Instructions for the Purdue Pegboard

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Created in 1948 by Joseph Tiffin, Ph.D., a Purdue University Industrial Psychologist, the Purdue Pegboard is a manual test consisting of a pegboard, pins, collars and washers. Participants are timed as they arrange pins and assemble pins, washers and collars. Scores are taken for one hand, for a second hand and finally for both hands. Originally designed to test gross motor skills and fingertip dexterity of job applicants, the pegboard is used in many other applications including identifying and assessing children with learning disabilities, assessing individuals for rehabilitation and analyzing the performance of dyslexic subjects.

Set Up

Place the Purdue Pegboard on the table with the nameplate at the top and the cups facing the test subject.

Separate the pins equally, placing half in the far left cup under the nameplate and the other half in the far right cup.

Place the washers in the cup that is right of the center of the board. Place the collars in the cup left of center. If the subject is left-handed, reverse the two.

Pin Test

Take one pin from the far right cup. Insert it into the top hole on the right column. Continue inserting pins for 30 seconds. If you drop any pins, do not pick them up. Count the number of pins successfully placed in the holes. Write the total on a score sheet.

Take one pin from the far left cup. Insert it into the top hole on the left column. Continue inserting pins for 30 seconds. Again, do not pick up any dropped pins. Count the successful pins and write that total on the score sheet.

Take a pin from the right cup with your right hand. Take a pin from the left cup with your left hand. Insert the pins into the holes at the top of the columns. Continue inserting pins for 30 seconds. Count the number of paired pins and write the score down on your score sheet.

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Add the scores from all three tests to determine your overall score for the fourth score: Right + Left + Both Hands equals result.

Assembly Test

Take a pin from the far right cup. Insert it into the hole at the top of the right column. Grab a washer with your left hand and drop the washer onto the inserted pin. Pick up a collar with your right hand and place it onto the pin with the washer. Grab another washer with your left hand and drop it onto the pin to complete the assembly.

Continue inserting pins and assembling the washers and collars in this manner for one minute.

Count all of the assembled parts to provide a score for the right hand. Because there are four parts to one assembly, the subject earns four points for each completed assembly. The subject also will earn points for parts assembled, though not complete. For example, a pin with a washer and a collar earns three points.


For Administrators: Before administering the test, the administrator should perform the test until he is comfortable with the task and can produce results at a reasonable speed for demonstration purposes. If the participant is left-handed, administer the test by timing the left hand first and the right hand second, opposite the standard administration. Participants must take the test while in a seated position. Allow test subjects to insert pins and assemble the collars and washers to familiarize themselves with the testing process.

For Test Subjects: The test is dependent on your continuous movement between hands and fingers. Work smoothly and efficiently to obtain the best scores. Your scores will have different effects depending on the circumstances involving your tests. In some cases, you may have to surpass the standard score to qualify for specific jobs such as assembly. In other cases, your scores may reflect certain learning disabilities and your results help determine your treatment.

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