Development of a parent-report computer-adaptive test to assess physical functioning in children with cerebral palsy II: upper-extremity 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. E-mail:


The specific aims of this study were to (1) examine the psychometric properties (unidimensionality, differential item functioning, scale coverage) of an item bank of upper-extremity skills for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP); (2) evaluate a simulated computer-adaptive test (CAT) using this item bank; (3) examine the concurrent validity of the CAT with the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI) upper-extremity core scale; and (4) determine the discriminant validity of the simulated CAT with Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) levels and CP type (i.e. diplegia, hemiplegia, or quadriplegia). Parents (n=180) of children and adolescents with CP (spastic diplegia 49%, hemiplegia 22%, or quadriplegia 28%) consisting of 102 males and 78 females with a mean age of 10 years 6 months (SD 4y 1mo, range 2–21y), and MACS levels I through V participated in calibration of an item pool and completed the PODCI. Confirmatory factor analyses supported a unidimensional model using 49 of the 53 upper-extremity items. Simulated CATs of 5, 10, and 15 items demonstrated excellent accuracy (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICCs] >0.93) with the full item bank, had high correlations with the PODCI upper-extremity core scale score (ICC 0.79), and discriminated among MACS levels. The simulated CATs demonstrated excellent overall content coverage over a wide age span and severity of upper-extremity involvement. The future development and refinement of CATs for parent report of physical function in children and adolescents with CP is supported by our work.