Initial psychometric evaluation of the Hartley Knows Writing Shapes Assessment Version 2 with typically developing children between the ages of 4 and 8

Katerina Pavlos, Maria McKenzie, Elizabeth Knightbridge, Helen Bourke-Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Despite advances in technology, handwriting still remains an important part of the school curriculum. Especially during the early years of schooling, handwriting difficulties have been shown to negatively affect academic success. Consequently, occupational therapists rely on sound psychometric tools to assess a child's visual motor abilities and implement appropriate strategies to facilitate their handwriting outcomes. The Hartley Knows Writing Shapes Assessment Version 2 (HKWSA-V2) evaluates knowledge of writing shapes, ability to replicate writing shapes and knowledge of handwriting concepts used in the Hartley Knows Writing Program (HKWP). The current study describes the initial development and psychometric evaluation of the HKWSA-V2. Method: Typically developing children (N = 50) between 4 and 8 years old, completed two visual motor assessments: the HKWSA-V2 and the Beery Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration 6th Ed. (Beery VMI). Guided by the COnsensus-based standards for the Selection of health Measurement INstruments, statistical analysis was conducted using various non-parametric tests to assess the internal consistency, construct, and criterion validity of the HKWSA-V2. Results: The internal consistency of the HKWSA-V2 ranged between adequate and excellent (Cronbach's α = 0.61–0.88). Construct validity as hypothesised, was supported with strong correlations found between groups of children who had and had not been involved in the HKWP. Statistically significant differences were also found in HKWSA-V2 scores based on the child's chronological age (r =.51, p <.01; r =.34, p <.05) and year level (p =.00). Criterion validity was substantiated with moderate to strong correlations found between all HKWSA-V2 scales and subscales and the Beery VMI subscales (ρ = 0.06–0.53). Conclusion: Evaluation of the tool provides promising initial psychometric findings. The tool allows professionals and clinicians to evaluate a child's visual motor abilities according to concepts learnt within the HKWP. Further development of the HKWSA-V2 is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • child development
  • evaluation
  • handwriting
  • motor learning/control
  • occupational therapy research
  • quantitative research

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