HANDWRITING IN THE COMPUTER AGE. THE PRODUCTS OF GRAPHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES OF CHILDREN IN LIGHT OF EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES

A. Domagała, U. Mirecka

Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (POLAND)
The article discusses the problem of the assessment handwriting in children aged 7-13 in Poland. Diagnostic tests, devised by the authors and used in the experiments, were described. The investigation procedure took into consideration: drawing letter-like designs on unruled and on ruled pages as well as copying texts on ruled and unruled pages.

The investigation covered 300 children: 50 students at each educational level were studied (grades I–VI respectively), at each level there were groups of even number of boys and girls. The experimental studies resulted in the collection of 1200 samples of products of graphomotor activities.

The assessment of products of graphomotor activities – according to the procedure in the authors’ Chart of Assessment of Handwriting and Letter-like Designs covers six categories:
I. The WRITING LINE (a/ the pressure of the writing instrument, b/ line stability);
II. LETTERS/LETTER-LIKE DESIGNS (a/ the form of letters/letter-like designs, b/ proportions within the letter/ letter-like sign);
III. LETTER IN THE WORDS/ LETTER-LIKE SIGN IN THE DESIGN STRUCTURE (a/ the size and slant of letters in words/signs in letter-like designs, b/ connections of letters in words/letter-like signs in designs);
IV. THE WRITING DOWN OF A TEXT/ LETTER-LIKE DESIGNS (a/ the direction (slant) of handwriting/letter-like designs, b/ the size of handwriting/letter-like designs);
V. VERSE ORGANIZATION (a/ spaces between words/between elements of letter-like designs, b/ maintaining the writing/designs in the rulings);
VI. PAGE ORGANIZATION (a/the position of text/ designs on the page, b/ margins).

The quantitative and qualitative description of the phenomena – the analysis of the empirical material collected during the experimental studies allowed to reach the following findings:
1/ The quality of execution of graphomotor tests in the studied population deteriorated with age: the group scores for grade I-III students were better than the grades for IV-VI grade students;
2/ The scores for the quality of execution of graphomotor skills at each age level were better for girls;
3/ In the studied population at each age level there were considerable individual differences concerning the graphic level of handwriting and letter-like designs;
4/ At the level of products of graphomotor activities the students’ greatest difficulties concerned the level of drawing letter-like signs and letters, their size, the direction of slant and the way of connecting them in a word;
5/ The quality of executing reproductions of letter-like designs and copying of texts was strongly correlated;
6/ The quality of execution of graphomotor tests on sheets without rulings and on ruled sheets was strongly correlated.