Pediatric Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics published research comparing differences in gross motor performance of 20 children ages 3-5 with motor delays when assessed individually versus assessment in a group setting among 42 peers with typical development (TD). Each child with motor delays was tested 4-8 days apart in an individual setting and in a group setting with two to four peers with typical development. The assessment consisted of 10 different motor skills from the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2. Performance of each item was videotaped and scored by a blinded researcher. The results indicated the following:
gross motor performance was significantly different between the two settings, with 14 of 20 children demonstrating better performance in the group setting.
children performed better on locomotion items.
The researchers concluded that the higher scores in the group setting may be due to the influence of competition, motivation, or modeling and recommended evaluating a child in a group setting as part of the overall assessment.
Reference: Deanne Fay, Tawna Wilkinson, Michelle Wagoner, Danna Brooks, Lauren Quinn & Andrea Turnell. Effect of Group Setting on Gross Motor Performance in Children 3–5 Years Old with Motor Delays. Pediatric Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. Published online February 26, 2016. DOI:10.3109/01942638.2015.1129387