Previous studies have well documented that oldest students in a given school class typically have better academic performance than their younger mates. However, there are many phenomena regarding the effects of relative age on academic performance of school students that must be considered. Because of its importance in academic performance of primary school children, handwriting would be of interest. The purpose of the present study was to explore the effects of relative age on handwriting of second grade students in primary school with considering the role of visual-motor integration as a possible underlying mechanism.
Materials and Methods: The present study used a descriptive-correlational approach. Based on the guidelines of Krejcie & Morgan, four hundred boys (100 boys from each year-season) in second grade from four regular national primary schools in Gorgan, Iran, in 2019 were selected by a cluster random sampling method and asked to perform a standard handwriting tool and visual motor integration test. Legibility and speed of handwriting were measured to assess handwriting quality.
Results: Means of age of children who were born in fall, winter, spring, and summer were 94.99, 92.12, 89.04, and 85.88 months, respectively. Results demonstrated that older children in comparison to younger children had significantly better handwriting legibility in both copying and dictation, besides, they copied the text faster (p <0.05). Furthermore, older children compared with younger children had significantly higher scores in visual-motor integration (p <0.05).
Based on these results, it seems that relative age affects handwriting performance of children. Furthermore, visual-motor integration might act as a possible underlying mechanism for the effects of relative age on handwriting performance.