2 testing procedures were digitally
recorded for coding purposes. Both coders were Ph.D.
candidates in a physical education teacher education doctoral program pursuing cognates in motor development at
the time of the study. An experienced coder with a doctorate in kinesiology with an emphasis in motor development trained both coders. The experienced coder also
completed TGMD reliability training with the original
TGMD developers. Training sessions occurred for 2 days
for 2 hr per day. Both coders established 98% interrater
agreement prior to coding against the experienced coder of
the TGMD-2. We calculated interrater agreement based on
coding the OC Skill subscale of 30 participants from a
previous study by dividing the total score of all 30 participants (absolute agreement only) from each coder by the
lead researcher’s total for the same participants. For example, if there were eight possible elements for the throw (two
trials of four elements) and the lead researcher scored the
throw as 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1 and Coder 1 scored the throw as
0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, there would be 75% absolute agreement
as the first two items do not align (despite 100% score
agreement). Overall, Coder 1 scored within 99% of the
lead researcher and Coder 2 scored at 97% leaving a 98%
interrater reliability before beginning the coding for the
current study.
After completion of the posttest, all participants were
coded, with two raters who were double-blinded to treatment condition and time (pretest or posttest). The lead
researcher conducted interrater reliability on an additional
randomly selected 30% of the double-blind sample. We
divided the first coder’s absolute agreement score of the OC
Skill subscale for the randomly selected 30% by the total
score calculated by the lead researcher for the same sample.
We repeated the process for the scores for the second
coder. The results for the first coder resulted in 94% agreement with the lead researcher. The results for the second
coder compared with the lead researcher yielded 90%
agreement for the same sample. Overall, interrater reliability for the double-blind sample was 92%.
T-SKIP lesson plan fidelity
We measured lesson plan fidelity for each lesson via a
check sheet (Figure 1) developed prior to conducting
each actual lesson. Measuring lesson plan fidelity via a
check sheet is a common standard of practice within the
motor skill and broader educational intervention literature
(e.g., Kaderavek & Justice, 2010; Robinson & Goodway,
2009). All lessons were digitally recorded with each teacher
wearing a wireless microphone. We developed the check
sheet from the lesson plans, from the motor development
and physical education literature (e.g., Gallahue et al., 2012;
Rink, 2013b; Siedentop & Tannehill, 2000), and in
5
consultation with a panel of experts in motor development
and early childhood physical education.
The lead researcher observed each lesson and calculated lesson plan fidelity as a percentage of target behaviors demonstrated divided by the total possible number
of behaviors to be observed (30–50 per lesson). Lesson
plan fidelity was split into two measures: (a) Level 1
fidelity, or non-negotiable pedagogical behaviors attributing to skill development; and (b) Level 2 fidelity, or highly
desired pedagogical behaviors. We split fidelity into two
levels because the panel of experts recommended to do so
to provide a more in-depth description for what occurred
during T-SKIP and because it is more consistent with
practices in the classroom intervention literature
(O’Donnell, 2008) and the evidence base in motor learning (Magill & Anderson, 2017).
Examples of Level 1 fidelity items, which are also consistent with the Quality Measures of Teaching Physical
Education Scale, included correct demonstrations, congruent feedback that was developmentally appropriate to the
learner, and correct setup and instruction of progressions
(Rink, 2013a, 2013b). Level 1 fidelity items are considered
best practices of motor skill-learning principles and physical education teaching that are designed to elicit learning
(Magill & Anderson, 2017; Rink, 2013b). For example,
clarity is one of the critical factors that promotes student
learning in physical education (Rink, 2013b). Checking for
understanding (e.g., teacher asking students questions to
ensure they understand the managerial system, task
demands, and behavioral rules, etc.), featuring correct
demonstrations, and providing congruent feedback
improve clarity (Rink, 2013b; Siedentop & Tannehill,
2000) and thus improve student learning. Thus, the panel
of experts agreed that Level 1 items are critical to clarity and
are required for correct performance of each skill during the
intervention.
