• Does Paper Presentation Affect Grading: Examining the Possible Educational Repercussions of the Quality of Student Penmanship

      Pomerantz, Francesca; Morris, Kathryn J. (2014-05-17)
      Based upon personal experience, upon being returned a graded, handwritten assignment, teachers will often extend compliments to those students who wrote in neat, legible handwriting, refraining from alluding to the quality of the content during this exchange. With these concepts in mind, the author elected to determine whether or not the presentation of handwritten assignments has any effect on a teacher’s ability to grade objectively, if, perhaps, teachers are allowing their students’ penmanship to sway their interpretation of a paper’s content. In order to discover the validity of these concerns, a thorough literary analysis was conducted with the following questions in mind: Does the quality of one’s penmanship influence grading? What are the evolving conceptions regarding the importance of handwriting and how have they affected the quality of students’ penmanship? How can teachers implement a consistent and effective handwriting education? Should students be encouraged to submit their work in a typed format in the attempt to avoid this possible bias? The results of the study were that, when presented with assignments written in varying degrees of neatness, teachers are allowing factors other than the content of the writing to affect their ability to grade impartially. While this paper supports the need for a consistent and effective handwriting education in order to improve overall handwriting legibility, it also suggests that those schools with the means should encourage all students to submit their work in a typed manner, thus presenting the information uniformly so as to potentially eliminate this bias.