Handwriting legibility scale (HLS)

Barnett, A.L. 1, Prunty, M. 2 & Rosenblum, S. 3

  1. Oxford Brookes University, U.K. abarnett@brookes.ac.uk
    Psychology, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 0BP, United Kingdom

  2. Brunel University London, U.K. mellissa.prunty@brunel.ac.uk
    Department of Clinical Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8
    3PH, United Kingdom

  3. University of Haifa, Israel, rosens@research.haifa.ac.il
    The laboratory of Complex Human Activity and Participation (CHAP) Department of Occupational
    Therapy, University of Haifa , Israel, 3498838.
Corresponding author: Anna L. Barnett, abarnett@brookes.ac.uk

Download a copy of the Handwriting Legibility Scale

Barnett, A.L., Prunty, M. & Rosenblum, S. (2018) Development of the Handwriting Legibility Scale
(HLS): a preliminary examination of Reliability and Validity. Research in Developmental Disabilities

This paper describes the work undertaken to develop a new tool, the Handwriting Legibility Scale
(HLS) to help identify poor handwriting in children.

  • The HLS gives an easy-to- use, holistic assessment of handwriting legibility
  • It discriminates well between good and poor handwriting
  • The HLS has potential for use across languages and scripts

Children with a range of different developmental disorders have handwriting difficulties, which can
impact on their ability to perform classroom tasks and to display their knowledge in written tests
and examinations. The HLS is designed to be a quick and easy-to- use assessment for the class
teacher. In this work we have examined its use in identifying handwriting difficulties in children with
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). We anticipate it will also be used with children with
other disorders such as Dyslexia, ADHD, SLI and ASD both in classroom and research settings.

The HLS is easier to apply than other very detailed assessments of handwriting quality, which often
require training and considerable time to score. The HLS provides a more global measure suitable for
classroom use and for use across different languages and scripts. It complements other established
tools of handwriting speed, such as the DASH (Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting).

The HLS is freely available to download and photocopy. The authors plan to develop a manual for
guidance on use of the HLS. In the meantime, please contact the corresponding author with any
comments or queries.