OBJECTIVES. This study examined the relationships between sixth-grade students’ handwriting speed and legibility and their keyboarding speed and error rate. A second purpose was to examine how well handwriting performance discriminates students as slow or fast in computer keyboarding.

METHOD. After participation in a school-required keyboarding class, 40 sixth-grade students were asked to copy a familiar poem using handwriting and keyboarding. Handwriting legibility and speed and keyboarding speed and errors were measured. Relationships among these variables were analyzed using Pearson product-moment correlations and discriminant analysis.

RESULTS. Keyboarding speed correlated with handwriting legibility (n = 38, r = .361, p = .026), suggesting that handwriting performance accounts for 12% to 13% of the variance in keyboarding performance. Handwriting speed and legibility together accurately categorized 71% of students as slow or fast in keyboarding. On average, students were able to keyboard faster than handwrite. Of the 20 slowest handwriters, 75% achieved more text production with keyboarding than with handwriting.

CONCLUSION. Keyboarding performance demonstrated low to moderate correlation with handwriting performance, suggesting that these forms of written expression require distinctly different skills. Most students who were slow at handwriting or had poor legibility increased the quantity and overall legibility of text they produced with a keyboard. These results suggest that keyboarding has the potential to increase and improve a student’s written output.

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