Level 2 fidelity behaviors were those behaviors that are
highly desired practices but are not essential to correct
performances of OC skills. Examples of Level 2 fidelity
items include playing music during the warm-up, pacing
of progressions, and intratask modifications (e.g., changing
ball size, distance to/from targets, etc.). Level 2 items were
developed based on consultation with a panel of experts in
physical education and motor development and the existing literature in physical education pedagogy and motor
learning (Magill & Anderson, 2017; Rink, 2013b). Pacing is
important because young children have very short attention spans (Gallahue et al., 2012), so it is important to
deliver the activities with high frequency of change and to
verbalize instructions with brevity (Rink, 2013b). Intratask
modifications can enhance learning by gearing each task to
the present level of performance of each child. Providing
intratask modifications is considered developmentally
6
A. BRIAN ET AL.
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appropriate (Gallahue et al., 2012) and can maximize student learning based on individual characteristics (Rink,
2013b). The panel of experts agreed these items (music in
the warm-up, appropriate pacing, and intratask modification) were important but not critical to correct skill performance. Thus, Level 2 items were distinguished from Level 1
items.
The lead researcher calculated all lesson plan fidelity
from digitally recorded videos. Thirty percent of videos
were double blind-coded by an outside, trained rater
for interrater reliability. The trained rater observed
Figure 1. Lesson plan fidelity check sheet.
three videos from a previous study with the lead
researcher. During the first video, the outside coder
coded the items along with the lead researcher at 5min intervals. Next, the outside coder and the lead
researcher coded a different video independently and
compared results. The goal was to code as many videos
as necessary until both coders agreed at 90% or greater.
Both coders achieved a preliminary 92% interrater
reliability by the end of the third training video. An
interrater reliability of 93% was achieved for 30% of the
T-SKIP videoed lesson plans between the two coders.
7
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SKIPING WITH HEAD START TEACHERS
Figure 1. Continued.
As a final check, the lead researcher recoded 10% of the
sample and achieved an intrarater reliability of 98%.
T-SKIP teachers (n = 5) were originally instructed
to implement T-SKIP two times per week for 30 min
during each session for 9 weeks. Due to inclement
weather and school closures, T-SKIP teachers each
implemented 15 lessons (75 lessons from five teachers) for 8 weeks for a total of 450 min of intervention time. The two T-SKIP sessions per week
replaced the typical Head Start everyday programming of well-equipped free play. On the remaining
days of the week, T-SKIP teachers and children
participated in the typical curriculum of approximately 30 min to 40 min of free play.
At the same time, control teachers only implemented
daily free play of 30 min to 40 min to their students,
which was the business-as-usual curriculum across all
sites. Well-equipped free play occurred indoors in a
gross motor space and outdoors on the playground
under the direct observation of the lead and assistant
teachers at all sites. All sites possessed equipment such
as balls, bats, and hoops that enabled children to practice OC skills during free play if they desired. To ensure
that intervention integrity occurred, the lead researcher
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8
A. BRIAN ET AL.
Figure 1. Continued.
observed each site during free play three times on
random, unannounced occasions. During the 30 observations that occurred in 10 classrooms, the lead
researcher observed no contamination of the control
condition (e.g., teachers instructing OC skills).
Data analyses
We conducted descriptive analyses to examine the fidelity
percentage for teachers implementing T-SKIP. We conducted all TGMD-2 data analyses using OC standard
scores; however, we calculated percentile ranks to examine
the percentage of children demonstrating developmental
delay. Scoring less than the 30th percentile places children
highly at risk for developmental delays with their OC skills
(Ulrich, 2000). Next, we conducted independent-samples t
tests on OC standard scores to determine group or sex
differences during the pretest and the posttest.
In the present study, multiple children were nested
within each teacher (who provided the intervention), and
as such, this study is considered to be a multilevel design. A
failure to account for nesting effects can bias the results and
increase the likelihood for Type 1 errors (Raudenbush,
2011). In the present study, an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to assess the extent to which posttest
OC scores (at the child level) could be attributed to the
teacher (i.e., the nesting effect). An ICC greater than 5%
indicated that nesting effects are present and should be
accounted for in analyses (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002). In
this study, the effects of the T-SKIP intervention on OC
skills were analyzed using a two-level hierarchical linear
model (HLM) with children nested within classrooms.
