Diagnostic Spelling Tests
Spelling assessment and diagnostic follow-up
Mary Crumpler and Colin McCarty
The Diagnostic Spelling Tests provide a series of standardised group or individual spelling tests for pupils throughout their school years and beyond. Each test is easy to administer and available in parallel forms A and B, which are carefully matched in content, style and difficulty.
The difficulties some children experience when learning to read and spell may leave weaknesses which can persist all the way into adulthood – but identifying specific weaknesses allows strategies to be implemented to help overcome individual difficulties.
Each test gives standardised scores and spelling ages, plus an optional diagnostic facility utilising the photocopiable marking grids in the Manual. To support the diagnosis and an intervention programme, targeted follow-up tests are provided to check specific progress: the pupil’s overall improvement can then be assessed using the parallel form.
Diagnostic Spelling Tests 1–3 are for primary-aged pupils:
Test 1 ages 5–7
(Years 1 and 2)
The vocabulary and phonic structures used for the spelling items reflect the order in which they are introduced in the National Literacy Strategy. All of the target words are read aloud to the pupils. Tests 1 and 2 comprise both picture items and illustrated cloze (‘fill in the gap’) passages, whereas Test 3 is entirely illustrated cloze passages. There is no set time limit, but each test is likely to take 20–30 minutes.
Diagnostic Spelling Tests 3–5 are for use with secondary and older students, and adults:
Test 3 ages 9–12 (Years
Test 3 is based on the National Literacy
Strategy objectives for Years 5 and 6, so is ideal for testing pupils
on entry to secondary school. Tests 4 and 5 (Forms A
& B) are provided as photocopy masters. The vocabulary used for the
spelling items in Test 4 reflects the key vocabulary
identified in the KS3 National Strategy Framework for Teaching English:
Years 7, 8 and 9. The words in Test 5 comprise essential
elements of functional literacy. All of the target words are read aloud
to the students and are set in a sentence to provide context and assist
with establishing the meaning of the word.
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