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Spelling tests with no spelling lists

(5 Posts)
Notcontent Mon 15-Jun-15 23:33:21

My dd is in year 4 and this year every week, instead of receiving a list of words they just get given a spelling pattern and are then tested on words that follow that pattern. This works ok for things like e.g. the silent k, because there are not that many words. But this week for example it's words with "en" in them - so that's literally hundreds of possible words. Isn't that setting up children to fail?

I usually help dd to come up with a list of words to learn, and she usually does ok in the test, but it feels really random...

Galena Tue 16-Jun-15 07:51:47

The point is that if children are given a list of words to learn, they learn them for the test and then promptly forget them, and they seldom make the leap into their independent writing. An understanding of how words are made up, and how particular sounds are formed, is far more use. It means that, when reading, if you come across an unfamiliar word, you have more chance of decoding it, and if asked to spell an unfamiliar word, you are equipped with the tools to have a logical try.

NotCitrus Tue 16-Jun-15 08:04:16

Sounds like it's testing understanding of how to spell words, which should be more useful in the longer term? I'd be unhappy if a low score were called 'failing' though - it should be clear that it's about showing whether or not you have mastered that way of spelling that sound, or whatever.

MrsKCastle Tue 16-Jun-15 08:09:42

I think it sounds like a great idea, provided the spelling patterns chosen are sensible. When you say 'en' I presume you mean at the end of words e.g. taken/broken? That would make sense, but it wouldn't if they also included English, encyclopaedia, evergreen which use the same letters but different sound/spelling combinations.

KittyandTeal Tue 16-Jun-15 08:10:37

Not unfair at all, a much better way to learn.

There's been a fair bit if research into the effectiveness of spelling tests. My experience is that lots of them learn the spellings, get them right in the test and then forget to use that knowledge in different situations.

Learning spelling strings is much better.

I imagine they'll be tested on regular words that follow the en rule so as long as they know it and can apply it they'll be fine.

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