Pseudoword Spelling

This task measures the child’s ability to generate phonologically plausible spellings for novel words.  A plausible spelling can be produced using knowledge of basic phoneme-grapheme correspondences alone.  However, carrier sentences are provided to elicit specific letter patterns according to graphotactic and/or morphological spelling conventions, such as plural <s>, past tense <ed>, post-vocalic non-rhotic <r>, consonant doubling after lax vowels. While any phonologically plausible spelling production is credited, the scoresheet also allows for a qualitative evaluation of the child’s ability to use contextually-appropriate spelling conventions. 

Age Range

This test is appropriate for pupils in Years 1 and 2. However it may be used with older primary-school-aged pupils, in particular to examine their ability to apply orthographic conventions to novel words.   

Scoring (accuracy)

Binary scoring is used such that 1 point is awarded for any spelling that leads to a plausible pronunciation of the target pseudoword, and 0 points otherwise.  Current norms are based on this scoring method.

For a more refined assessment, partial accuracy scoring is recommended using the Ponto tool ( created by B. Kessler (2017). Norms of older pupils and for partial accuracy are forthcoming. 


Current English norms are available for children in 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

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

– Pseudoword Spelling Task Score Sheet

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

Test version:

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