Specifically, the outcome was OC standard scores from
the TGMD-2 at posttest, which was predicted from group
(T-SKIP vs. control). Pretest standard scores were entered
as covariates. The equation took the form of:
SKIPING WITH HEAD START TEACHERS
9
teachers demonstrated 34% (SD = 15%) Level 2 fidelity
across all lessons. Overall, teachers delivered T-SKIP with a
grand mean of 47% fidelity (SD = 12%; Figure 2).
Figure 2. Lesson plan fidelity for each teacher by level.
Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 17:27 27 October 2017
Yij ¼ β00 þ β10 ðOC Pretest Þ þ β01 ðT SkipÞ
(1)
þ u0 þ u1 þ r
where Yij is each child’s observed OC score at posttest,
β00 is the average posttest score for all children, β10 is the
weight relating the OC pretest to the posttest, β01 is the
expected difference between the T-SKIP control and
treatment-group teachers, u0 is the error associated
with the average posttest score, allowing it to be a
random effect across teachers, u1 is the error associated
with treatment group, and r is the remaining studentspecific error. We conducted all HLM analyses via
HLM Version 7 (Raudenbush, Bryk, & Congdon, 2004).
We conducted an additional two-level HLM to analyze sex effects of T-SKIP. Again, posttest OC standard
scores were the outcome predicted from group, sex,
and the interaction. Pretest scores were entered as
covariates. The equation took the form of:
Yij ¼ β00 þ β10 ðOC Pretest Þ þ β20 ðsexÞ
þ β01 ðT SkipÞ þ β11 ðT Skip sexÞ þ u0
þ u1 þ r
(2)
with all previous weights retaining their meaning and
with β20 as the difference between the boys and girls
and β11 as the interaction coefficient. Effect sizes for
T-SKIP were calculated in a manner consistent with
HLM via Cohen’s d (Hox, 2010). Next, Cohen’s d
scores were converted to eta squared (Becker, 2000) to
provide direct comparison of effect sizes between previous studies.
Results
T-SKIP lesson plan fidelity
The first research question examined the extent to which
Head Start preschool teachers could deliver T-SKIP with
fidelity. T-SKIP teachers obtained an average of 63%
(SD = 19%) of Level 1 fidelity across all lessons. In addition,
Pretest and posttest scores of OC skills
Table 1 includes the pretest and posttest raw scores,
standard scores, and percentile ranks for OC skills by
condition and sex. Independent-samples t tests revealed
that 81% of all children tested scored less than the 30th
percentile at the pretest with no significant differences
between groups, t(120) = 0.11, p = .916, d = 0.02,
regardless of condition (Table 1). By the posttest,
T-SKIP children improved, on average, from the 21st
percentile to the 54th percentile (Table 1). In contrast,
control children regressed slightly starting at the 15th
percentile and lowering to the 13th percentile. By the
posttest, independent-samples t tests revealed a significant difference between groups for OC standard scores,
t(120) = 12.60, p < .001, d = 2.30.
The gains for the T-SKIP group were consistent across
sex with girls (gain of 31%) improving from the 18th
percentile to the 50th percentile, which was similar to
the improvement for boys from the 27th percentile to
the 62nd percentile (gain of 35%). The OC posttest scores
for the control children were also consistent across sex
with control girls regressing from the 19th percentile to
the 15th percentile and boys remaining constant at the
12th percentile by the posttest.
Influence of T-SKIP on OC skills
The second research question investigated the influence of
T-SKIP on the OC skills of preschoolers who were socioeconomically disadvantaged. Results from the HLM examining the effects of T-SKIP on the OC skills of children
indicated that 30% of the variance in children’s OC
Table 1. Means and standard deviations for pretest–posttest
OC percentile ranks and standard scores.
