Exploring Handwriting Use, Handwriting Instruction, and Handwriting Quality of First-Year University Students

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Vickers, Mark, Taylor
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Handwriting is perceived by some individuals to be a “dying art” (Sharp & Titus, 2016), despite its cognitive and academic benefits over typing (e.g., Mueller & Openheimer, 2014). Twenty-nine students completed paper and pencil tasks where they were asked to form upper- and lower-case print and cursive letters, copy sentences using their typical handwriting, only print, and only cursive, and questionnaires about their handwriting and typing use and their handwriting instruction. Results indicated that students used handwriting more frequently than typing for academic tasks overall and for most categories of specific academic tasks, and they reported using handwriting or a variety of tasks at work and at home. As well, results indicated that students are less legible when forming cursive letters compared to print letters, and less fluent with cursive handwriting compared to print and a mix of the two styles. Finally, students reported receiving a high number of components of evidence-based handwriting instruction but reported a perception that their handwriting was inadequate. These findings, along with possibilities for future research, and practical implications for teachers, educational policy makers, teacher education programs, and school psychologists are discussed.
Handwriting use, handwriting quality, handwriting instruction, teacher education, school psychology