Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT)

Purpose of the measure

The Purdue Pegboard Test was developed by Joseph Tiffin in 1948. The Purdue Pegboard Test is now used widely by clinicians and researchers as a measure of (1) gross movement of the arm, hand and fingers, and (2) fingertip dexterity. The Purdue Pegboard test is suitable for use with patients with impairments of the upper extremity resulting from neurological and musculoskeletal conditions.

Available versions

None typically reported

Features of the measure

Description of tasks:
The Purdue Pegboard test measures:
(1) Gross movement of the fingers, hand and arm; and
(2) Fingertip dexterity

The patient should be seated comfortably at a testing table with the Purdue Pegboard on the table in front of him/her. The testing board consists of a board with 4 cups across the top and two vertical rows of 25 small holes down the centre. The two outside cups contain 25 pins each; the cup to the immediate left contains 40 washers and the cup to the immediate right of the center contains 20 collars.

Picture: Google Images

The clinician demonstrates and then administers the following 5 subtests:

  • Right hand (30 seconds): Clients use their right hand to place as many pins as possible down on the row within 30 seconds.
  • Left hand (30 seconds): Clients use their left hand to place as many pins as possible down on the row within 30 seconds.
  • Both hands (30 seconds): Clients use both hands simultaneously to place as many pins as possible down both rows.
  • Right + Left + Both hands:
    **Please note that this is not an actual test, it is a mathematical sum calculation of the above scores
  • Assembly (60 seconds): Clients use both hands simultaneously while assembling pins, washers and collars.

Specific administration instructions can be found in the instruction manual that accompanies the Purdue Pegboard Test.

Scoring and Score Interpretation:
The clinician compiles 5 separate scores from the complete test procedure, one for each of the following tasks:

  • Right hand (30 seconds): the total number of pins placed in the right hand column using the right hand in the allotted time.
  • Left hand (30 seconds): the total number of pins placed in the left hand column using the left hand in the allotted time.
  • Both hands (30 seconds): the total number of pairs of pins placed in both columns using both hands in the allotted time.
  • Right + Left + Both hands: the sum of scores for the previous three tasks (right hand + left hand + both hands).
  • Assembly (60 seconds): the total number of pins, washers and collars assembled in the allotted time.

The testing should commence in the order outlined above, unless the patient is left-handed; tasks 1 and 2 should then be reversed. The preferred method of administration is the three-trial method: the patient should be permitted to attempt three trials for each task after a single demonstration by the clinician. (The one-trial administration method only permits the patient one trial following demonstration by the clinician). The test can be administered in an individual or group setting.

Desrosiers, Hebert, Bravo and Dutil (1995) developed predictive equations for Purdue Pegboard subtest scores, based on normative data resulting from their study. The normative data portion of the study involved 360 healthy participants over the age of 60 years. The following predictive equations were determined:

Purdue subtests Females Males
Right hand 24.0 – 0.15 x (age) 22.5 – 0.15 x (age)
Left hand 23.7 – 0.16 x (age) 24.1 – 0.18 x (age)
Both hands 19.9 – 0.14 x (age) 20.0 – 0.15 x (age)
Right + Left + Both hands 67.7 – 0.45 x (age) 66.5 – 0.48 x (age)
Assembly 59.4 – 0.45 x (age) 62.2 – 0.53 x (age)

Example: The expected score for an 80 year old woman on the right hand task is: 24.0 – (0.15 x 80) = 12.

Time
The Purdue Pegboard test takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to administer and score.

Training requirements
None typically reported, however it is recommended that the clinician is familiar with the assessment tool. The clinician should be able to demonstrate to clients performance of the Purdue Pegboard at an average speed.

Equipment
Purdue Pegboard Test (Model #32020)

  • Instruction manual
  • 1 test board
  • Pins x 50, collars x 20, washers x 40
  • Score sheets
  • Testing table approximately 30 inches tall
  • Stopwatch or clock that reads in seconds
Alternative forms of the PPT

None typically reported

Client suitability

Can be used with:

  • Clients presenting with lateral brain damage (Costa et al., 1963)
  • Clients with hemiplegia resulting from stroke (Ashford, Slade, Malaprad & Turner-Stokes, 2008)
  • Clients requiring assessment for vocational rehabilitation (Hemm and Curtis, 1980)
  • Clients with dyslexia (Leslie, Davidson and Batey, 1985)
  • Clients of all ages

Should not be used in:

  • None reported
In what languages is the measure available?

No formal translations of the Purdue Pegboard have been reported. Because of the non-verbal nature of the assessment it can be used by non-English groups.