NAPLAN Spelling Analysis

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It’s that time of the year again when many teachers and parents begin preparing students for NAPLAN. However, just having students do practice papers is not really going to address any areas of underlying weakness. To really improve their literacy skills, you need to ‘dig a little deeper’ to determine why they have made the error which will then inform you as to the focus of your teaching.

This week we will look at analysing spelling errors based on an actual student’s answers.

Click here for a copy of the student’s paper.

Analyse Errors

The first step is to analyse the type of errors made by the student

Key Teaching Points

Your error analysis will then inform the focus of your teaching.

burrowThe missing ‘s’ is probably just a careless error rather than an indicator a serious spelling issue.
scketchedTeach that ‘ck’ is only used at the end of words and syllables after a short vowel. Probably also need to teach when to use ‘c’ versus ‘k’ at the beginning of words and syllables.
cycleist’sTeach the rule that the final ‘e’ is deleted when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. Teach use of apostrophes and emphasise that it is not used to indicate the plural form of words.
bussinessThis is a rule breaker because ‘ss’ is not being used after the short vowel sound. The /i/ being represented by ‘u’ is unusual. It would be useful to look at the etymology of this word and discuss strategies for remembering the correct spelling.
tollerantThis is also a rule breaker as you would expect the ‘l’ to be doubled as it is after a short vowel in the stressed syllable. It is great that the student recognised that the suffix is ‘ant’ and not ‘ent’. Help the student to develop a strategy for remembering the correct spelling.
aclaimTeach the prefix ‘ac’ which is derived from the Latin ‘ad’ meaning towards. There is a list of these derived prefixes which students need to be taught.
instantiousThe student has the correct stem ‘instant’. Teach the suffix ‘aneous’ – compound adjective suffix of Latin origin. Make links to the common words using this suffix – simultaneous, spontaneous, miscellaneous and extraneous.

exeedingSince the ‘x’ is pronounced /ks/ it can be difficult to know which words require a ‘c’ (excite) and which don’t (exercise). Teach student to identify the stem and the meaning of the stem. In this case the stem is ‘ceed’ from the Latin ‘cedere’ meaning to go or yield. Link to other words using this stem – proceed, succeed. Teach ‘xs’ is never used in English.
amatuerTeach the etymology of this word – it comes from French, which explains the unusual ‘eur’ ending. Link to other common words with the same ending – saboteur, connoisseur, liqueur, secateurs, masseur, chauffeur, entrepreneur, raconteur (all French in origin). It might also be useful to look at words containing ‘eur’ in other positions – Europe, pasteurise and words containing the stem ‘neuro’ (neurology, neural, etc.).
sponseredIn the rhythm of everyday speech, the suffixes ‘er’ and ‘or’ sound the same and they both mean a ‘person who’ (teacher, actor) or a thing that (heater, projector) and indicate a noun. The suffix ‘er’ is also used when comparing two items (faster, hotter). Therefore if the word is an adjective or adverb, definitively use the suffix ‘er’.
Explicitly teach the common letter patterns in base words containing the suffix ‘or’.
-If the base word ends in ct (actor, elector, doctor).
-If the base word is a multisyllabic word ending in ate (translate-translator).
-It is extremely rare for a word containing ‘rr’ to end with ‘er’ (horror, mirror, terror).
-Make a list of the remaining commonly used words using the suffix ‘or’ – motor, major, manor, survivor, debtor, junior, senior,  sailor, tremor, donor, sponsor, suitor, vendor, sensor, pastor, mentor, castor, anchor, visitor, scissors, janitor, adaptor, sculptor, inventor, conveyor, author..
sattelitesThis is also a rule breaker as you would expect the ‘t’ to be doubled as it is after a short vowel in the stressed syllable.Help student to develop a strategy for remembering the correct spelling.

If you would like some upskilling in this area, you might find the Online Assessing & Correcting Workshop particularly useful or for a more extensive professional development you could enrol in the Online Multisensory Spelling Workshop which includes the assessing and correcting unit.