Scientific Projects

National Survey on problems with writing motor skills and handwriting


A nationwide inventory of the extent and the reasons for problems with handwriting; calling attention to the problems with handwriting

Method: online questionnaire at www.4teachers.de: questionnaires tailored to the relevant type of school (Sample: 772 primary school teachers and 1230 secondary school teachers from all over Germany)


For some time now, educators, parents and school pupils have reported serious problems associated with the process of learning to write. There was, however, hardly any empirical data on the nature and extent of these problems until now.

For that reason, we scientists from the Schreibmotorik Institut, together with the German Union of Teachers (DL), conducted a survey. This survey, “Problems in handwriting development – extent, causes and possible courses of action”, is the first of its kind in Germany. For the first time, qualified statements can be made on the development of handwriting in schools.


We received the most answers from North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony. Participation was relatively equal across all year groups.

The survey makes one thing clear: problems with handwriting in schools are increasing.

Problem description:

  • a clear negative development in handwriting and the skills required;
  • the problem is becoming more acute in secondary schools;
  • 51 percent of boys and 31 percent of girls have problems with handwriting. Almost two thirds of pupils in secondary schools are not able to write at length without problems.

Effects on general performance at school:
The better a pupil’s handwriting, the better their general school performance tends to be.

Regardless of the type of school, 87 percent of teachers observe deterioration in graphomotor skills. Reasons linked to education policy, and lack of time for practice in particular, are relevant.

Possible courses of action:
Three quarters of primary school teachers, and as many as 61 percent of secondary school teachers call for special motor skills writing courses. Primary school teachers would like more time, more practice resources and training.

“Learning to write by hand is important” or even “very important” – that was the view of 98 per cent of teachers surveyed.

Period: September 2014 - March 2015

Partner: German Teacher's AssociationLogo German Teacher's Association
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