Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Handwriting proficiency: A critical foundation for middle-school success
by Worthington, Cathy L., Ph.D., Capella University, 2011, 162; 3438872
Abstract (Summary)

Writing legibly and writing with adequate speed to keep up with classroom demands are necessary tools to allow middle-school students to perform optimally in school. This qualitative-case study investigated four middle-grade students as they worked to improve handwriting difficulties which hampered their academic success. As a result of weak handwriting skills, students may be viewed as lazy, unmotivated, and at risk of receiving low grades. Middle-grade students who lack handwriting proficiency are often not explicitly taught corrective measures to improve. In this study, students' voices stand in the foreground as four middle-school boys share views about their six-weeks of tutorial-session experiences. Before and after-school tutoring sessions were designed to increase participants' handwriting fluency (i.e., handwriting speed), improve writing legibility (i.e., accuracy of letter formation and formatting), and increase formatting awareness. By hearing the voices of students, the researcher was better able to understand how students improved handwriting skills in a small-group tutorial setting. The findings from this study support the idea that middle-grade students can be helped with handwriting legibility, fluency, and formatting--if explicit and scaffold-strategy instruction is provided in a tutorial setting. It is critical middle-school teachers, school leaders, and curriculum designers are adequately informed on how to identify and assist students with impaired handwriting legibility and proficiency. The purpose of this study is twofold: first, to present detailed portraits of four middle-school students as they strive to improve handwriting; and secondly, to bring awareness to middle-school educators, school leaders, and curriculum makers the importance of early identification of students who lack adequate handwriting proficiency and are in need of instructional guidance for improving handwriting legibility, fluency, and formatting of handwritten work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Beazley, Jackson
Commitee: Dewitt, Douglas, Gibson, Adrienne
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, Elementary education
Keywords: Handwriting proficiency, Handwriting research, Language arts assessment, Middle school handwriting, Transcription skills, Tutorial interventions
Publication Number: 3438872
ISBN: 978-1-124-43272-4
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