The purpose of this study was to analyse the longitudinal associations between (1)
fundamental movement skills (FMSs) and academic performance, and (2) self-reported
physical activity and academic performance through junior high school in Finland.
The participants of the study were 325 Finnish students (162 girls and 163 boys),
who were 13 years old at the beginning of the study at Grade 7. Students performed
three FMS tests and responded to a self-reported physical activity questionnaire at
Grades 7 and 8. Marks in Finnish language, mathematics and history from Grades 7,
8 and 9 were collected. Structural equation modelling with multigroup method demonstrated
that in the boys' group, a correlation (0.17) appeared between FMS and academic performance
measured at Grade 7. The results also indicated that FMS collected at Grade 8 were
significantly but weakly (path coefficient 0.14) associated with academic performance
at Grade 9 for both gender groups. Finally, the results of this study demonstrated
that self-reported physical activity was not significantly related to academic performance
during junior high school. The findings of this study suggest that mastery of FMS
may contribute to better student achievement during junior high school.