The Keys of Keyboard-Based Writing: Student and Classroom-Level Predictors of Keyboard-Based Writing in Early Primary

Anabela Malpique, Debora Valcan, Deborah Pino Pasternak, Susan Ledger, Mustafa Asil, Timothy Teo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In today’s fast-paced digital world, keyboard-based writing has become a key component of daily communication, with students engaging in keyboarding early in their school trajectories. Nonetheless, there’s a lack of systematic studies investigating individual-level factors impacting keyboard-based writing and relationships with the writing instruction typically provided in primary school settings. Using multilevel modelling the current study examined student-level predictors of keyboard-based writing quality and fluency in Year 2 Australian children (N = 544), including keyboarding automaticity, spelling, reading skills, executive functioning, writing attitudes, gender; and classroom-level (N= 47) variables predicting keyboard-based writing, such as teachers’ preparation and instructional practices for writing. Results revealed that keyboarding automaticity, spelling, word reading, general attitudes toward writing, and gender were uniquely related to compositional quality. Keyboarding automaticity, word reading, and gender were also uniquely related to compositional fluency. Results also showed that female students outperformed their male peers in keyboarding automaticity, compositional quality and fluency, but also on attitudes toward writing and reading comprehension. For classroom-level factors, findings showed time teaching keyboarding positively related to compositional fluency and time teaching handwriting negatively related to compositional quality and fluency. Interactions were also found between gender and time teaching keyboarding, teaching revision and planning strategies, and specific student-level factors. The novel findings from this study suggest that, to support Year 2 students’ keyboard-based writing, attention must be placed on multiple components predicting students’ writing performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102227
Pages (from-to)1-42
Number of pages42
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Early online date26 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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