Pretest
Group
T-SKIP
Boys
SD
Girls
SD
Overall
SD
Control
Boys
SD
Girls
SD
Overall
SD
Posttest
Raw
Standard
Score
Percentile
Rank
Raw
Standard
Score
Percentile
Rank
19.43
6.04
15.38
6.53
16.86
6.61
7.87
1.69
6.63
2.20
7.08
2.11
27
16
18
17
21
17
28.61
6.71
25.25
4.98
26.48
5.85
11.00
1.62
10.00
1.40
10.37
1.55
62
19
50
17
54
19
15.19
5.75
16.93
5.53
15.98
5.67
5.84
1.97
6.89
1.93
6.32
2.00
12
15
19
15
15
15
15.78
5.72
16.22
6.91
15.98
6.24
5.41
2.42
5.85
2.70
5.61
2.53
12
15
15
17
13
16
Note. OC = Object-Control Skill subscale; Raw = raw scores; T-SKIP = teacher-led
Successful Kinesthetic Instruction for Preschoolers.
10
A. BRIAN ET AL.
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standard scores at posttest was attributable to the classroom
(ICC = .30). Children in the T-SKIP condition showed
significantly higher posttest OC scores compared with control children (β = 4.70), t(8) = 7.02, p < .001, η2 = .56
(Table 2). Specifically, while controlling for pretest scores,
T-SKIP children scored an average of 5 standard score
points higher compared with control students (Table 2).
The control autoregressive pretest score was also an important predictor of posttest OC skills (β = 0.50), t(9) = 3.44,
p = .007 (Table 2).
Differential effects of sex
We added child’s sex and a cross-level interaction to
the model between sex at the child level and T-SKIP at
the classroom level to examine the differential effects of
sex within T-SKIP (Table 2). After controlling for sex,
there remained a main effect of T-SKIP favoring the
treatment group over the control group (β = 5.37), t
(8) = 6.819, p < .001, η2 = .60 (Table 2). There was no
main effect found for sex (β = –0.19), t(8) = –0.46,
p = .650, nor was there an interaction between sex and
T-SKIP (β = –0.66), t(8) = −1.15, p = .290, suggesting
that the T-SKIP intervention was equally effective for
both boys and girls.
Discussion
The primary aims of this study were to determine whether
Head Start teachers could implement T-SKIP with fidelity
and to examine the extent to which T-SKIP improved the
OC skills of young children from disadvantaged settings.
The fidelity of Head Start teachers implementing T-SKIP
was less than the standards of the educational intervention literature, thus making T-SKIP’s internal validity
questionable. O’Donnell (2008) recommended intervention fidelity greater than 50% for a study to be considered
internally valid. Although it was alarming to see an overall
Table 2. Hierarchical linear model for effect of T-SKIP, sex, and
pretest OC scores on posttest OC scores.
Level 1
Effects of T-SKIP
Intercept
T-SKIP
Pretest scoresa
Effects of Sex and T-SKIP
Intercept
T-SKIP
Sex
T-SKIP
Pretest Scoresa
Level 2
β
SE
t
β
SE
t
5.66
.54
10.38**
5.66
4.69
−0.50
.48
.67
.14
11.81**
7.02**
3.44**
5.64
.56
10.06**
5.64
5.37
−0.19
−0.66
0.47
.54
.79
.18
.26
.15
10.41**
6.82**
−1.09
−2.55*
3.12*
* p ≤ .05. ** p < .001.
Note. OC = Object-Control Skill subscale; T-SKIP = teacher-led Successful
Kinesthetic Instruction for Preschoolers.
a
Grand mean centered.
fidelity at 47%, it was not surprising given the barriers for
preschool teachers in implementing FMS programming
(Gehris et al., 2015; Hughes et al., 2010). Similar to what
was identified in the literature (e.g., Brian et al., in press;
Gehris et al., 2015), the Head Start teachers in this study
reported little to no motor development/physical education content in their preservice training programs, and
prior to the study starting, each of them indicated they did
not feel comfortable implementing FMS programing both
from a content knowledge perspective and with regard to
their own abilities to perform the skills.
Despite overall low levels of fidelity, teachers were successful with implementing Level 1 fidelity items (more than
63%) or what we deemed as non-negotiable behaviors that
directly relate to OC skill learning for children (e.g., correct
demonstration, positive-specific congruent feedback, correct skill progression equipment setup). In physical education, student learning is maximized when students receive
feedback that is aligned with the purpose of the task, see
correct demonstrations, and have opportunities to engage
in skill practice that is developmentally appropriate (Rink,
2013b). Level 1 fidelity is directly aligned with best practices
in physical education pedagogy, and we believe it was
critical that teachers achieved greater than the 50% threshold for children to improve their OC skills. Although Level
2 fidelity behaviors were desirable (e.g., appropriate pacing,
intratask modifications), it appeared that children were still
able to learn OC skills in spite of low levels (37%) of these
behaviors.
The findings from teacher fidelity also speak to the
robustness of the SKIP Program as an effective curriculum through which young children improve their OC
skills regardless of implementer (e.g., motor development
experts [SKIP] and teachers [T-SKIP]). The effect sizes in
this study were high (η2 = .59) but not as high as when
delivered by an expert (η2 = .68–.89; Goodway & Branta,
2003; Robinson & Goodway, 2009). The lower effect sizes
may be due to lower overall fidelity (e.g., 47%). According
to Brian et al. (2017), every 1% increase in fidelity can
yield an average increase in posttest TGMD standard
scores (approximately 0.13 standard score points).
Having a robust curriculum like T-SKIP is important.
However, the effectiveness of T-SKIP may be affected by
the quality of teaching, thereby warranting the consideration of employing motor development and physical education experts to assist classroom teachers.
The second major finding of this study centered on the
pretest to posttest OC skill scores. Prior to the start of the
T-SKIP Program, the business-as-usual approach to gross
motor skill development in the Head Start centers was
well-equipped free play, which is consistent across the
motor skill intervention literature (Logan et al., 2011).
The majority of this sample (81%) was delayed with
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SKIPING WITH HEAD START TEACHERS
their OC skills at the pretest and fell at or below the 30th
percentile on the TGMD-2. Our sample’s pretest OC skill
scores directly aligned with previous literature in that
many children (as many as 86%; Goodway et al., 2010)
from disadvantaged settings repeatedly revealed delays in
their FMS (Goodway et al., 2010; Martin et al., 2009;
Parish et al., 2007; Robinson & Goodway, 2009;
Valentini & Rudisill, 2004).
The pretest results provide support for the notion that
FMS will not develop through well-equipped free play
alone. Although well-equipped free play is an important
part of a child’s developmental experience, these findings
suggest, in alignment with the previous literature (e.g.,
Logan et al., 2011; Riethmuller et al., 2009), that it is not
sufficient to develop OC. In fact, the control-group findings
suggest that not only are the children delayed, but they
become further delayed across time (22nd percentile–17th
percentile), which is consistent with the findings of previous
studies (e.g., Brian et al., 2017; Goodway & Branta, 2003;
Robinson & Goodway, 2009; Valentini & Rudisill, 2004).
We are uncertain as to why the OC scores for the
control group regressed from pretest to posttest given
that conditions did not change from the business-as-usual
condition throughout the intervention. Children who are
unskilled are often unstable in their motor performance. As
such, shifting downward is not a surprising finding and
instability may be a potential rationale for this shift.
Anecdotal evidence from control-group observations of
free play suggest that in spite of access to motor skill
equipment such as balls, bats, and hoops, children were
not engaging in the necessary activities to improve their
OC skills. Thus, it is recommended to add structured
motor programming in addition to well-equipped free
play as part of the weekly schedule in preschool.
Free play is necessary for children to explore and learn
socialization skills, creativity, and critical thinking.
However, by replacing free play 2 out of the 5 days per
week with structured motor programming, the children in
this sample remediated their delays and jumped from the
21st percentile to the 54th percentile in only 8 weeks
(450 min) of instruction. We believe the experimental
children in this study achieved significant gains due to
the high percentage of Level 1 fidelity items. This study,
may be one of the first to explicitly describe what occurred
during the intervention via fidelity. As a result, we can
speak to what actually occurred during the intervention.
