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Handwriting: a skill for life & learning

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Presentation on theme: "Handwriting: a skill for life & learning"— Presentation transcript:

1 Handwriting: a skill for life & learning
Prof. Anna Barnett Oxford Brookes University Research Funding: Pearson Assessment Action Medical Research

2 Overview The importance of handwriting (and keyboarding)
The place of transcription skills in a framework for writing The purpose of assessment Assessment of handwriting speed – an example Assessment of handwriting legibility – an example

3 Handwriting – still an important skill
takes up much of the school day required across the school curriculum helps to consolidate and demonstrate knowledge used for personal notes & assessed work required for examinations useful in everyday life not just used on paper!

4 Keyboarding – another important skill
a different motor skill to handwriting sometimes recommended in place of handwriting used more now in classrooms required for course work in education required in most workplaces there are a range of keyboard styles

5 The simple model of writing
Common pool of working memory Text Generation Transcription Words, Sentences, Discourse Executive Functions eg: Planning, Review (Adapted from Berninger and Amtmann, 2003) Handwriting, Keyboarding, Spelling

6 Implications Writing is a complex task so learning cannot be left to chance We need to be aware of the different sub processes that have to be orchestrated in order to produce texts Transcription may prove to be a major constraint on progress Acquisition of any skill requires opportunities to consolidate newly acquired skills to ensure automaticity is achieved where possible

7 Teacher surveys Teachers not well prepared to teach handwriting
Some schools have good policies Good practice not always captured Focus on neatness No teaching for speed Little time for practice Not clear how to help those with difficulties

8 Who has transcription difficulties?
Common in classrooms (Rubin & Henderson, 1982; Barnett et al, 2006) Children with developmental disorders including: Developmental Coordination Disorder (Prunty et al, 2013) Dyslexia (Sumner et al, 2012) Specific Language Impairment (Connelly, 2005) Asperger’s Syndrome (Henderson & Green, 2001) ADHD (Tucha & Lange, 2001) Children with physical impairments/medical conditions e.g. Hemiplegia, Cerebral palsy, arthritis

9 Why be concerned about poor handwriting skill
Poor fluency related to reduced quantity and quality of content (Connelly et al, 2002; 2005). Can lead to academic underachievement (Briggs, 1970; Sloan & McGinnis (1992), Simner et al., 1996) Can result in low self esteem (Phelps et al., 1985)

10 Handwriting needs to be:
Fluent / Fast / ‘Automatic’ Legible Flexible Comfortable Taught!

11 Why assess handwriting?
Identify children with handwriting difficulties Quantify the level of handwriting performance Provide a detailed description of handwriting performance Evaluate intervention programmes Aid research

12 Handwriting tests Wallen et al (1996) The Handwriting Speed Test
Killeen et al (2007) An Irish Adaptation of the Handwriting Speed Test (IA) HST Allcock (2001) Data provided from over 2000 students aged in the UK, PATOSS website Admundson (1995). Evaluation Tool of Children’s Handwriting (ETCH) Van Waelvelde et al (2012). Systematic Screening of Handwriting Difficulties (SOS) Hamstra-Bletz et al (1987) Concise Assessment method of Children’s handwriting (BHK)

13 Development of the Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH)
Barnett, A.1, Henderson, S.2 & Scheib, B.2 & Schulz, J.3 1Oxford Brookes University 2Institute of Education University of London 3University of Hertfordshire Funded by: Pearson Assessment Action Medical Research

14 The DASH & DASH17+ UK norms Age range: 9-16 years; years Carefully selected sample Range of writing tasks Psychometrically sound Alongside revision of Movement ABC (Henderson & Sugden, 1992) for 3-16 year olds

15 DASH Sample Representative: 2001 census formed basis of stratification
Age Gender Geographical region (12 levels) Parental education level (indicator of SES) (5 levels) Race/ethnic group (4 levels) Assistance from Prof John Rust & Prof Susan Golombok Psychometrics Centre, City University Cambridge Assessment Centre Ethics approval Oxford Brookes University

16 sampling 57 schools Parental consent forms distributed
Children selected from returned forms Children with known sensory & physical impairments excluded OTs/PTs/Psychologists trained to administer test

17 Yorkshire & Humberside
UK Region Sample N % Census North East 57 10.4 25 4.6 North West 86 15.8 54 9.9 Yorkshire & Humberside 56 10.3 65 11.9 East Midlands 47 8.6 8.5 West Midlands 53 9.7 50 9.2 East of England 16 2.9 34 6.2 London 31 5.7 55 10.1 South East 114 20.9 92 16.9 South West 33 6.0 Wales 26 4.8 22 4.1 Scotland 18 3.3 51 9.3 Northern Ireland 9 1.6 Total 546 100.0

18 Five tasks Copy for 2 minutes: Copy Best – write in your best handwriting; Copy Fast - write as quickly as possible but make sure every word is readable. Alphabet Writing for 1 minute. Graphic Speed: Making Xs in circles for 1 minute.

