Measuring the tilt and slant of Chinese handwriting in primary school students: A computerized approach

Monica M.Q. Li, Howard Leung, Tim M.H. Li, Cecilia W.P. Li-Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background “Horizontal strokes should be level and vertical strokes should be straight” is a common guideline in the teaching of Chinese handwriting. Measuring deviations in level horizontal and straight vertical strokes in students’ Chinese handwriting is usually assessed manually. However, this task is time-consuming and may have inconsistent outcomes when judged by different people. In this paper, we aim to formulate a method to automatically evaluate the tilt and slant degrees of students’ Chinese handwriting using digital handwriting tablets. Furthermore, we analyze the relationship between the tilt and slant features of students’ Chinese handwriting and other demographic and handwriting features. Methods Five hundred and ninety-one primary school students from grades 1 to 6 were recruited in Hong Kong. Before the assessment, a grid paper was attached to a digital handwriting tablet. The participants were then asked to copy 90 Chinese characters from a template to the grid paper. Their handwriting processes were recorded as two-dimensional points and then analyzed. The tilt and slant of the students’ handwriting were calculated based on the inclination level of their horizontal and vertical strokes. Linear regressions between slant/tilt degree of the manuscripts and other handwriting features were performed. The students’ demographic information was also explored. Results Slant was found to be significantly correlated to Gender (p < 0.001) and tilt×standard deviation of pen pressure (p < 0.001). Tilt was found to be significantly correlated to ground time (p < 0.001), slant (p < 0.001) and slant×special education need (p = 0.021). Conclusions Our results demonstrate the relationship between slant, tilt and Chinese handwriting performance in primary school children. Slant and tilt can be adopted as an indicator in students’ special education need diagnosis, as tilt level in the students’ Chinese handwriting was related to ground time and slant× special education need, while slant is related to tilt×standard deviation of pen pressure and female students. These findings may also inspire ways to increase special education need students’ writing speed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0223485
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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