Spelling tests or not?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by aThriftyTeacher, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. aThriftyTeacher

    aThriftyTeacher Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2010

    Hi...I was toying with the idea of not having spelling tests this year. Does anyone else not do them? I have always felt that the kiddos who get 100% always get 100% and the ones that fail always fail...and then you always have the kiddos that don't know the words but are good memorizers and then they've forgotten them by the next week. What's everyone's take on this? Are there better ways or assessments that you like as a teacher? Thanks!
     
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  3. 5throx

    5throx Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2010

    There's a teacher on my team who differentiates her spelling tests. She gives the high spellers the regular words, and then comes up with words similar to the regular words for the middle and and even easier list for the low group. But we're required at the school and district level to give spelling tests.
     
  4. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I really don't believe that high are always high and low are always low. I have a phonics center that addresses the weekly spelling words as well as homework. I've seen kids score 10% on the pre test and then get 80% on a post test. I will always do spelling tests and parents expect it. I feel it places priority on spelling correctly. Not only that but our spelling words use the phonics rule of the week. Depending on the student, I may just focus on the phonics rule and can they place it correctly in the word (i.e. beginning, middle or end)
     
  5. k1m

    k1m Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I stopped doing weekly spelling tests this year. I was struggling to see the purpose and benefit and to justify the time it took.
    What I do now is once every term (we have four 10-week terms) I give a spelling test that consists of 100 words ranging from simple CVCs eg 'sat', to more complex words eg 'hydraulic'.
    I monitor the kids as they do this and when they have gotten 10 words in a row wrong they stop and read while the rest go on.

    This test actually gives me a reading age based on their result, so I have that as well as their score to compare every ten weeks. There is always some improvement for every child, and they very much enjoy seeing their results this way.
    I've found this is more manageable than a weekly test and gives me a better overview of their development. If I want more info on their skills I can just read through their book and analyse their errors.
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 8, 2010

    If it wasn't required at my school-I wouldn't do them. I agree with you about high scoring high every week and the ones who can't do it, fail every week.

    I'll often throw in old words-not counting toward their grade but just for me to see-and they don't remember. I do a lot of activities with them during the week too, it's not like I just pass them out and say study them. I think it's an antiquated part of education-something people do just because they've always done it.
     
  7. ms. yi

    ms. yi Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I just responded to a similar topic. I don't give tests but I do teach spelling. I had a parent freak out though and go to administration when she heard me say I didn't give traditional spelling tests at parent orientation. Once she heard that she tuned everything else out. Anyway, here's an article I wrote about my views on spelling: http://msyisclass.com/curriculum.htm
    You have to click on the spelling link on the left to see it.
     
  8. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I totally agree. I always look to see if children can spell by looking at what they're actually writing.
     
  9. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I agree! We turn in our spelling scores weekly to our P. We use Words Their Way, but not properly (we don't differentiate, we just work on the same skill with everyone). I would love to try out WTW the "real" way, but I'm not sure that's really possible for now. I might try to push for it next year.
     
  10. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I once worked with a 3rd grade teacher who graded every paper students turned in for spelling. She wrote a letter grade at the top left corner of each paper.

    At the time I thought it was a great idea because the kids knew they were always accountable for spelling. But when I actually tried it, I couldn't do it. I couldn't remember to pay attention to spelling if I was grading for a specific skill, and I never remembered to record it if I did check it.

    I still think it has some value; maybe in a more limited way. Any thoughts?
     
  11. cutelilram

    cutelilram Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I rarely did a spelling test last year for the same reasons as the other teachers who commented here. These tests don't prove anything except some students do their homework or have good memorization skills and other students don't.

    What would make more sense is to have a vocabulary test that not only tests spelling skills but also an understanding of word meaning and proper grammar. Kind of like a spelling test that requires the student to write each spelling word in a complete sentence that focuses on and relates to the word's definition.

    I have found that many students go through the motions of the word sort and never use the WTW words in their own writing. On day one each week we go over the definitions of the words they do not know but that doesn't help all of the students.
     
  12. teacherlissa

    teacherlissa Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2010

    My 3rd grade team did something different this year. We chose 4 (we started low) vocabulary terms that matched what content we were teaching. We would switch from math, to reading, to science, to s.s. and then back to math. The students have to choose the correct definition on the 1st half of the assessment and then we collected. Then we handed out the other half that had 4 spellings of the words. They had to choose the correct spelling.

    I heard one complaint from a student that his parents weren't happy about no spelling test but that was literally 3-4 days before the school year was over. I asked parents that I had last year just recently if they liked the vocabulary/spelling recognition tests and they thought it was great and much more beneficial. We may decide to up the number of vocab words this year because 4 seems so little.

    The only problem was that one week we may have easy words such as- odd, even, sum, difference and then the next week we may have words from social studies or science that were much more difficult.
     

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