Bad handwriting in year 10(23 Posts)
My DS has just been doing his mocks and has had feedback from teachers that his handwriting is very hard to read. Regardless of whether this feedback is a bit late, given he's now in year 10, I was wondering whether
a) this will be a problem for him and cost him marks in his exams next year and
b) whether it's something we should try and help him with and if so, how.
His writing is not great - he says a lot of his friends have given up on cursive writing now they are at secondary but he actually struggles not to write in a joined up way, as a result it's a scrawl. Trying to change how he writes slows him down which is another issue. And obviously he's not keen to be doing anything which is 'extra' - hard enough to get him keeping up with school work at the moment.
What about a laptop at least for the essay based subjects?
DD used laptop for English, History, and various coursework/controlled assessments MFL etc, but stuck to handwritten for maths and science, and the MFL exams, where less writing is required.
In had this problem coming up to exams - my cursive was illegible to everyone (including me!) While examiners do obviously try their hardest with handwriting, if they can't read it it'll be very hard for them to give it the mark it deserves, particularly if an essay subject. I would try to get him to practise writing non-joined up, but failing that see if he would be able to use a word processor for 'wordy' exams.
I think it's straightforward to use a laptop in exams if it's the student's usual way of working, so ask the school about this now so he can start using a laptop in lessons for extended writing tasks.
Can he touch type? I gather there are a number of online programmes. My DS has hypermobility syndrome and finds writing painful. It's not brilliantly legible either although he has improved. He taught himself to touch type and wouldn't have been able to complete his GCSE exams this summer without typing. He hand wrote maths but for science he typed longer answers and only used the exam paper for tick box questions and diagrams. Other papers were pretty much all typed.
My DS is Y10 and his handwriting has been revolutionised this last year since he decided to give up joint up writing. Not something I would have encouraged myself, but it's definitely helped him. If your DS struggles to not join up, is he actually forming the letters correctly individually?
There are pens especially designed to aid handwriting (can't recall the name, but are prism shaped) I have seen these work wonders.
I Mark GCSE papers, and yes I do struggle with poor handwriting, but we are trained to look for positives, if we really can not read it we send it for further review.
With your DS not normally using a laptop for working a year into the course, you may struggle going this route
Stabilo Easygel pen is the one that helps handwriting. mainly it doesn't drag on the page and the shape is more comfortable so dc can write for longer.
By Year 10, it's hard to make a sustainable improvement to handwriting without a significant reduction in speed.
OP, the best bet for your son would be word processing.
Contact the SENCo to find out the school's policy on this - and whether subject teachers have given feedback on the illegibility issue. (They should have done so).
If it's a goer, spend time over the summer improving his typing accuracy and speed, using one of the many online typing apps.
Try to get him to write non joined up. In terms of getting help it depends whether it's a physical problem or lazyness in forming letters. If the former then a laptop as an eczema provision may be possible for some subjects. However, it is not possible in maths. I spent quite a bit of time helping one of my students in year 11 this year in prep for his exams as he was losing 5-10 marks in an exam due to handwriting this was enough to take him from an a to a b! Fingers crossed when he did his real exam he managed to slow down and write properly so as to not lose marks.
I was told that by year 6, it was too late to try to fix DS's writing problems. Not that its relevant to the OP's son, but when the Y6 told me that, it was the same conversation where the school told me for the first time that his handwriting wasn't good enough.
I lamented my y8 son's handwriting to his English teacher.
She said it is fine as it is legible, and some children with awful writing need a scribe for exams.
Handwriting can be improved. I think it's worth working on- I see children that age quite radically change their handwriting on occasion (not always for the better). I wouldn't bank on being able to type purely because there are increasing restrictions on special arrangements for exams with rules changing with very little notice. By the time he sits A Levels getting permission to type exams could be very difficult. It could influence his exam marks if it is genuinely illegible. Is he confident in spelling? This may be irrelevant but I sometimes see indistinct handwriting in kids who are not confident about spelling things correctly. Working with them on spellings sometimes helps with this.
Thanks so much for this thread. My DS's (twins) in Y6 have awful handwriting. Primary school haven't given them a lot of support. Will research the pens
The only restriction on using a laptop in GcSE or A level is that it should be the pupil's usual way of working.
Is that true Tyto? Doesn't there need to be a SEN need?
<Thinks of all the Y10s she's going to get started on laptops now so they can use them for exams!>
What JCQ say about use of laptops for exams - 'where it is their normal way of working within the centre and is appropriate to their needs.'
Atruth - I'd meet with the SENCO and the exams officer first before you start off any of your Y10'S! They are responsible for recording any arrangements, but more importantly for sorting out the use of laptops (and making sure that they meet JCQ criteria) during the actual exams.
Also seating the children can be an issue for schools, as it's possible to see what's on another pupil's screen when they use a laptop.
So even though it seems like a fairly straightforward arrangement for pupils that need a laptop, it can be a lot of extra work for the exams officer.
DD has been using a laptop on and off since year 8 due to hypermobility. She has told me however, that many of the people in her year use laptops simply because of the legibility of their writing as many teachers complained.
DD however, has been told that she is not allowed to use a laptop for her GCSEs next year unless she begins using one regularly next year - I don't think SEN is an issue, only how often you use a laptop/computer in school
You can use a laptop for special needs. My DS has just completed his GCSE exams using one. He hasn't used one all lessons but did extended writing types of homework on his computer at home. For science GCSE he did some answers on the computer and others on the paper. He has hypermobility syndrome and his wrist hurts if he's writing for more than a few minutes. If he had to write everything he wouldn't complete all the papers.
There's a good selection of different types of writing aids here for anyone who needs improvement in presentation, rather than just speed/quantity of writing. www.thedyslexiashop.co.uk/stationery-for-dyslexics/pens-pencils-and-writing-aids.html
Aren't the rules regarding using a laptop/ netbook in exams that you can only do so if it is your regular mode of working in class? That's what the senco told me regarding DS1 (who has dysgraphia).
There is an enormous difference between the quantity and readability of DS's typed work and his handwritten work. Also, he can't think and write simultaneously, so in English there are two full levels between what he says or types and what he handwrites.
He will not type in class though until several other children are typing too because he would rather get lower marks and be in pain but hide his disability from the others.
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