April 09, 2003
Here are some spelling test modifications that can work for struggling students and for those students that are more advanced. Have the students look for sound and letter patterns in their spelling words. Have them put the number of syllables in a word, at the end of the word, in a circle. For many students who struggle with auditory processing and auditory memory/sequencing, it helps to put a line or box for each letter on their test paper. Some teachers balk at this because they think it's cheating but as the student gets higher and higher scores, it can be taken away. Show the students how to calculate their percentages correctly and have them make bar graphs of their spelling scores to give them feedback. The more immediate the feedback, the better off they will be. These kinds of modifications can be written in on the IEP for special education students. If teachers don't like the extra work involved with specially designing test papers, they can teach older students to do it for themselves. If it helps them, they are more willing to do it. If the student finds it helpful, he will use it as a study tool later. For more advanced children, add columns for Synonym, Antonym, Homonym/Homophone and Rhyming Word; they have to fill in at least one. Leave a space under each word to compose a sentence using that spelling word.