Articles on: Literacy

I am marking PLD spelling placement tests and I am not sure when to mark words as correct or incorrect?

Spelling test words are only marked as correct, if spelled correctly. DO NOT MARK CORRECT IF THE PHONIC PATTERN IS CORRECT BUT THERE ARE OTHER ERRORS WITHIN THE WORD. Spelling test words are only marked as correct, if spelled correctly.

Example 1: Test word: toast, child's spelling is toat. The child has included oa correctly in the word. Is this marked as correct and has the child mastered oa?

toat - should be marked as incorrect. Likewise toats, oats, tost, toas are also marked as incorrect.
toast is only marked as correct, when spelled as toast.

Remember, only when the target phonic pattern is applied to all components within a word (i.e. letters that proceed and follow the phonic pattern) should it be marked as correct.

Keep in mind, that when marking spelling tests, (particularly when students are operating at PLD's stages 1 and 2) there can be variability in performance. Hence, some days the student spells the target words correctly and others incorrectly. Keep in mind, that MANY students benefit from concept consolidation, even when they have been shown to spell words correctly.

Likewise, MANY students will benefit from phonic dictation opportunities, when they are able to spell their spelling words. Phonic dictation is ideal to give students the opportunity to transfer spelling concepts into extended writing.

Example 2: Test word chin and the student spelled the word chine.
There is an element of teacher judgement that comes into play when marking the PLD spelling placement tests. Without access to the full spelling test, the following suggestions are made.
If the student is placing an 'e' on the end of all words, then this does need to be dealt with and the explanation of short and long vowels needs to occur. If it was just a single occurrence, then teacher discretion will come into play.
As was explained above, keep in mind that viability in performance can occur in stage 1 and 2 spelling. Also as was explained above, this concept of ch still can be revised and consolidated in the content of phonic dictation.

If you are still unsure about the marking (and provided you have completed an online course and/or attended a PLD seminar or presentation in the last 2 years) you to scan the full student test paper to for specific feedback.

Example 3: How do I mark this word? The word was skip and the child wrote scip. Is scip an appropriate spelling of the word skip?

The word is only marked correct if the word is spelled correctly.
A spelling attempt of scip is incorrect.
However it is not a terribly concerning error. More concerning errors are when students drop, exclude a letter sound (e.g. sip or ski) or place the letter sound in the wrong order (e.g. sikp or spik)
With the example below it is impossible to know how to mark as the student has written the c and k over the top of each other. Without sitting next to the child it is impossible to know which letter was written second as the correction of the initial attempt.

Keep in mind, the percentage of accuracy is correct, but so is the teacher's interpretation. In terms of the example listed below a likely interpretation is that the student requires target 2 and target 3 words. How would this work? Option 1: Combination lists, for example: Week 1: Four ck words and four CCVC/CVCC words. Week 2: four ee words and four CCVC.CVCC words. Option 2: week 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 focus on the remaining target 2 concepts, then for the weeks 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 focus on CCVC and CVCC words.
1.1 (target 1) = 75%
1.2 (target 2) = 50%
1.3 (target 3) = 50% (only if skip was spelled scip and then the student corrected the c with the k). Otherwise the score is 25%.
1.4 (target 4) = 11%
Keep in mind also, that is possible to investigate further. Provide 5 or 10 target 3 words and then convert these scores to a percentage and you will likely find arrive at a more representative score that more accurately reflects the student's ability level. If you refer to the following assessment, you will see additional test items listed.

Example 4: I have completed the end of term review. I have had several children that spelled the word 'Rock' as Rok or Roc. For some this is the only word they have got wrong out of that target set of words. Would you mark that as correct if it is spelt Rok or Roc?

The only correct spelling of rock is rock.
Further skill development is still required. 'c and k' together make the 'c" sound and this is commonly occurs at the end of words, but never at the beginning of words.
Option 1: Focus on 'ck' and then progress on.
Option 2: Create combination lists - 6 ck words as well as 6 words from stage 1 target 3 (CCVC words) .

85% accuracy (allows for an occasional error) and then progress on (as long as you are also continuing to cover earlier concepts that still require further attention).

Updated on: 22/08/2023

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