Students with poor quality handwriting are at a greater risk of losing marks in their exams as the examiner is likely to find some, or perhaps most, of their handwriting illegible.
And for many students, it is not the case that they have no intention of putting the effort into making their handwriting legible for others, but rather that they have a learning difference known as dysgraphia.
Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder, recognised by The Disabled Student’s Allowance for Student Finance England, whereby students are impaired at writing by hand.
Those with dysgraphia will very often have poor visual spacing skills, language processing skills, fine motor skills, memory retrieval, pen/pencil grip and/or writing posture – all factors that contribute to their handwriting being of poor quality.
By identifying and supporting your students in overcoming dysgraphia it can prevent them from losing marks in their exams and may also enable them to qualify for additional support.
At Dysgraphia Help we offer an online dysgraphia test for students (over the age of 8) for £36.86.
When the student has completed the test and a handwriting sample has been sent to us, you will receive a report within 48 hours on whether or not we believe them to have dysgraphia.
If we do believe that dysgraphia is present, you will also receive some supporting information on dysgraphia and some activity materials for the student to work through.
You can find more information about dysgraphia and testing for dysgraphia at: www.dysgraphiahelp.co.uk or alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, it is a fact that most test and exam papers require handwritten answers, and so good handwriting continues to make an impact and helps to deliver extra marks.
But there is more. For learning to write by hand improves literacy, understanding and comprehension. Indeed those who have been taught and encouraged to write by hand have been shown to find deciphering hard-to-read messages easier than those who have not.
Other studies show a positive link between hand-eye coordination and whether a child has been taught to write with a form of cursive handwriting.
Most surprisingly, it is now being suggested in academic studies that whether the individual uses the pen or the keyboard to write even affects the way the individual thinks.
One research paper suggests that university students who use pen and paper to make notes during lectures do better than those who make notes on a laptop.
In some ways we should not be too surprised by some of these findings, for handwriting requires a greater level of hand-eye coordination than typing on a keyboard, and thus, as well as helping with exam scores, good handwriting gives students the chance to develop their essential fine motor skills.
But many young people today are brought up in homes where handwriting is limited to little more than the production of shopping lists – and indeed many people now type these into their mobile phones.
It is for all of these reasons that Multi-Sensory Learning produced the Handwriting Rescue Scheme for fully cursive handwriting.
The scheme, which is available as a photocopiable program supplied on CD or as printed sheets, contains over 300 structured exercises designed to establish complete cursive letter formation.
And there is a particular bonus here, for tests have shown that the use of such material encourages the development of an automatic response to frequently used spelling choices. In other words, by practising their handwriting pupils also learn their spellings.
You can order The Handwriting Rescue Scheme in any of these ways: