Measuring and Assessing Typing Skills in Writing Research


  • Luuk Van Waes
  • Mariëlle Leijten
  • Jens Roeser
  • Thierry Olive
  • Joachim Grabowski



copy task, typing skills, writing processes, writing fluency, transcription processes, motor skills


In keyboard writing, typing skills are considered an important prerequisite of proficient text production. We describe the design, implementation, and application of a standardized copy-typing task in order to measure and assess individual typing fluency. A test-retest analysis indicates the instrument’s reliability.

While the task has been developed across eleven different languages and the related keyboard layouts, we here refer to a corpus of Dutch copy tasks (N = 1682). Analyses show that copying speed non-linearly varies with age. Bayesian analyses reveal differences in the typing performance and the underlying distributions of inter-key intervals between the different task components (e.g., lexical vs. non-lexical materials; high-frequent vs. low-frequent bigrams).

Based on these findings it is strongly recommended to include copy-task measures in the analysis of keystroke logging data in writing studies. This supports a better comparability and interpretability of keystroke data from more complex or communicatively-embedded writing tasks across individuals. Further potential applications of the copy task for writing research are explained and discussed.



How to Cite

Van Waes, L., Leijten, M., Roeser, J., Olive, T., & Grabowski, J. (2021). Measuring and Assessing Typing Skills in Writing Research. Journal of Writing Research, 13(1), 107–153.




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