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Language Arts Curriculum Guide - page 58 / 70





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During the seminar, you were introduced to the Cloze Story Word Test and the Sentence Dictation Test, your two tests at the end of each spelling unit to assess all Core Words introduced so far in the program. The tests are diagnostic-they identify the current and all previously-introduced Core Words in the program (all the way back to word number one, the) that each student has not mastered. The words students misspell or misuse on these tests are their unmastered words. These unmastered words become an individualized list of words for each student. These words are called their Spelling Words. So, the Cloze Story Word Tests and the Sentence Dictation Tests identify the Spelling Words and then target them for study.

In addition to providing a personal study list of Spelling Words for each student, the tests evaluate spelling progress for a class and for individual students. For example, if on a given test sixteen students in your class miss the same word, you can compare this number with the results of subsequent tests in which the word is recycled. When these tests indicate that fewer students miss this word, measurable progress has been substantiated for this class with respect to that word. Further, each student's progress toward the mastery of the word can be observed.

Another function of the tests is to offer ongoing engagement with all current and previously- introduced Core Words in the program. This repeated exposure contributes to their long-term mastery. The most often missed words, such as there/their/they're are recycled approximately one thousand times!

The Cloze Story Word Test is not as challenging as the Sentence Dictation Test. For students insufficiently challenged by the Cloze, use the Sentence Dictation-further, see Challenging the Capable Speller. For students overly challenged by the Cloze Story Word Test, see Students With Spelling Challenges.

Students do not study the test words in preparation for taking these tests. To pinpoint the words a student has not yet mastered long term, test words cannot be practiced before the test. The tests must assess long-term mastery rather than short-term memory of words recently studied.

To test words using a Cloze Story Word Test. read the entire story aloud including the test words, as students silently follow .the story words with their eyes. Then read the story again, perhaps a sentence at a time, providing time for students to fill in the missing story words in the blanks. Finally, tell students to proofread their work by spelling each word silently or aloud as they touch each letter.

To test words using a Sentence Dictation Test, read the sentences aloud. Then read them again slowly to allow time for students to write the sentences. Use a brisk, but comfortable pace expecting students to listen carefully and write quickly. You may wish to read the sentences a third time. Finally, tell students to proo read.

If spelling references are not permitted, the tests function as a test of long-term spelling achievement. You may wish to allow students to use references-a valid test criterion, but not an assessment of long-term spelling achievement. Whether students use references or not, their work should be checked. Feedback on completed work is helpful to the learning process. You can check each test, or you may guide students through the correction procedure with students using a colored pencil to check their own or another student's test words.

You may ask students to work independently or together using spelling references to correct the spelling of their missed test words. Suggested references include My Spell Check, a list of the Core Words introduced in the program through your grade level, and/or classroom charts or word walls.

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