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Can vocational subjects, such as catering, improve manual dexterity?

Principal focus of the project

This project focused on analysing results from an exercise using the dexterity subtest from the DASH handwriting assessment as a measurement of manual dexterity in catering learners, which is recognised as a key skill in catering. This was backed up with questionnaires for the learners to assess how they felt their manual dexterity had developed over the duration of the course. The results of these tests were statistically analysed in order to provide evidence-based conclusions. In particular, the project looked for improved results in accuracy, which is important in catering presentation.

Areas of learning
What is this about and what were the main findings?

The project concluded that there was a small, but measurable improvement in both accuracy and speed of manual dexterity, for both groups with and without dyspraxia. The researcher notes that while the test results were in a two-dimensional context, the practical skills used in catering are in a three-dimensional context (e.g. use of a knife) and do not necessarily reflect an improvement in the latter, although both learners and tutors noted a perceived improvement in both.

Number of participants who worked with the project
Name(s) of authors

Heather McGouran - Wirral Metropolitan College

Name of associate programmes



A research report that explores the effects of the skills required for catering on manual dexterity in learners, including those with dyspraxia.

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