Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Kara L. Boynewicz

Thesis Professor Department

Physical Therapy

Thesis Reader(s)

Brandi-Eveland Sayers


In this research project, the question of why some younger children appear to have better motor skills than older children is investigated. The hypothesis proposed is that children involved in physical activities after school or in the evenings have better motor skills at younger ages than children who are not involved in physical activities outside of school. Young children have very varied levels of motor skills competency that have developed due to living in different environments and having varied opportunity to be physically active. These differences are a result of factors like socioeconomic status, parental influence, climate, culture, etc.1 Sports and physical activities are usually executed in team settings, allowing children to develop important social skills like team work, leadership, sportsmanship, and responsibility among other ethical skills.2 But what if in addition to these numerous benefits, physical activity throughout childhood also offered an improvement in the rate of development of motor skills? One hundred and thirty-five students in grades K-5 participated in a program looking at perception, cognition and motor skills. There were no exclusion criteria for the study and all children were invited to participate.  A total of 95% of the kids participated in the study. This study focuses on a portion of a larger study that was completed prior to the start of the program. Children’s motor skills were evaluated with a standardized measure Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2). Three sections of the (BOT-2) were implemented: running speed and agility, balance, and upper limb coordination. The scores were analyzed along with self-reported surveys on the levels of physical activity of the children. The results showed evidence to support an association between the amount of physical activity outside of school, either after or in the evenings, r = .621, p = .001. An association was also seen between the amount of time spent in physical activity after school/evenings and running speed and agility scores, r = 0.295 and 0.269 p=.001. This work will be useful in understanding the relationship between children’s participation in physical activity after school and motor skill development rate. The information gathered from this research can be used to promote and support the increase of physical activity time that is available to students during school. Allowing children to have more experiences and opportunities of physical activity at school can help minimize any disadvantage in the rate of motor skills development that children who are not physically active at home may have.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.