kitchen table math, the sequel: Does the quality of a student’s handwriting affect SAT essay grading?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Does the quality of a student’s handwriting affect SAT essay grading?

After reading chemprof on handwriting, I caught a thread on collegeconfidential that asked, How much does handwriting affect SAT essay grade?

I would say probably yes, because I agree with this comment:

Officially, it's like jgraider says. They're professional graders, handwriting quality is not one of the things being judged, so it has no effect.

Unofficially, essay grading is by its nature subjective. An essay where all the letters are beautiful and flowing will look better than an essay of chicken scratching, whether or not it's officially used as a criterion.


RMD said...

There are numerous studies that suggest "fluency" (i.e., not reading fluency in the academic sense, but ease of decoding information because it's presented more clearly) affects judgment.

Google "how fluency affects judgment" and you'll find tons of studies confirming this observation. Marketers study it to make sure their message is easy to consume, so that their product is more likely to be purchased.

Catherine Johnson said...

although--- do you remember, offhand, whether this translated to teachers thinking an easy-to-read essay was smarter???

I'm thinking it did but I'm not sure...and I seem to remember there were cases where people assumed that a text that was more difficult to read was smarter...

That's the Boston Globe article, right?

Will have to track that down.

Catherine Johnson said...

I'm certain there are studies showing that bad handwriting leads to bad evaluation of the content....but I'm not inclined to find them at the moment!

Catherine Johnson said...

Boston Globe article:

Easy = True
How 'cognitive fluency' shapes what we believe, how we invest, and who will become a supermodel
by Drake Bennett
January 31, 2010