PURPOSE. To determine whether there is a correlation between handwriting and keyboarding speed and accuracy, and whether handwriting and keyboarding share common underlying components.

METHODS. Sixty-three typically developing 5th-grade students attended a series of 15 keyboarding lessons for a total of 5 hours. Prior to the lessons, cognitive, sensory, and motor skills related to handwriting were evaluated. Prior to and following the lessons keyboarding and handwriting accuracy and speed were also tested. Correlations were employed to examine relationships between handwriting and keyboarding skills and multiple regression analyses were used to examine the contribution of performance components to handwriting and keyboarding performance.

RESULTS. Following keyboarding instruction, a significant correlation was found between handwriting and keyboarding speed, but not in accuracy of these tasks. Similarly, some of the specific tests measuring tactile and oculo-motor functions were found to be related to both handwriting and keyboarding speed, yet accuracy of these tasks did not share common underlying components.

CONCLUSIONS. It appears that handwriting and keyboarding accuracy may entail different skills, suggesting that keyboarding may be a potential alternative writing tool for students with handwriting difficulties. It also appears that when students write slowly, handwriting speed should be considered prior to recommending keyboarding for these students. Additional research is required to further support these findings.

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