n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - The relationship between motor proficiency and academic performance of adolescent learners in Potchefstroom, South Africa : the PAHL Study

Volume 21 Number 4.2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The effect of movement on academic performance has lately become a topic of interest in literature, as it is widely accepted that there is a strong relationship between motor and cognitive development. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between motor proficiency and academic performance of Senior Phase learners in Potchefstroom, an urban region in South Africa. A total of 236 children between the ages of 13 and 14 years were randomly selected out of eight schools. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency 2 was used to assess motor competency. The learners' academic performance was measured by making use of their average end-of-year academic marks and the marks of English and Mathematics. Significant correlations were found between fine motor control and the end-of-year average marks and English and Mathematics marks in some of the groups. Similarly,correlations were found between the scores of the manipulation coordination items and the English marks of most of the groups, while the end-of-year marks, English and Mathematics marks correlated with body coordination scores in most of the groups. The strength and agility items showed the strongest correlations with the end-of-year marks in all the groups, and the total motor proficiency score showed significant correlations with the end-of-year marks in all the groups. The results of this study imply that motor skill development and maintenance should be incorporated in the Physical Education curriculum for learners of this age group.

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