OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine the consistency of handwriting in children from the beginning of kindergarten to the middle of the first-grade year. Consistency was defined as retaining the same qualitative performance and relative ranking over time.

METHOD. Ninety-three children were tested at the beginning of the kindergarten year and again in the middle of the first-grade year on the Scale of Children’s Readiness In PrinTing (SCRIPT). Data were analyzed with a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) (3 performance groups [lower, middle, upper] x 2 grades) followed by a Tukey’s HSD post hoc analysis. An analysis of the change in performance of individual children also was conducted.

RESULTS. The main effects and the interaction in the ANOVA were significant. Post hoc analysis for grade demonstrated that both the middle and the lower performing groups showed a significant improvement from kindergarten to first grade, whereas the upper performing group remained unchanged. Post hoc analysis found significant differences among all three performance groups in kindergarten. In first grade, the lower performing group continued to score significantly lower than the middle and upper performing groups, whereas the middle and upper performing groups were not significantly different. Analysis of individual data revealed that 60% of the students were consistent in their performance from kindergarten to first grade.

CONCLUSION. The correlation between kindergarten SCRIPT scores and first-grade SCRIPT scores provides initial evidence that a moderately consistent pattern of handwriting performance exists. Students with low- and middle-ranked handwriting skills show relatively similar improvement over time, whereas change for students ranked high is limited.

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