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  • Last modified 21 days ago (Nov. 1, 2017)

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Spelling tests aren’t what they used to be

Staff writer

Everyone remembers the spelling tests they took in grade school. The teacher spoke the word to the whole class, read a sentence containing the word, and students wrote the word down on a piece of paper.

That’s not how it is done today, at least for students in the upper grades.

Sheila Baldwin’s fourth-grade students in Marion each have their own laptop computer, and they use a spelling program to take tests.

Wearing headphones, each student taps the “word” button, and the word is transmitted to them through the headphones. They can also request a sentence using that word. They then type the word on the keyboard, or, if the word isn’t clear, students can hit the repeat button and go through the process a second time.

The only thing the teacher has to do is record the scores in her computerized grade book.

“It allows each student to work at their own pace,” Baldwin said.

Marci Cain teaches English language arts to fourth and fifth graders at Centre. She provides a list of words on each student’s laptop. They can play games with the words and listen to them in a sentence.

Students take tests on their laptops using the same procedures as Baldwin’s class. When they are finished, they take pictures of their scores and send them to Cain.

Although the testing method has changed, students still have to get the list ahead of time and study the words.

Cain said she spends 15 minutes a day on spelling but it no longer is her main emphasis. With spell-check built into computers, if a student spells a word wrong, the spell-check corrects it. In addition, words that are spelled wrong are underlined in red by the computer, giving students a chance to correct their errors.

The many computer applications available to teachers appear to be a hit with students.

“Kids seem to enjoy it when the work is done on a computer,” Baldwin said. “It’s been a good progression. I enjoy having the technology.”

Last modified Nov. 1, 2017

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