Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Tanya L. Eckert


gender, handwriting, intervention response, performance feedback, writing fluency, written expression

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Students at all grade levels in the United States are experiencing significant difficulties in the area of written expression (Salahu-Din, Persky, & Miller, 2008; U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Although performance feedback is an effective evidence-based intervention for improving the writing fluency of elementary-aged students, approximately one-third do not exhibit fluency growth (Eckert et al. 2006, 2008). The transcription skill of handwriting is a prerequisite of skilled writing (Berninger et al., 2002) and interventions to improve handwriting have concurrent positive effects on writing fluency (Berninger et al., 1997; Graham et al., 2000). Transcription skills influence the writing fluency of younger students (Graham et al., 1997; Limpo & Alves, 2013). Additionally gender influences writing fluency, with female students outperforming male students on measures of both handwriting and writing fluency (Malecki & Jewell, 2003; Olinghouse 2008). The goal of the proposed study was to determine whether third-grade students’ (n = 74) transcriptional skills and gender predicted their writing fluency growth in response to a performance feedback intervention. As hypothesized, handwriting skill accounted for some variance in writing fluency growth; however, gender did not. Students who did not respond to the intervention exhibited lower baseline writing fluency and were more likely to be male. Considerations for instruction in basic writing skills and improving the effectiveness of writing interventions are discussed.


Open Access