ACARA Literacy Progressions And Typing

Springfield Central SS DSC

In 2018 ACARA defined new Achievement Standards within the Literacy Progression as part of the Australian Curriculum. The Standards relate to the Writing Element and specifically the Handwriting and Keyboarding Sub Element – (Previously Handwriting). The new Achievement Standards are HwK1, HwK2, HwK3, HwK4, HwK5, HwK6, HwK7, HwK8.

The progression addresses handwriting and keyboarding skills with increasing speed, accuracy and fluency leading to confidence, proficiency, flexibility and automaticity.

HkW1-HkW8 effectively mandate touch typing skills

For students to attain such fluency, automaticity and accuracy at speed using a keyboard they must be able to touch type. Any lesser skill will see one or the other of these outcomes compromised.

Based on the Australian Curriculum

The new Handwriting and Keyboarding standards embody the principles of the Australian Curriculum. These progressions indicate the minimum standards that Australian Schools should incorporate in their teaching. For Victoria and NSW these progressions indicate the base skill level to be embodied in the relevant State-based curricula and builds on the base of the Australian Curriculum.

As educators we teach handwriting meticulously

For generations handwriting skills have been taught starting in the early grades with a printed alphabet and progressing to speed loops and calligraphy. The skill of handwriting is taught not caught.

Springfield Central SS DSC
Springfield Central SS DSC
ACARA Matrix scaled

But until now we have left keyboarding to chance

It is not possible for students to attain the Keyboarding proficiency required by the new standards without a formal process of teaching. It is not enough to leave it to the student to hunt and peck and adopt the bad keyboarding habits learned on an iPad as a child. Good keyboarding skills are taught not caught.

More information

Literacy Progression – Handwriting and Keyboarding description

HwK1 (Pre School)

  • produces simple handwriting movements
  • experiments with pencils, writing implements or devices
  • writes letters which resemble standard letter formations

HwK2 (Foundation)

  • uses pencils or writing implements appropriately
  • writes or types some letters or words correctly

HwK3 (Foundation)

  • correctly forms most lower-case letters
  • correctly forms some upper-case letters
  • writes or types a few words
  • uses numeral keys

HwK4  (Year 1)

  • correctly forms all letters
  • uses spaces between handwritten words
  • positions letters and words on a line
  • demonstrates keyboarding skills by typing short letter clusters and short common words as single units (er, ing, the, my)
  • types using spaces between words and sentence punctuation


HwK5 (Years 1 and 2)

  • fluently writes clearly formed, unjoined letters
  • writes all letters with consistent size and spacing between words
  • begins to use joined letters
  • maintains legible handwriting throughout a text
  • uses some features of text editing applications
  • recognises and uses keys to show more complex punctuation or symbols

HwK6 (Year 3)

  • writes using joined letters of consistent size
  • slopes writing if appropriate to script
  • begins to develop quick finger action when keying
  • fluently handwrites and types to produce a range of texts

HwK7 (Year 4)

  • writes with a legible, fluent, personal handwriting style
  • uses a range of digital applications to compose and edit
  • self-corrects using appropriate keyboard and screen functions

HwK8 (Years 5 and 6)

  • uses handwriting efficiently in formal and informal situations
  • demonstrates automaticity when using keyboarding and screen functions