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Spelling tests in Year One plus?

(12 Posts)
Cortina Wed 09-Sep-09 07:14:30

My son's new school has a policy of no spelling tests at all I think (certainly this is true in Year One where he has just started).

They have told me studies show that they 'don't work'. They do something else to encourage correct spelling, quite what that is I don't know yet as the 'method' hasn't started yet. I think we will get high frequency words coming home etc if they are not yet familiar with these.

I am quite traditional and am finding it tough to see that this isn't just a cop out. Am very behind the times so happy to be convinced otherwise!

Interested in what others think, thanks!

mrz Wed 09-Sep-09 07:44:57

Spelling tests don't work. Even those children who get 10/10 week after week after week rarely spell the words correctly in their independent writing the day after and certainly not after a few weeks. Spelling lists if they are given are for parents (so they are involved or because they like them) not because they benefit children.

bruffin Wed 09-Sep-09 07:48:12

I don't think weekly spellings work.
DS 13 is dyslexic and his spelling is truely awful, but he used to do okay in spelling tests because each week they would be a set of words with the same sounds ie "ought".
He knew every word had "ought" in it so got most of them right, but he never retained any of the words.

Cortina Wed 09-Sep-09 08:18:48

Thanks, I found that they helped me to learn when I was at school?

The only reason I now get words like 'separate' correct - that and because the teacher told us to think of 'apart' meaning separate and this as a cue to stop us spelling it 'seperate' etc. I'd also have thought a lot was alot for much longer I think .

You remember the rules and can picture the word in your mind more clearly after you've been tested? Is there really no place for them in school? Although this wouldn't work for all might for some?

It's almost as if this is less of a priority now as we have spell check etc? Curious to see how else they tackle it as it seems they do in another way.

redskyatnight Wed 09-Sep-09 08:56:53

DS's school don't do spelling tests as apparently some parents get very overcompetitive about them, their children get stressed and no one achieves anything.

They send (5 at them moment, going up to 10) words home each week which you have to practice each day using the say, name, cover, write, check method. They reinforce with teaching/work at school and send the same words back again (mixed in with others) at intervals in the term to ensure that they have "stuck".

stonethecrows Wed 09-Sep-09 11:17:27

To be honest I would be furious if they were having spelling tests in Yr 1 to begin with. Please bear in mind that many of the children will not be reading at all yet (the age gap between winter and summer babies will still be making a huge difference). How bad do you think that's going those children feel who can't read yet to be tested weekly where they have no chance of success? Further up in the school, yes I do think spelling tests are a good idea, but Year 1??

thedolly Wed 09-Sep-09 11:33:58

DS is in year 1 and in a small class of 12 there are 3 'sets' for spellings. These range from rhyming cvc words for the 'new' readers to words like 'clock' and 'flick' for the more established readers.

I agree that 'spellings' do not work for those that struggle with spelling but I think that they probably do enhance the reading and writing skills of those that don't struggle.

There must be another way other than rote learing to help those children who find spelling difficult.

mrz Wed 09-Sep-09 20:47:10

I'd argue that spelling tests aren't helping non strugglers either. If they aren't struggling they should be able to apply their knowledge and skills to write the word without taking it home and learning it parrot fashion for a week.

thedolly Thu 10-Sep-09 09:09:45

Are you assuming mrz that spelling is intuitive and abides by rules - it isn't and doesn't.

There are many words that it is necessary to learn how to spell.

mrz Thu 10-Sep-09 16:40:41

No thedolly as a teacher I know that children can be taught the rules of spelling and if taught correctly can apply what they have been taught very successfully.
There are in fact very few (if any words) words that need to be learnt parrot fashion.

angrypixie Thu 10-Sep-09 16:49:02

Spelling should be taught not caught is the main buzz phrase. It is not a cop out Cortina Children will be taught the rules/exceptions/rhymes/patterns etc just as you describe, but the evidence of them having learned them will be in the assessment of children's writing not in isolation as a test.

Research and first hand experiences show that for most children learning for the test is short term learning and many then fail to apply in independent writing. Have also had instances of children being given words to learn that they don't fully understand the meaning of!

As a parent and a teacher I wholeheartedly support phasing out the 'spelling test'

Cortina Fri 11-Sep-09 00:50:49

Thanks so much, very interesting to read. How things have changed since I was at school!

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