kitchen table math, the sequel: spelling test

Saturday, March 14, 2009

spelling test

25 most commonly misspelled words

via Mankiw, view Newmark's Door

I missed 3.

One of them I absolutely did not know.

Speaking of not knowing, Diane McGuinness has a section in Early Reading Instruction confirming as a universal my impression that a person's spelling deteriorates dramatically when he's exposed to misspellings.* This is why, she says, teachers should not give multiple choice spelling tests. **

Which is exactly the kind of test 25 most commonly misspelled words is. Two of the words I missed because I caught a glimpse of the choices and promptly forgot the correct spelling.

Not so with the third. I was as convinced of the correctness of my chosen spelling as I was of my chosen answer to what is 6 x 7? for God knows how many years. (you may have to hit refresh a couple of times)

* Seeing misspelled words strongly depressed spelling scores, and the probability of using the same misspelling was high (.76). p. 118

** Ditto invented spelling.


Doug Sundseth said...

Two incorrect, and all of the AmE/BrE differences correct.

And I cannot express how much I despise kid/invented spelling. It's particularly a problem for smart kids, who lock in to a spelling easily.

GoogleMaster said...

Your score is: 27 points out of a possible 27
That is 100 % -- Excellent!

I knew the trick with judgment/judgement, and I went back and changed my answer for acknowledgment/acknowledgement to match.

Occurrence and dependent are pet peeves of mine.

And wtf is with the wording for supersede? There's only one correct spelling, so why ask for the preferred one? The trick is:
-sede, there's only one: supersede
-ceed, there are three: ex-, pro-, suc-
-cede, all others

Anonymous said...

Man, I missed 5. That is pathetic.

I blame the internet.

It is strange that whenever I write it out, it usually screams at me if it's wrong. It used to be like that with typeface. I know several people who are like that.

At least we had spelling lists and were forced to practice.

Another pet peeve besides the invented spelling junk is the practice of simply not correcting mispellings, even through middle school. It drives me crazy.


ElizabethB said...

I'll quote my website:

"On Invented Spelling
Invented Spelling is a bad practice that reinforces the wrong spelling of a word."

"Practice makes perfect...and if you are practicing spelling something incorrectly, you are only reinforcing the incorrect spelling in your brain. Students need to learn to spell correctly, and they need their spelling mistakes corrected so they can learn the correct spellings of words.

Invented spelling came into vogue along with whole word or whole language practices, and like whole language, invented spelling is a bad idea.

An excellent article about the problems with invented spelling is found at the National Right to Read (NRRF) website: A Critique of Invented Spelling by Dr. Patrick Groff."

Anonymous said...


It just seems like common sense, doesn't it? My son just sears the wrong word in his brain.

And when he doesn't sear it in his brain, he writes it three different ways in a paper and no one points it out.


Catherine Johnson said...

You have to write it out. At least, I do. When I was in the spelling bee those two years my team's approach was to have me frantically write out my first response as fast as possible to get it down before all the competing spellings took over inside our heads.

The word I absolutely did not know how to spell was "supersede."

I had no idea -- none-- it was spelled with two s's.

I've spelled it "supercede" all my life.

I got the two British spellings right because I figured they had to have e's, not because I knew them.

What were the two I missed??

Embarrass - if I'd just written it down, I would have gotten it right.

Also harass, which I spelled with two r's.

I think normally I get embarrass right; I probably always look harass up when I use it.

Same deal there.

Anonymous said...

I got "embarrass" because the kid missed it just recently, so I was scrawling it out 3 different ways on paper before I finally "knew."

I guess I'm going to have to return my second grade spelling B champion ribbon back to Herbert Bowie grade school.