Importance: Handwriting legibility and speed assessments have a critical role in identifying and evaluating handwriting problems, which are common among children.
Objective: The objective was to evaluate the psychometric properties and clinical utility of handwriting assessments for children ages 3 to 16 yr.
Data Sources: A systematic review was conducted in CINAHL, PubMed (MEDLINE), Scopus, and education databases, with no time limits. The search strategy included a combination of the following keywords: handwriting, write, children, assessment, and validity. The exclusion criteria were assessment tools that were electronic, that focused on cognitive components of handwriting, or that only evaluated alphabets other than Latin.
Study Selection and Data Collection: The systematic review was carried out on the basis of the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) checklist and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) recommendations. The protocol was registered in the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO).
Findings: The 14 included instruments had a total sample of 4,987 children. Internal consistency ranged from moderate (.73; Writing Readiness Inventory Tool in Context) to high (.98; Letter Writing). The interexaminer reliability values of the 11 direct assessment instruments ranged from .77 (Systematic Screening for Handwriting Difficulties) to 1.00 (Handwriting Speed Test).
Conclusions and Relevance: In this systematic review, existing tools were evaluated by clinical utility and the quality of psychometric properties. Direct assessments showed good psychometric properties. Indirect and self-assessment tools demonstrated poor psychometric properties. Further research on screening tools and tools in other languages is needed.
What This Article Adds: Specific learning disorders (e.g., dysgraphia) negatively affect academic learning and, when prolonged in time, self-concept. However, handwriting legibility and speed assessments could be used to identify and evaluate these learning disorders if an early referral to occupational therapy is carried out.