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spelling tests and general moan

(41 Posts)
Bart Tue 25-May-04 16:36:42

My y1 son has just had the results of his 160 word spelling test. He got 126 correct. His teacher has given no indication of which he got wrong but I suspect that some of the 34 errors will have been due to backwards letters or big flicks on the end of letters making them look like other letters. All the children are to take the test again on June 21st. I am really sad at the prospect of more weeks learning these words.

Does anyone else have to do this?


I`ve written a note asking his teacher to tell me what the errors are and if any are due to backwards letters etc. Is this cheeky of me or reasonable?

hmb Tue 25-May-04 16:42:12

I think that it sounds reasonable, i'm assuming that you haven't seen the test yourself.

Dd (aged 7 so in y2) gets penalised for backwards letters.

Sonnet Tue 25-May-04 16:42:37

reasonable I'd say!. You don't want to go over learning spellings when all the error was was a backwards d or b etc..

Bart Tue 25-May-04 17:03:45

if by seeing the test hmb, you mean what my son wrote, I havent. We did have the list of 160 words to learn/revise with and today the same list has come home with 126/160 retest on June 21st written on the top. The little chap we`ve brought home for tea has got 125/160 retest on June 21st, on his too. No explanation/validation.
Do you reckon 126 is good? What are your childrens schools up to?

coppertop Tue 25-May-04 17:34:39

My ds's aren't at school yet but it seems perfectly reasonable to me to ask what the mistakes were. How else are you going to know which areas he needs to concentrate on - ie spellings or handwriting?

hmb Tue 25-May-04 17:37:20

We don't go in for mega tests with dd. She gets 10 a week, much more managable, with a bigger test at the end of the half term. There is no extra coaching as it is a test of what they have learned..

Piffleoffagus Tue 25-May-04 17:40:40

I've never done a huge coaching session either just the basic weekly ones and thats it. He still gets one or two wrong usually as he misheard the word and he is now yr5

BlossomHill Tue 25-May-04 21:10:08

My ds, also in year 1, has weekly spelling tests and on Friday (the day of the test) comes out with the sheet with the test result, showing the ones ds got right and wrong. We receive the words that ds needs to learn on the monday and then practise until friday.

SofiaAmes Tue 25-May-04 23:32:21

And even if all of them are spelling mistakes, surely you would want to know what types of mistakes he is making (ei vs. ie or runing vs. running, etc. etc.). I'm surprised that the teacher didn't send the test home. Wouldn't that be normal practice?

fee77 Wed 26-May-04 00:18:15

As a former teacher, i think that is awful. I used to do huge spelling tests with mine, but only to get a rough idea of what they know, or don't. And these were one off jobbies - no swotting before. I see no point in making you son go through more weeks of learning these words, he should concentrate on the ones he doesn't know. Backward letters are tricky, but at such a young age i would accept them, and give him extra work on practising individual letters.

robinw Wed 26-May-04 06:40:21

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tigermoth Wed 26-May-04 07:12:51

goodness, I am amazed this is work for a year 1. Same as Robin's dd, my 10 year old gets 10 spellings a week to learn. He's never had to learn huge lists. If they have had big spelling tests ( can't remember this ever happening, but my son might not have told me) it's always been a one off internal test - no retesting and revising at home.

His year 5 teacher actually told me she gets the children to practice writing the spellings at school. She realises some children do not have much home support, so will be disadvantaged when it comes to test time. She wants to give all of them all a good chance of getting the answers right.

charliecat Wed 26-May-04 07:13:17

My dd is in year one and they havent even started teaching them to spell yet, I was anoyed at parents evening when I noticed they were crossing out her worng spellings...I thought they had a bloody check since they werent teaching her the correct way to spell so any effort she did make didnt deserve to be crossed out IYKWIM.
160 words sounds way too many. Blocks of 10 would be better.

nmd Wed 26-May-04 10:17:45

Sounds ridiculous! My y1 dd1 gets 8-12 a week to learn, and gets them sent home again for the following week if she got too many wrong. She couldn't possibly work though a list like that and I can't imagine the child who could at that age. Not at all unreasonable of you.

