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HANDWRITING: A SKILL FOR LIFE & LEARNING Prof. Anna Barnett Oxford Brookes University Research Funding: Pearson Assessment Action.

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Presentation on theme: "HANDWRITING: A SKILL FOR LIFE & LEARNING Prof. Anna Barnett Oxford Brookes University Research Funding: Pearson Assessment Action."— Presentation transcript:

1 HANDWRITING: A SKILL FOR LIFE & LEARNING Prof. Anna Barnett Oxford Brookes University Research Funding: Pearson Assessment Action Medical Research Oxford Brookes University

2  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 OVERVIEW

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  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 KEYBOARDING – ANOTHER IMPORTANT SKILL

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  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 IMPLICATIONS

7  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 TEACHER SURVEYS

8 WHO HAS TRANSCRIPTION DIFFICULTIES?  Common in classrooms (Rubin & Henderson, 1982; Barnett et al, 2006)  Children with developmental disorders including: o Developmental Coordination Disorder (Prunty et al, 2013) o Dyslexia (Sumner et al, 2012) o Specific Language Impairment (Connelly, 2005) o Asperger’s Syndrome (Henderson & Green, 2001) o 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 1 Oxford Brookes University 2 Institute of Education University of London 3 University 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 UK RegionSample N Sample % Census N Census % North East North West Yorkshire & Humberside East Midlands West Midlands East of England London South East South West Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Total

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 music My Life sports holidaysbirthdays friends school hobbies dance clubs fashion pets television


21 SD-score Raw Scores SD-score Copy BestAlphabet Writing Copy FastFree WritingGraphic Speed 2<5<21< 13< >36>102> 37>31> 5518

22 CORRELATIONS BETWEEN THE TASKS Alphabet Writing Copy BestCopy FastFree Writing Graphic Speed.48**.52**.56**.54* Alphabet Writing.72**.77*.69** Copy Best.82**.71** Copy Fast.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 5 th /15 th 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; 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

26 HANDWRITING LEGIBILITY  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

27 DEVELOPMENT OF THE HANDWRITING LEGIBILITY SCALE (HLS) Barnett, A. 1, Prunty, M. 2 & Rosenblum, S. 3 1 Oxford Brookes University 2 Brunel University 3 University 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

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

30 Development of the HLS  Five criteria based on experience & literature review 1.Global legibility 2.Effort required to read the script 3.Layout on the page 4.Letter formation 5.Alterations to the text  5-point likert scale: 1-good, 5-poor  Summed to give a total score, high scores = poor

31 10 year old child


33 FIVE CRITERIA Global legibility  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

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)

36 Construct validity: group differences DCD group n=29 TD group n=29 p Global legibility <.001 Effort to read <.001 Layout on the page <.001 Letter formation <.001 Alterations <.001 Total <.001

37 No. (%) children with low, medium & high scores on the HLS ScoresDCD groupTD group Low019 (65.5%) Medium13 (45%)8 (28.5%) High16 (55%)2 (7%) Chi square: 31.1 (df=2), p<.001

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

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


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