Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Perceived Competence and Handwriting Performance in Third-Grade Students
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / School-Based Practice / Assessment/Measurement
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Perceived Competence and Handwriting Performance in Third-Grade Students
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911500011.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911500011.

Date Presented 4/16/2015

Although it is crucial to include children in the occupational therapy decision-making process, young children may overestimate actual abilities (Wilson & Trainin, 2007). This topic will advance practice by encouraging therapists to promote developmentally appropriate self-reflection strategies.

SIGNIFICANCE: Goldstand, Gevir, Cermak, Bissell, and Cross (2013) suggested that effective handwriting assessment with children should include self-assessment. However, analyzing the congruence of self-assessment with actual performance is not commonly included as part of the occupational therapy process. The results of this study indicate that there was not a statistically significant positive relationship between third-grade students’ self-perceptions and handwriting performance. The findings influence child-centered practice. The significance of the findings underscore the need for therapists to help children critically analyze their handwriting using appropriate developmental strategies to develop realistic self-appraisal while promoting positive self-efficacy.
INNOVATION: Young children may not be invested in therapy to improve handwriting unless they are involved in the decision (Goldstand et al., 2013). The results of this research challenge occupational therapists to recognize that self-assessment of performance is a complex developmental process involving cognitive and social comparisons. Therapists may need to consider social learning theory and the impact of social comparisons on the development of self-appraisal.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Research question for this study included the following: Is there a positive relationship between third-grade students’ scores on the Children’s Handwriting Evaluation Scale (CHES), speed component, and perceived handwriting speed? Is there a positive relationship between third-grade students’ CHES quality score and perceived quality of handwriting?
BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE: Advocates of a child-centered approach encourage therapists to incorporate the child’s perspective in the assessment and intervention process (Goldstand et al., 2013). However, little information exists regarding the developmental age at which self-appraisal is commensurate with actual performance.
METHOD: In this study, we utilized a correlational research design to explore the relationship between third-grade students’ perceived cursive handwriting competence, via a 13-item survey, and performance on the CHES. Children were recruited for the study via letters of invitation distributed to third-grade students’ parents at a private elementary school in a suburban location in the southeastern United States. Children who had an individualized education plan (IEP) or any known medical diagnosis were excluded from the study. Twenty children, including 9 boys and 11 girls, completed the survey and CHES. The Spearman rho, a nonparametric measure of statistical dependence, was used to examine the relationship between self-perception survey data and performance on the CHES.
RESULTS: The results indicate that a statistically significant positive relationship was not found between self-perceptions of writing speed and actual speed (r = .174, p = .46) or between quality of writing and actual CHES quality performance results (r = .381, p ≤ .10). These results are consistent with the findings of some researchers who have reported that realistic self-appraisal is a developmental process that gradually develops as a result of social experiences and comparisons (Wilson & Trainin, 2007).
LIMITATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Limitations of this study are a small sample size and nonestablished reliability of the survey self-perception tool. The implications are that in addition to traditional handwriting interventions, occupational therapists may need to encourage young children to engage in developmentally appropriate self-reflection using cognitive and social experiences.
Goldstand, S., Gevir, D., Cermak, S. A., Bissell, J., & Cross, K. D. (2013). Here’s how I write: A child’s self-assessment and goal setting tool: Improving handwriting abilities in school-aged children. Framingham, MA: Therapro.
Schwellnus, H., Carnahan, H., Kushki, A., Polatajko, H., Missiuna, C., & Chau, T. (2012). Effect of pencil grasp on the speed and legibility of handwriting in children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, 718–726.
Wilson, K. M., & Trainin, G. (2007). First-grade students’ motivation and achievement for reading, writing, and spelling. Reading Psychology, 28, 257–282.