LIZS Wed 26-May-04 10:18:18

Thank goodness for that Charliecat, big sigh of relief form here - this thread was really starting to get me paranoid. ds is 6, not in the UK system at the moment and if he can spell 20 words correctly I'd be surprised although he reads pretty well. It is likely we will come back to UK next summer and I fear he is in for a rude awakening unless the International school he attends step up the pace significantly in the meantime.

As a matter of interest Bart, are the 160 words those on National Curriculum list for Year One ? At this age I don't think it is necessary for them to spell correctly all the time but more important to be able to express their thoughts well.

Soapbox Wed 26-May-04 10:27:21

Hmmm - just to provide an alternative experience of Year 1, my DD's spellings for this week are fight, sight, light, fright, frightening, lightning, might, night, tight!

She knows all of them already except for frightening and lightning which I don't expect she will get right in her test which is today.

I was a bit surprised to say the least at how difficult her spelling tests are.

Bart Wed 26-May-04 13:05:25

The 160 words are the 160 most frequently used words in the literacy strategy. Some of them are very easy like an and and but others like sister, brother and said are quite tricky. The list also includes there and their and where and were plus to too and two.

Thanks for all your replies, they give moral support but serve to make me more cross with his teacher/school. Not sure what to do next.

I sent a letter in today saying I was dismayed at the prospect of a retest on June 21st, and asked her to tell me the words that ds got wrong.

marbeth Wed 26-May-04 19:33:56

HI Bart

In my son's year 1 class they get 6 spellings a week of the high frequency words.There were 45 high frequency words for reception like am and the, which the class got tested on this year.However the remainder of the 160 high frequency words are to be learnt over year 1 and two.At the end of year two children would be expected to know all the words.

Yorkiegirl Wed 26-May-04 22:05:50

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robinw Thu 27-May-04 05:58:10

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robinw Thu 27-May-04 05:59:02

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Bart Thu 27-May-04 08:29:45

She sent home ds test papers yesterday. I went through them so now know exactly how he did (I even found she had tested 4 words twice but left 4 out). I have to send the test papers back in today. The teacher didn`t speak to me at all, just put the stuff in ds bag - bit cold really.

victoriapeckham Thu 27-May-04 10:00:14

My y3 son is given 10 words a week. He must look up in the dictionary and write down the definitions, then he s tested on the words at end of week.

But get this, one of words was spelt wrong by the teacher. It was "heifty". Did teacher mean "hefty" or, since they were doing exceptions to i before e principle, "heifer"?

Frankly I was pretty alarmed that someone teaching my child is such a bad speller. (I'd noticed before she d corrected words on my son's essay which I knew were right). So what do I do? I am wondering whether she will read out word "heifty" tomorrow when he does test. I made him write down definition for word "heifer". I ve a feeling my son, or someone else in class, will tell her "heifty" is not a word!

Bart Thu 27-May-04 11:21:00

I spoke to the teacher this morning to return ds test papers and ask about his key word test (they also get tested to check if they can read the 160 words when they are presented quickly on flash cards). As I was leaving she said that "if I didin`t feel ds was up to the 160 word test, if I thought that it was too much for him, he could just have a 104 word test (ie drop Y2 words)".

I dont want to make DS odd man out. It isnt the point who can or can`t cope. I question if any 5/6 y.o should be asked to cope. Ds is quite able and would see being singled out as a reflection on his performance.

I`m a bit cross now and am trying to think of what to say when I collect DS at 3 o`clock.

Any advice would be welcome.

LIZS Thu 27-May-04 11:44:23

I'd be cross too. Shouldn't the "test" relate primarily to the y1 and R words with the year 2's being introduced into classroom work gradually over the rest of the term and into the next year. I'm afraid I do not see the logic behind all this pressure on kids 6 or younger except to try to boost the SAT results which are still a year away. I think 160 words being tested at once is overwhelming and demotivating for any kids who may struggle to meet the Year 1 targets.

Hope you manage to resolve this happily.

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