Development of a parent-report computer-adaptive test to assess physical functioning in children with cerebral palsy I: lower-extremity and mobility skills


    Supported by the Shriners Hospital for Children Foundation (grant no. 8957) and an Independent Scientist award to Dr Haley (National Center on Medical Rehabilitation Research /NICHD/NIH, grant no. K02 HD45354-01A1).

Dr Carole A Tucker at College of Health Professions, Temple University, 3307 North Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19140, USA.


The objective of this project was to develop computer-adaptive tests (CATs) using parent reports of physical function in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). The specific aims of this study were to (1) examine the psychometric properties of an item bank of lower-extremity and mobility skills for children with CP; (2) evaluate a CAT using this item bank; (3) examine the concurrent validity of the CAT with the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI) and the Functional Assessment Questionnaire (FAQ); and (4) establish the discriminant validity of simulated CATs with Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels and CP type (diplegia, hemiplegia, or quadriplegia). Parents (n=190) of children and adolescents with spastic diplegic (48%), hemiplegic (22%), or quadriplegic (30%) CP consisting of 108 males and 82 females with a mean age of 10 years 7 months (SD 4y 1mo, range 2–21y) and in GMFCS levels I to V participated in item pool calibration and completed the PODCI and FAQ. Confirmatory factor analyses supported a unidimensional model for the 45 basic lower-extremity and mobility items. Simulated CATs of 5, 10, and 15 items demonstrated excellent accuracy (intraclass correlation coefficients [ICCs] >0.91) with the full item bank and had high correlations with PODCI transfers and mobility (ICC = 0.86) and FAQ scores (ICC = 0.77). All CATs discriminated among GMFCS levels and CP type. The lower-extremity and mobility skills item bank and simulated CATs demonstrated excellent performance over a wide span of ages and severity levels.