Beery-Buktenica test


The Beery-Buktenica visual-motor integration test is a neuropsychological test that analyzes visual construction skills. It identifies problems with visual perception, motor coordination, and visual-motor integration such as hand-eye coordination .


The Beery-Buktenica Test, also known as Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration or VMI, is designed to identify deficits in visual perception, fine motor skills , and hand-eye coordination. It may be used to diagnose cognitive development disorders in young children through an analysis of visual construction skills. It can be administered to individuals from age two through young adulthood and can also be used to test adults of all ages, particularly those who have been disabled by stroke , injury, or Alzheimer's disease.

The Beery-Buktenica VMI test is used by physicians, psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disability specialists, counselors, educators, and other professionals. It can be effectively used for the following purposes:

  • to identify individuals who are having visual-motor difficulties
  • to help diagnose visual-motor deficits
  • to make referrals to specific professionals or services
  • to test individual learning levels and educational programs
  • to monitor the progress of individuals with known visual-motor or developmental difficulties


One of the basic aspects of an individual's ability to think and know (cognition) is how one is able to perceive certain stimuli. Assessing perception skills—observing how individuals may respond to things they see, hear, and touch—is, therefore, a basic part of assessing cognitive function. Children with possible developmental delay may be tested for their perception of visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli, not just to understand their ability to see, hear, and touch, but to understand how they perceive stimuli and what conclusions they make as a result. This information can help pediatricians and child psychologists evaluate the child's nervous system (neurological) functioning and psychological development. Visual testing may include color perception, object recognition, visual organizational abilities, and the ability to differentiate figures from the background against which they appear. It also includes visual construction tests. Some visual construction tests are designed to test memory by asking the child to draw a familiar object. Others, such as the Beery-Buktenica test, are designed to test visual motor skills as a factor of visual perception and integration.

Visual-motor integration or VMI can be evaluated as a factor in child development by providing the child with geometric designs ranging from simple line drawings to more complex figures and asking that the designs be copied. The construction skills used in the test have been shown to indicate visual motor impairment, such as problems with fine motors skills of the hand and hand-eye coordination. The developers of the test, Keith E. Beery and Norman A. Buktenica, have established adequate norms for visual motor performance by children in various age groups. The test is considered especially useful to help evaluate children with other disabilities or disabling conditions. It can also be used for the evaluation of motor skills such as handwriting.

The Beery-Buktenica test is usually administered individually but can also be given in groups. The child is given a booklet containing increasingly complex geometric figures and asked to copy them without any erasures and without rotating the booklet in any direction. The test is given in two versions: the Short Test Form containing 15 figures is used for ages three through eight; the Long Test Form, with 24 figures, is used for older children, adolescents, and adults with developmental delay. A raw score based on the number of correct copies is converted based on norms for each age group, and results are reported as converted scores and percentiles. The test is untimed but usually takes 10–15 minutes to administer.


There are no precautions involved in visual motor testing.


More successful testing is achieved when no preparatory steps are taken. The test can be explained briefly to the child beforehand.


No particular care is recommended after administration of the test. Further testing may be recommended as well as specific intervention to help correct any deficits noted. Depending upon the specific deficits found, intervention may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, behavior modification, play therapy, and medication for certain neuropsychological disorders.


There are no risks associated with taking the Beery-Buktenica VMI test.

Normal results

Children who perform well on VMI testing may still have visual perception or motor coordination deficits. Visual conceptualization and motor coordination should be evaluated separately to confirm the results.


Cognition —The act or process of knowing or perceiving.

Deficit —A shortfall or slowdown in development, possibly related to a disorder that slows or interrupts normal childhood development.

Developmental —Referring to the growth process, particularly the growth patterns and associated skills acquired in childhood.

Developmental delay —The failure of a child to meet certain developmental milestones, such as sitting, walking, and talking, at the average age. Developmental delay may indicate a problem in development of the central nervous system.

Motor coordination (MC) —Related to movement of parts of the body, particularly the use of the hands and coordination of eye-hand motion.

Neurological —Relating to the brain and central nervous system.

Neuropsychological —Referring to the interaction between the nervous system and cognitive function, the influence of one function on the other.

Spatial skills —The ability to locate objects in a three-dimensional world using sight or touch.

Visual perception (VP) —The ability to perceive or understand what is being seen; the integration of an image with an idea of what it represents.

Children who do not perform well on VMI testing may have impairment of visual-motor skills including the following types:

  • visual analysis and visual spatial ability
  • motor coordination (MC)
  • visual conceptualization (VC)
  • visual motor integration

Parental concerns

Parents may be apprehensive about the performance of their child in the Beery-Buktenica testing process. Results are carefully analyzed, and parents are advised not to judge the child's skills until they have discussed the test with the pediatrician, neurologist, or psychologist who will use the results in conjunction with other developmental tests in order to make a diagnosis or recommendations for therapy.

See also Cognitive development ; Fine motor skills .



National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892. Web site: http://http//


"Beery-Buktenica Development Test of Visual-Motor Integration." Psychological Assessment Resources Inc. (PAR). Available online at (accessed October 28, 2004).

"Beery VMI." Pearson Assessments. Available online at (accessed October 28, 2004).

L. Lee Culvert

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