Graded Word Spelling

This test mainly assesses the child’s ability to spell orthographically complex words, ones that cannot simply be spelled on the basis of their most typical sound-letter correspondences. The first nine items are basic primer words (those also assessed in the Basic Word Spelling Test – items 2-10), while the remaining 26 test words contain a variety of sound-to-letter mapping inconsistencies, and thus, to spell them correctly, the child requires some higher-level knowledge about the orthography.  This includes knowledge about letter sequencing (graphotactic) conventions, morphological and morphophonological coding conventions, and knowledge of exceptions. In addition to containing sound-letter inconsistencies, the test words also vary in their syllabic structures (e.g., 1 to 3 syllables in length, with or without consonant clusters). Some of the spelling patterns are simpler, and earlier acquired than others, and accordingly, the test items are presented in order of difficulty.  This task allows for the evaluation of children’s evolving knowledge of aspects of conventional spelling over and above basic sound-letter associations.

Age Range

This spelling task is designed for pupils in Years 1 to Year 3, although it may be a sensitive measure for older primary school pupils, in particular those with reading and spelling difficulties.

Scoring (accuracy)

Each spelling is scored for ‘binary’ accuracy, that is, one point is awarded for fully correct spellings and zero points for incorrect spellings, producing a score out of 35.  In addition, test administrators are encouraged to transcribe incorrect spellings and consider whether the child is experiencing specific difficulties with particular spelling patterns or types of spelling conventions (e.g., past tense morphology, exception word spellings, etc.) with reference to the scoring matrix provided for this purpose. The lower consistency, target graphemes are underlined.  While we do not currently provide norms for error analyses, they can provide excellent insights into individual children’s strengths and weaknesses in spelling knowledge.

Norms

Current English norms are available for children in Year 1 and Year 2.

Materials for Administration

– Participant Sheet and pencil or pen (as is typical in the child’s classroom) for participant

– Graded Word Spelling Task Score Sheet

Please ensure you are using the most up-to-date test version:

Test Version: 1

Norm Version: 2

Updated: 11/11/19



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