Measures and References: Foundational Writing Skills

Return to Foundational Writing Skills factor page.


Numerous measures exist to gain a full picture of a student's learning strengths and challenges. Following are examples of measures used to assess this Learner Factor. These measures should be administered and interpreted by experienced professionals.

The Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH) (Barnett & Henderson, 2007): Assesses handwriting speed using five different subtests in children nine to 16 years and 11 months old

The Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement (Schrank et al., 2014): Contains subtests that assess knowledge of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation for individuals between two and 80+ years old


Barnett, A., Henderson, S., Scheib, B., & Schulz, J. (2007). The Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH). Manual. Pearson Education.

Beery, K. E., Buktenica, N. A., & Beery, N. A. (2010). The Beery-Buktenica developmental test of visual-motor integration: Administration, scoring, and teaching manual (6th ed.). Minneapolis, MN: NSC Pearson.

Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Cook, C. R., & Nagy, W. (2017). Relationships of attention and executive functions to oral language, reading, and writing skills and systems in middle childhood and early adolescence. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50(4), 434-449.

Best, J. R., Miller, P. H., & Naglieri, J. A. (2011). Relations between executive function and academic achievement from ages 5 to 17 in a large, representative national sample. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(4), 327-336.

Delis, D., Kaplan, E., & Kramer, J. (2003). Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.

Drijbooms, E., Groen, M. A., & Verhoeven, L. (2015). The contribution of executive functions to narrative writing in fourth grade children. Reading and Writing, 28, 989-1011.

Dunn, L. M., The ́riault-Whalen, C. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1993). Echelle de vocabulaire en images Peabody. Adaptation fran ̧caise du Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Revised. Toronto: PsyCan.

Dunn, L., & Dunn, L. (1981). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.

Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, D. M. (2005). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III-NL. Nederlandse versie Liesbeth Schlichting. Handleiding. Amsterdam: Harcourt Test Publishers.

Ecalle, J. (2006). Time ́3. Test d'identification de mots e ́crits pour enfants de 7 a`15 ans [Written word recognition test for children from 7 to 15 y.o]. Paris: Mot-`a-Mot.

Elliot, C.D., Smith, P., & McCulloch, K. (1996). British Ability Scales (2nd ed.). Windsor, UK: NFER Nelson.

Floyd, R. G., McGrew, K. S., & Evans, J. J. (2008). The relative contributions of the Cattell‐Horn‐Carroll cognitive abilities in explaining writing achievement during childhood and adolescence. Psychology in the Schools, 45(2), 132-144.

Frederickson N., Frith U. & Reason R. (1997) Phonological Assessment Battery. NFER Nelson, London, UK.

Gardner, M. F. (1982). Test of Visual Perceptual Skills. Seattle, WA: Special Child Publications.

Geelhoed, J. W., & Reitsma, P. (1999). PI-dictee. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.

Gordon, M. (1991). Instruction manual for the Gordon Diagnostic System, model III-R. DeWitt, New York: Gordon Systems, Inc.

Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Guy, S. C., & Kenworthy, L. (2000). Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function: BRIEF. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Graham, S., & Santangelo, T. (2014). Does spelling instruction make students better spellers, readers, and writers? A meta-analytic review. Reading and Writing, 27(9), 1703-1743.

Hooper, S. R., Wakely, M. B., De Kruif, R. E., & Swartz, C. W. (2006). Aptitude-treatment interactions revisited: Effect of metacognitive intervention on subtypes of written expression in elementary school students. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), 217-241.

Karlsen, B., & Gardner, E. (1995). Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test (4th ed.): Brown level (Grades 6.5 to 8.9). San Antonio, TX: Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement.

Karlsen, B., & Gardner, E. (1996). Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test (4th ed.): Purple level (Grades 4.5 to 6.5). San Antonio, TX: Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement.

Karlsdottir, R., & Stefansson, T. (2002). Problems in developing functional handwriting. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 94, 623-662.

May, P. (2002). _HSP 1-9: Diagnose orthografischer Kompetenz - Handbuch _[HSP 1-9: Analysis of orthographic ability - Manual]. Hamburg, Germany: Verlag für pädagogische Medien.

Medwell, J., & Wray, D. (2014). Handwriting automaticity: the search for performance thresholds. Language and Education, 28(1), 34-51.

Nagy, W., Berninger, V. W., & Abbott, R. D. (2006). Contributions of morphology beyond phonology to literacy outcomes of upper elementary and middle-school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 134-147.

Nagy, W., Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Vaughan, K., & Vermeulen, K. (2003). Relationship of morphology and other language skills to literacy skills in at-risk second-grade readers and at-risk fourth-grade writers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 730-742.

Park, J., Lombardino, L. J., & Ritter, M. (2013). Phonology matters: A comprehensive investigation of reading and spelling skills of school-age children with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss. American Annals of the Deaf, 158(1), 20-40.

Puranik, C. S., & Lonigan, C. J. (2011). From scribbles to scrabble: Preschool children's developing knowledge of written language. Reading and Writing, 24(5), 567-589.

Puranik, C. S., & Lonigan, C. J. (2014). Emergent writing in preschoolers: Preliminary evidence for a theoretical framework. Reading Research Quarterly, 49(4), 453-467.

Savage, R. S., Frederickson, N., Goodwin, R., Patni, U., Smith, N., & Tuersley, L. (2005). Relationships among rapid digit naming, phonological processing, motor automaticity, and speech perception in poor, average, and good readers and spellers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(1), 12-28

Schrank, F. A., McGrew, K. S., Mather, N., Wendling, B. J., & LaForte, E. M. (2014). Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement: Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Abilities. Riverside Publishing Company.

Semel, E. M., Wiig, E. H., & Secord, W. A. (1995). Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (3rd ed.). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.

Senechal, M., Hill, S., & Malette, M. (2018). Individual differences in grade 4 children's written compositions: The role of online planning and revising, oral storytelling, and reading for pleasure. Cognitive Development, 45, 92-104.

Tseng, M. H., & Chow, S. M. (2000). Perceptual-motor function of school-age children with slow handwriting speed. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 54(1), 83-88.

Van der Niet, A. G., Hartman, E., Smith, J., & Visscher, C. (2014). Modeling relationships between physical fitness, executive functioning, and academic achievement in primary school children. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(4), 319-325.

Van Waelvelde, H., De Mey, B., & Smits-Engelsman, B. C. M. (2008). Handleiding SOS. Systematische opsporing van schrijfmotorische problemen. Ghent: Revalidatiewetenschappen en Kinesitherapie Gent.

Vought J.K., Dean R.S. (2011) Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities. In: Goldstein S., Naglieri J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA.

Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J. K., & Rashotte, C. A. (1999). Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing: CTOPP. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) manual. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.

Wicki, W., Hurschler Lichtsteiner, S., Saxer Geiger, A., & Muller, M. (2014). Handwriting fluency in children: Impact and correlates. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 73(2), 87-96.

Williams, G. J., & Larkin, R. F. (2013). Narrative writing, reading and cognitive processes in middle childhood: What are the links?. Learning and Individual Differences, 28, 142-150.

Wood, C., Jackson, E., Hart, L., Plester, B., & Wilde, L. (2011). The effect of text messaging on 9‐and 10‐year‐old children's reading, spelling and phonological processing skills. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(1), 28-36.