Dexterity evaluation products examine a person’s motor skills with regards to the fingers, hands, and arms. Various exams exists to measure such performance abilities as eye-hand coordination, quickness at performing assembly tasks, and overall motor skill development. Dexterity exams are used in assessing progress when doing physical and occupational rehabilitation, screening applicants for necessary job skills, and evaluating the extent of an injury or other disability.
Most screening programs for dexterity naturally involve the use of some combination of fingers on both hands to follow some designated evaluation procedure, such as placing pegs into a pegboard. Some dexterity exams check for the subject’s ability to use not only the hands, but also test arms and shoulders more extensively as well.
A few standard testing procedures have established the accepted norms for measuring dexterity. They include the Purdue Pegboard Test, the Minnesota Dexterity Test, the O’Connor Fingers and Tweezers Tests, and the Roeder Manipulative Aptitude Test. In addition to these tests, others tests exist which measure coordination skills related to specific job functions.
The Purdue Pegboard was developed by an industrial psychologist at Purdue University to examine the capability of applicants to perform industrial jobs. This test provides a few different testing setups and procedures, and can be adapted to specific testing needs. Tests performed using the Purdue Pegboard Test setup include removing pins from a tray and placing them into a pegboard. Another part of the Purdue Test involves assembling a combination of pins, washers, and collars. Testing is usually timed for both of these test setups so that the results show both the quickness and accuracy of the subject in performing the dexterity tasks.
This test has two versions, the Minnesota Manual Dexterity Test (MMDT) and the Complete Minnesota Dexterity Test (CMDT). Both tests measure eye-hand coordination. The tests involve having test subjects perform dexterity movements using disks. The CMDT includes five different tests in the entire test battery, which makes it more accommodating to testing a wider spectrum of dexterity metrics.
O’Connor Fingers and Tweezers Tests
The O’Connor tests are used for testing more precise movements of the fingers. The finger test requires the subject to place pins in holes, a setup similar to the Purdue Pegboard Test. The O’Connor Tweezers Test requires the testee to use a pair of tweezers to perform the pin placement. The O’Connor bare generally used to determine the aptitude of someone being considered for an assembly job such as sewing.
Roeder Manipulative Aptitude Evaluation
This test assesses a person’s ability to assemble and sort objects. The apparatus includes a performance board, rods with threaded ends, along with nuts, washers, and caps. The rods can be screwed into sockets on a performance board. Testing involves various sorting sequences as well as assembly testing. Subjects are timed as they perform sequences of sorting and assembly the rods, washers, caps, and nuts on the performance board. The Roeder setup can be used for a range of skills assessment.
Job Specific Dexterity Assessment
Other tests have been invented to check a person’s skills for a particular test or to understand progress made by rehabilitation. A hand tool dexterity test exists to examine a subject’s proficiency with mechanical tools, such as wrenches, and screwdrivers. There are other tests available that allow applicant screening and rehabilitation professionals to measure people’s ability to function in many different capacities. Wherever there is a widespread to evaluate someone’s performance with regard to a job function, there is likely a dexterity test available.
Some General Guidelines for Performing Dexterity Assessments
Although the various dexterity tests are somewhat extensible and can be used for many particular assessment needs, it is strongly suggested that the testing be correlated with the job function or skill for which the evaluation is intended. Otherwise, the results are meaningless.
The examples described above have become widely accepted because they use well-defined, systematic procedures. The core focus of dexterity testing is to normalize the results to understand what level of performance should be expected of a subject, allowing the evaluation to rate an outcome and compare it to a standard.