The content validity of the Tardieu Scale and the Ashworth Scale was assessed in 27 independently ambulant children with cerebral palsy (gender: 17 males, 10 females; age: 5—9 years; Gross Motor Function Classification: level I and II). Ashworth and Tardieu Scale scores and laboratory measures of spasticity and contracture were collected from the plantarflexor muscles by 2 examiners who were blinded to the results. The Tardieu Scale was more effective than the Ashworth Scale in identifying the presence of spasticity (88.9%, kappa = 0.73; P = .000), the presence of contracture (77.8%, kappa = 0.503; P = .008) and the severity of contracture (r = 0.49; P = .009). However, neither scale was able to identify the severity of spasticity. The Tardieu Scale can provide useful information in children with cerebral palsy because it differentiates spasticity from contracture. However, a more comprehensive clinical method of testing neural and non-neural contributions to impairments and function is needed.