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NIFL-ASSESSMENT 2005: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:885] RE: spelling - I'm

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From: Robin Millar (
Date: Thu Jan 20 2005 - 15:37:47 EST

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Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:885] RE: spelling - I'm shocked!
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I've been teaching and diagnosing spelling difficulties for over 25
years, and I find it a bit worrying that people use what are essentially
reading tests (pick out the correct version from three choices) to
identify spelling strengths and weaknesses.  In order to diagnose
spelling strengths and weaknesses you need to have people demonstrate
their spelling abilities.  This is done through spontaneous writing
samples or through a dictation.  Then you can analyze the skills people

I would highly recommend a book I co-authored with Cynthia Klein
Unscrambling Spelling (Hodder and Stoughton available through the U.K)
for working with literacy students on spelling.

Dr. Robin Millar
Executive Director
Centre for Education and Work
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9

>>> 1/20/2005 5:09:14 AM >>>
Hi Karen and everyone,

Pardon! But I'm so surprised that there seems to be so much emphasis
spelling in some of the materials in the diagnostics that I've seen. 
another email, you also explained a tool or process that uses
spellings as a diagnostic, but that those misspelled words make their
way into the classroom teaching.  

I feel like we do very little spelling work here in the U.S. in ABE. 
have worked a lot on spelling when the students don't know how to
(we would do invented spelling and stuff like that, and play spelling
games).  Also, at high levels I would always note where there were
mistakes but it was up to the student to find the correction.

How about others here in the U.S. and anyplace else in the world?  I
be way out of the spelling loop and so I'd love to hear from others.

marie cora
Moderator, NIFL Assessment Discussion List, and 
Coordinator/Developer LINCS Assessment Special Collection at 

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of 
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2005 11:28 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:861] RE: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:848] Re:  Skills
Discussion fro

Here are some examples from the initial assessment. Well over half the
marks are for spelling, and a level is assigned on the basis of a cut

Circle the correct spelling to answer questions 63-66

Be careful, the _________ is boiling hot (ketle kettel kettle kettal)

The child fell in a huge (puddel puddle pudel pudle)

(No prizes for guessing which of these items comes from a 'family'
version for parents and carers!!)

One word in each sentence is spelled incorrectly.  Write the correct
spelling of the word in the box to answer questions 67-72

69 She had to take both children shoping

71  The sond of the school bus outside woke him up.

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