19 Free writing – 10 minutes My Life hobbies music dance friends sports
birthdays holidays clubs pets television fashion school


21 Raw Scores 2 <5 <21 < 13 < 7 <7 3 5 - 7 21 - 23 13 7
SD-score Raw Scores Copy Best Alphabet Writing Copy Fast Free Writing Graphic Speed 2 <5 <21 < 13 < 7 <7 3 5 - 7 13 7 7 - 10 4 8 - 10 8 - 9 5 11 18 21 6 19 22 14 20 8 9 10 12 29 24 30 45 25 15 87 33 49 16 17 37 31 >36 >102 > 37 >31 > 55

22 Correlations between the tasks
Alphabet Writing Copy Best Copy Fast Free Writing Graphic Speed .48** .52** .56** .54* .72** .77* .69** .82** .71** .83** ** p<.000

23 DASH scores Standard scores for each task (mean 10, SD 3) and the resulting profile Total DASH score - sum of 4 primary scales, converted to Total Standard Score (mean 100, SD 15) with percentile equivalents Supplementary scores: Graphic Speed, Copy Difference, Free Writing Profile Cut off points: 1 and 2 SDs below mean for item scores 5th/15th percentile for Total DASH standard score

24 Measurement issues Validity – does the test measure what it is designed to measure? Reliability – does the test give an accurate & consistent measure of performance?

25 DASH & DASH 17+ UK norms for 9-16 year olds; 17-25 year olds
Adequate samples Psychometrically sound Provision of standard scores Allows for quantification of handwriting speed Various uses – screening, access arrangements, monitoring, intervention planning/evaluation

Important for clear communication ‘Legibility bias’ - poor legibility can impact on ratings of compositional quality (Greifeneder et al., 2010) Assessment: Detailed component assessment(e.g. Letter shape, height, positioning, spacing, consistency) (Hamstra-Bletz et al., 1987) Global assessment - comparison to exemplars (Amundson, 1995) No tool for use in the UK 26

27 Development of the Handwriting legibility scale (HLS)
Barnett, A.1, Prunty, M.2 & Rosenblum, S.3 1Oxford Brookes University 2Brunel University 3University of Haifa, Israel Funded by: Oxford Brookes University

28 Aim To develop a Handwriting Legibility Scale (HLS) for use in the UK
A quick, easy to use and practical tool For primary school-aged children (8+ years) Combining features of detailed & global measures For use by educational and health professionals 28

29 The script ‘Free writing’ task DASH (Barnett et al. 2007) 10 minutes
On topic of ‘my life’ ‘Everyday’ handwriting First six minutes used for HLS rating 29

30 Development of the HLS Five criteria based on experience & literature review Global legibility Effort required to read the script Layout on the page Letter formation Alterations to the text 5-point likert scale: 1-good, 5-poor Summed to give a total score, high scores = poor 30

31 10 year old child 31

32 10 year old child 32

33 Five criteria Global legibility Effort required to read the script
best predictor of handwriting difficulties (Rosenblum et al., 2008; 2011) 1 – all words legible; 5 – few words legible on first reading Effort required to read the script the rater is biased if the script is effortful to read (Greifeneder et al., 2010) 1 – no effort required; 5 – extreme effort required Layout on the page relates to poor handwriting (Parush et al., 2010) 1 – very good layout; 5 – very poor layout Letter formation a focus for most teaching 1 – very good formation; 5 – very poor formation Alterations significantly predicts poor handwriting (Rosenblum et al., 2004; 2011) 1 – no alterations; 5 – most words contain alterations

34 Expert and content validity
12 experts (teachers, occupational therapists, psychologists) Feedback on wording and content Overall support for five sections Revised wording and instructions Need for extended examples 34

35 Reliability Sample n=58, 8-14 years, with and without handwriting difficulties Internal consistency: Cronbach’s alpha .92 Sub-sample n=20, 9-10 years, with and without handwriting difficulties Inter-rater reliability: Intra-class correlation total scores .92 Divided into low (5-10), medium (11-15), high (16- 25) categories: Kappa 0.67 (p<.001) 35

36 Construct validity: group differences
DCD group n=29 TD group p Global legibility 2.86 1.31 <.001 Effort to read 3.52 1.89 Layout on the page 3.86 2.17 Letter formation 4.00 2.28 Alterations 3.04 Total 17.28 9.83 36

37 No. (%) children with low, medium & high scores on the HLS
DCD group TD group Low 19 (65.5%) Medium 13 (45%) 8 (28.5%) High 16 (55%) 2 (7%) Chi square: 31.1 (df=2), p<.001 37

38 Further work Further refinement and clarity of instructions are needed for the ‘layout’ component More examples to help raters and improve reliability Checking the HLS against a criterion measure – what to use? Data collection on a larger sample & age range A cut off point needs to be established to denote ‘poor legibility’ from the total score 38

39 Conclusions Practical tools are needed to help teachers identify and support children with handwriting difficulties The DASH can be used for screening/identification, evidence for Access arrangements, intervention planning With further refinement the HLS may be useful for identification, quantifying performance and intervention planning Evaluation of these tools is an ongoing process 39

40 Thank you

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