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School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:58 am
by volunteer
Our primary school says they have a policy of only pointing out that there are spelling errors in a maximum of three words in any piece of work. One of my children is now in year 5 and this policy does not appear to be paying off! A quick search on Google reveals that this is a very popular policy at primary level.

On what evidence is it based? And what's my chance of persuading them to deviate from this for my child who thinks it is silly - she says if a word is not pointed out as being incorrect she will use that spelling again as it must be right!

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:12 am
by Debbie Hepplewhite
for my child who thinks it is silly - she says if a word is not pointed out as being incorrect she will use that spelling again as it must be right!
Out of the mouths of babes!

:neutral:

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:00 pm
by maizie
As I understand it many teachers restrict corrections of spellings to only a very few per piece of work because they have been told by 'experts' that children find too many corrections demoralising.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:20 am
by Lesley Drake
Well I can still remember being crushed when I showed my Dad, a teacher btw, the front cover of a cook book I had made and he pointed out I'd spelled recipes wrong. And that was 50 years ago!

So, limiting corrections to 3 would seem reasonable to me, especially if there are tons of mistakes.

That way the child can focus in on three and take responsibility for them, but the teacher should be analysing what the spelling issues are for that child and plan to teach accordingly to put them right.

Is it just a case of rushing and not checking letters have been missed out? Does the child have obvious gaps in advanced code knowledge and need more practice with certain ones? Are they winging it because they don't realise the importance of accuracy?

I am not proof reading this so don't pull me up if I have missed something. It's late and I need new glasses anyway.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:19 pm
by volunteer
Thanks Lesley. I like the idea that something should be done about the remaining spellings that are not corrected - but I am not so sure how a teacher would do that with 30 children in the class nor how they would choose which 3 spelling errors to make the child aware of.

This is what I am experiencing personally - and I've seen it coming over several years.

Child - now upper KS2 was strong speller in early KS1 - very high centiles in standardised spelling tests. In KS2 was starting to spell some words consistently incorrectly. I have, with great difficult, been allowed to look at her writing book very occasionally over the years and jot down all the words that she spells incorrectly and the spelling that she uses for those words. For the most part there is only one incorrect version of the word that she uses. It is notable that the first word that I notice the problem with was bed. She spelled it incorrectly at home as "bead" after having spelled it correctly for several years. I asked her why she had spelled it that way. She said she had spelled it that way at school more than once and she thought that was correct- no-one had corrected it. They are not told, it would seem, that there is a policy of only correcting 3 and so she has not appreciated, until I was told this policy the other day at school that there are many words she spells incorrectly regularly that the teacher never corrects.

For the most part, it is purely and simply a case of having learned a phonetically plausible spelling instead of the real thing. And the more times she writes it incorrectly the more ingrained it seems in her memory. It is much easier for her to learn brand new words (hence good marks in the school spelling test with novel words) than unlearn an incorrect one and adopt the correct spelling as the "automatic" one.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:30 am
by maizie
Lesley Drake wrote:but the teacher should be analysing what the spelling issues are for that child and plan to teach accordingly to put them right.
It looks as though this stage in the process is being missed, volunteer :mrgreen:

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:02 am
by Debbie Hepplewhite
Susan Godsland just reminded me that I wrote the following on illegal words, spelling and marking - this may be of interest to some people:

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/for ... f088aa7224

Coincidentally, I'm hearing of other children who have commented along the lines of, 'How can I know if I'm spelling incorrectly if no-one ever tells me?'

Clearly at least some children would rather be told about their incorrect spellings to be given the opportunity to learn and spell more words correctly.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:41 am
by chew8
I retired in 2000. When I was teaching students aged 16+ up until then and pointed out their misspellings, I often got a resentful reaction along the lines of ‘No teacher has ever done this before’, but what the students seemed to feel was that their earlier teachers had been right to regard spelling as unimportant and I was wrong to think otherwise. I started testing the spelling of all new students in 1984, and I remember a meeting with feeder-school teachers soon after that at which I presented the results - one head of English was openly scornful of the idea that spelling was important, so it wasn’t surprising that the students thought this way. If children themselves are now feeling that they are being deprived of the opportunity to improve if teachers don’t correct their misspellings, that is at least a step in the right direction.

Re. spellings which are illegal in English: I agree that they shouldn’t feature on the Year 1 phonics check, but I don’t think they should be an absolute no-no in the classroom. Children do encounter such spellings in their text-reading (e.g. in foreign names) and they need to be prepared to decode them rather than just skip them.

Jenny C.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:21 am
by Debbie Hepplewhite
Children do encounter such spellings in their text-reading (e.g. in foreign names) and they need to be prepared to decode them rather than just skip them.
That's true, Jenny, but surely it doesn't mean that children need a diet of lots of illegally spelled pseudo-words, they need to be code knowledgeable and proficient at blending to discern 'whatever' new word they encounter when reading.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:21 am
by JIM CURRAN
Weak spelling is a bigger problem than most teachers admit, not only does it slow creativity but also slows down writing speed,in other words weak spelling slows down both the quality and quantity of a piece of written work. Just think how incredibly limiting it is for any child who wants to use a word but won't because he can't spell that word and then must spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of an easier word to use which is similar in meaning.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:50 am
by chew8
Debbie: what I wrote was that illegal spellings should not be 'an absolute no-no'. That doesn't mean that I would approve of 'a diet of lots of illegally spelt pseudo-words'. I'm just saying that we shouldn't over-state the case.

Jim: I moved from teaching in a system where spelling was regarded as important to one where it was regarded as relatively unimportant, and the point you make about creativity was one which struck me very forcibly. The same point can be made about grammar and punctuation.

Jenny C.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:20 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
Hi Jenny - I know that over-stating cases is not a good thing, but in England where the Year One Phonics Screening Check has led to an increased diet of children playing with pseudo-words often made up by people and publishers not fully aware of the notion of 'illegal spellings', then I suggest that some children may well have too many pseudo-words in their diet generally and too many pseudo-words that are illegal spellings.

If this is indeed the case, I don't think it is overstating the case.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:21 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
Jim, I too agree with your comment based on my teaching experiences.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:53 am
by chew8
You've obviously seen lists of words containing illegal spellings, Debbie - I haven't. What is the worst proportion of illegal to legal spellings that you've seen?

In your PI piece, you give 'parck' as an example. 'Bismarck' is quite a famous real name, however, and I would expect a well-taught Year 1 child to cope easily with it.

Jenny C.

Re: School marking policies - correction of spellings

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:44 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
It's not a matter of children 'coping' with such words - they can be easily decodable - but I personally would not want children to see such spelling patterns as they are not something one would normally see for common words and, as a teacher, I would not want to see such spellings in children's writing as a way of spelling, for example, the /ar/+/k/ sounds.

In other words, the worry is more for spelling purposes than reading purposes.

People's names and place names are often spelled with unusual spellings, but I would deal with such words on a case by case basis rather than add unusual spellings into the every day experience of young children.

Recently, an example of a publisher using a list of pseudo-words with unusual spelling patterns was doing the rounds via Twitter. The pseudo-words were far harder to decode than the accompanying 'real' text and a few were of the 'illegal' variety.