Many previous intervention studies that have only shown
minimal or nonsignificant gains as well as those with significant intervention effects have failed to show in-depth
details regarding what occurred during the actual intervention (Logan et al., 2011; Riethmuller et al., 2009). Thus, a
pointed rationale as to why or why not young children did
not improve skills in previous studies is not possible. Our
11
teachers were able to deliver correct demonstrations, provided congruent feedback, differentiated instruction (individual and group modifications; visual, verbal, and physical
prompting), and did so in alignment with physical education and motor development best practices (e.g., Gallahue
et al., 2012; Rink, 2013b). As a result, we can infer that
young children experiencing developmentally appropriate
structured gross motor time for as little as 60 min per week
for 6 weeks may have resulted in T-SKIP children significantly improving their OC skills. Unfortunately, previous
researchers may not be able to assess why or why not
children in their interventions did or did not significantly
improve their FMS.
Although the T-SKIP children overall were able to show
improvements in their OC skills, it was important to assess
whether girls improved at a rate similar to that of the boys.
Historically, young girls demonstrate greater delays than
boys in their OC skills (Goodway et al., 2010). Some
physical education, gross motor, or physical activity environments result in differential pedagogical treatment by sex.
For example, boys are encouraged to have correct skill
performance, while girls are encouraged to just participate
(Garcia, 1994; Lubans Morgan, Cliff, Barnett, & Okely,
2010). The findings from this study suggest that T-SKIP
was developmentally and pedagogically appropriate for
both boys and girls with respect to OC skill learning. The
T-SKIP girls in this study improved their OC skills along
with the T-SKIP boys indicating that the teachers implemented T-SKIP without any differential effects of sex.
Limitations and strengths
There are several limitations to this study. First, when data
collection occurred, schools lost days due to extreme
winter weather. Inclement weather resulted in only
8 weeks of intervention when originally 9 weeks were
scheduled. Second, due to the nature of ecologically
valid classroom research, random assignment of condition occurred at the teacher level and not the child level.
As a result, HLM was warranted to account for nesting
effects that occurred. As the sample size of our teachers
was small, generalizability to other teachers is a limitation.
In addition, HLM may have overcorrected differences
between teachers. Despite this limitation, using HLM is
a strength of this study. HLM is a rigorous technique that
accounts for nesting effects that occur in multilevel analyses within educational settings where it is difficult to
randomly assign children within intact classrooms.
Additional strengths include providing detailed description for fidelity and featuring teachers as the implementers of T-SKIP. Report fidelity assists in replication and
provides a snapshot into what actually occurred during
our intervention. Moreover, using teachers has the
12
A. BRIAN ET AL.
potential for sustainability after the research intervention
concludes. In addition, having teachers deliver T-SKIP
instead of motor development experts is an ecologically
valid option for potentially reaching the 900,000 children
enrolled throughout the Head Start network.
lower levels of fidelity by the teachers, results of this
study revealed an ecologically valid option to combat
FMS delays present in children from socioeconomically
disadvantaged settings.
Acknowledgments
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Implications for future research
Future research is needed to scale up this initial T-SKIP
trial and conduct a group randomized trial of T-SKIP
across the Head Start network. Replication of this study
can help address the generalizability limitations present
when featuring a small sample size of teachers despite a
large sample of students. Longitudinal follow-up is also
necessary to examine if intervention effects on OC skills
persist across time. Results of a longitudinal follow-up
would elucidate the retention effects of the children’s
FMS and whether teachers will continue to implement
T-SKIP beyond the duration of the study. Longitudinal
study would enable examination of whether giving young
children an early “boost” in their motor competence
would result in them being drawn into a positive spiral
of engagement across childhood and adolescence resulting in higher levels of physical activity and a greater likelihood for healthy weight (Stodden et al., 2008).
The authors would like to thank the director, teachers, children,
and parents from the centers for their participation and support
throughout this study. Without their generous support, this
study would not have been possible. In addition, the authors
thank several students at The Ohio State University for their
assistance, including Mark Roser, Nadia Elfessi, Ruri Famelia,
and Emi Tsuda. Finally, the authors thank Dr. Phillip Ward for
his comments, feedback, and advice on this project.
Funding
North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and
Physical Activity (NASPSPA) provided a Graduate Student
Research Grant to fund this project; North American Society
for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Research
Grant.
ORCID
Ali Brian
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6541-0938
What does this article add?
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This research contributes to an existing line of inquiry
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