Should I count spelling on vocabulary quizzes?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bwh785, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. bwh785

    bwh785 New Member

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    Dec 20, 2010

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm in my third year of teaching, and am teaching 8th grade literature. Each week, students receive vocabulary words that are pulled from the text(s) that we're reading. The English teacher on my team uses the same words as "spelling" words---each Friday they are quizzed on their ability to correctly spell the words.

    On the vocabulary quiz I give them, there is no word bank...my question is whether or not I should be counting spelling (I've been taking 1 point off if the word is spelled wrong.)

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 20, 2010

    I count spelling on my vocab quizzes.
     
  4. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I don't as long as I know what they mean. I used to, but then I realized that wasn't really what I was trying to assess with that particular quiz.
     
  5. bwh785

    bwh785 New Member

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    That's what one of my co-workers recommended...however, I don't know if I really feel comfortable awarding full credit to a student who butchers the spelling of the word. How are they going to effectively use the word in their writing if it's misspelled so badly that it's unintelligible?
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I would, but I would also make it very clear to the students that spelling counts.
     
  7. cjw4ua

    cjw4ua Rookie

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    There is nothing wrong with counting spelling on vocabulary quizzes as long as you make that clear when you give the kids the list.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I agree. Make your expectations clear and you can count it if you want.
     
  9. Couldntbhappier

    Couldntbhappier Rookie

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    I wouldn't. They are already being tested on the spelling by their English teacher. Your test is a vocabulary test - not a spelling test.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Getting the spelling wrong can affect knowledge of the vocab, though.

    Advice is not the same as advise. Is that a spelling issue or a vocab issue? What about:

    • Forebear/forbear
    • Pour/pore
    • Aloud/allowed
    • Climactic/climatic
    • Prescribe/proscribe
     
  11. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    I am getting papers with "there" used in place of "their" or "they're". It amazes me how many students spell my science vocabulary incorrectly, when it appears elsewhere on their quizzes.

    Spelling is an important part of effective communication. I would take some credit off for misspelled vocabulary. Besides, if these were spelling words in another class, there should be no issue about students NOT knowing how to spell these words.
     
  12. Couldntbhappier

    Couldntbhappier Rookie

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    In those cases - if I were grading - the entire answer would be counted wrong, not just the spelling.

    If the misspelling did not change the meaning of the word, I would not take off points.

    Personally? I would combine the two tests and make sure the students were aware that both spelling AND vocabulary would be graded on the quiz.
     
  13. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I agree that spelling and grammar is important. However, I've seen this taken way to far. My son's English teacher would take one point off for each mistake. I'm sorry that's ridiculous. She would do it on timed quizzes/tests as well as papers. Often times when it was not vocabulary.
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Our English teacher takes off 2 points for every grammar mistake...before she ever reads for content...don't get me started.

    I would say yes and no. There are some quizzes where I make it crystal clear that spelling will be counted, and of course if the words appear anywhere on the paper or in the room, then yes, spelling counts.

    But there are other times when I just don't care about spelling. They know that up front though, and they know it better be close /readable.
     
  15. jennyd

    jennyd Companion

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    My kids know that if the word is on the paper (particularly in the question!) it must be spelled correctly, or I will take a point off. If they misspell the same word more than once, I usually only take off for the first one, but circle the others.

    If it's a word they should know (i.e. their/there) I will probably take a point for that as well. I also require short answer questions to be answered in complete sentences (part of the directions on every quiz/test I give) and students will not receive full credit if they do otherwise. Just because they're in Science doesn't mean the rules of spelling and grammar go out the window. They need to be able to communicate in all their subjects.

    I do agree with a previous poster, though. Unless you've told them you'll be grading them on spelling at some point, then you shouldn't take points off. I make a big deal at the beginning of the year, and then give periodic reminders.
     
  16. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I always count off for misspellings on any vocabulary work. One letter can change the meaning of a word. Consider the answer 'barley' when the correct answer is 'barely'. One is a grain, the other a synonym for 'hardly' (and the correct answer in this case.) Spelling always counts.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    What are you assessing? Their spelling or vocab, or both? I just target whatever I am truly assessing.
     
  18. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    My instructions very clearly state that spelling counts on vocabulary tests. I take off half credit for words not spelled correctly.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I would award an incorrectly spelled term on a vocabulary assessment full credit...but then have the student make the correction.
     
  20. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Absolutely grade their spelling. I've been teaching mostly 9th grade for about 2 years now. At least half have serious spelling problems. You will be doing your students a HUGE favor if you hold them accountable for spelling. The fact that their other teacher also grades the lists according to spelling is a bonus because (theoretically) they will be studying twice as much.

    The only caveat would be that they should be given some chances to practice and learn the spelling throughout the week.

    The kids I teach often can't even use spell-check because their spelling is so bad. Please teach your students how to spell :)
     
  21. tortega

    tortega Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2010

    I am currently working on a research project on spelling instruction. According to the research I have been reading, no, students should not be required to spell vocabulary words correctly. Spelling is a developmental process. Students should be required to spell correctly in their writing only the words they have mastered. Also, students should be able to read and use a word for a significant amount of time before being required to spell it correctly. I know it is the other teacher that is picking the spelling words, but it would be more beneficial to the students if the words were chosen from a high frequency list. About 1000 words constitute 90% of everyday writing.

    My suggestion for you is to provide your students with a list of must spell words (high frequency words they should be accountable for) Then provide a word wall for terms and vocabulary you are using in class. Hold them accountable in their classroom writing for both lists, but on vocabulary quizzes don't mark they off for spelling unless you provide a word bank.
     
  22. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I've seen teachers and administrators mix up there/their/they're and your/you're. It really bugs me! :eek:hmy:
     
  23. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    An amusing story: I was having lots of problems dragging my 10th graders (kicking and screaming) through Julius Caesar. After tiring of their complaints about how terribly difficult it was, I told them I would give them a short quiz on Acts I-II-III, which I intentionally designed to be absurdly easy, and on the day before the quiz, I wrote out the five quiz questions on the board, and spent about a half-hour going over the answers.

    The third of the five questions asked, "Who is killed in Act III of the play, Julius Caesar?" (Yes, the name of the play was included in the question.) In the review/preview, I repeatedly stressed that the answer to the question should be "Julius Caesar" or "Caesar," but I emphasized that the name "Caesar" had to be spelled correctly. We had read through Act III, and we'd watched two movie versions of the scene, and I'd also (nervously) had a group of students from each class "block" and act out the scene.

    Not only did I explain the answer ("Julius Caesar") multiple times on the day before the quiz, but I also explained it again just before handing out the quiz. The name "Julius Caesar" appeared on the whiteboard AND multiple times on the quiz page, and the name was included in the question.

    Out of about 100 students who took the quiz, about 40% didn't get credit for their answers on the quiz; about half of these lost credit because they didn't spell the name correctly, while the other half gave another answer or left it blank.

    That was the lowest point in my learning curve, as I learned that no matter how difficult or easy I designed my material, the same students would generally earn the same grades.
     
  24. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    On a related note, I've recently been scouring through thousands of literature-themed lesson-plan resources, and I've been shocked at the huge number of spelling and grammar mistakes in materials provided by publishers. One publisher's catalog has spelling errors in more than 10% of its product titles!

    I can easily forgive mistakes in materials shared freely by working teachers, but when did for-profit publishers become so reckless?

    (Less surprising, but also annoying, are the abbreviations and other "title variations" used in describing works, and lots of ambiguity -- for example, does the "Invisible Man Novel Study" cover Ellison's novel or Wells'?)
     

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