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Marking spelling against easttle writing rubric when using chromebooks and spell check

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Started by justin hickey 18 Jun 2014 4:24pm () Replies (12)

HI everybody. Do you have any knowledge or advice on how to mark writing samples for year 7/8 students who do their writing on chromebooks and use spell check. My students will be sitting their writing tests next week using chromebooks and I have been asked how I will mark their spelling against the easttle marking rubric. It is a good question but one I'm not sure I have an answer for. My mind tells me that if there are no spelling mistakes, then I should mark that aspect of their writing highly. Do you have any advice or opinion?




  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 4:49pm ()

    Hi Justin,


    I'm hoping that our writing guru Karla can respond with an answer?? (if she's following this thread)

    From my perspective I would discuss the test with the students... Specifically that the purpose of the test is to tell them what they need to learn which will help their learning.  So when they type words in to their doc, and there is a red underlined word, to refrain from correcting it using 'right click' + 'correct'.  

    It will also depend on the type of words they use.  If their vocab isn't great that the most complex word they use is only in the 'frequent 2000' word list then they wont get a high spelling score.  Sure they may have spelt words correctly, but they didn't choose to use more complex words, meaning they may not know them, or chose not to use them so to get no spelling words incorrect.  S

    So their knowledge of spelling rules, and use is low.  Does that make sense??

  • justin hickey (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 5:01pm ()

    Thanks Hamish. Yes that makes sense. And I agree with what you have said. It is very interesting to hear from the students. The ones that have spelling and hand writing issues are loving the fact that these obsatacles no longer exist and they are enjoying writing  more.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 5:25pm ()

    Yes I find that too.  Digital writing on google doc's really gets them writing!

    A couple of writing tools/ addon's that you may not know of.




    Great for reluctant writers.  

  • Neil Fraser (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 5:45pm ()

    The guru seems to be occupied, Hamish. I note that in a Doc, under "view", one can de-select "Show spelling suggestions". Ask students to turn it off for the purpose of assessment.

    It will be an interesting debate: do we allow students to use technology to their benefit when writing a passage? If they use the tool in their everyday lessons, then it should be acknowledged in the evaluation process.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 5:58pm ()

    Well there's a debate indeed!

    When in written format the learner has to be able to interpret the correct option of the spelt word.  But most of us learners have personal digital devices that accept voice input.  ie 'siri' or 'google now'.  and we speak the word and get it to input it for us.  Is spelling then even an important concept to teach?  In 10 years will it even be around?  Or am I getting carried away and off topic...   yep

  • justin hickey (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 9:10pm ()

    I dont think so Hamish. I'm a year 7/8 teacher and have students with learning needs that require them to use voice to text. I personally am not that big on teaching my students who struggle with spelling the usual spelling patterns for long vowel sounds etc, etc. As far as I'm concerned, if they are still poor spellers after 7 years at school, then I am not sure that I have the magic wand to change this. All signs lead to the fact that spelling is not going to be as necessary in the future as it has been in the past. If my students have access to voice ot text, spell chek or predictive text then why not allow them to use it. As they get older they are likely to have a device that takes away the need to top spellers. I think it's a debate that needs to be had and highlights the change that digital devices are making to the curriculum. What is important now and what can we let go of?

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 9:07pm ()

    Giving this one some thought.

    There are a number of options I suppose.

    You could turn off the spell checker in Chrome, temporarily.


    You could leave it on and tell the kids they are not to take advantage of it. But then a squiggle is a squiggle- if it was me just seeing the squiggle will make me have another go at it until I got the squiggle to go away.

    With future focussed learners is it fair to not let them use tools you have been teaching them to use. Let's all work with a pencil and paper because we can ensure they cannot use new skills??????

    Or you could leave it on- those kids who are able enough spellers will make the best use of it- you still have to get pretty close to getting the right word to get a good choice for the spell checker. Those kids who aren't good spellers would most likely make a botch up of it any way.

    Thoughts- what is the e-AsTTle test trying to assess- writing or spelling- maybe testing the spelling ability in a different way???

    A good question Juston. We await what the literacy gurus have to say about the matter. 

  • justin hickey (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 9:14pm ()

    I agree Allanah. Personally I dont see why we can't let them use it. But we are so stuck in our need to tick boxes. Spell check is empowering students for the first time who for the last previous 6-7 years have dreaded the prospect of writing because their handwriting was poor and they could not spell. Writing with a pencil laid bare all their weaknesses which is why they have been so loathe to do it.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2014 9:09pm ()

    Eye halve a spelling chequer
    It came with my pea sea
    It plainly marques four my revue
    Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

    Eye strike a quay and type a word
    And weight four it two say
    Weather eye am wrong oar write
    It shows me strait a weigh.

    As soon as a mist ache is maid
    It nose bee fore two long
    And eye can put the error rite
    It's rare lea ever wrong.

    Eye have run this poem threw it
    I am shore your pleased two no
    It's letter perfect awl the weigh
    My chequer tolled me sew.

  • Megan NL (View all users posts) 06 Jul 2014 10:18pm ()

    If you are using the e-asTTle writing rubrics to mark their writing, then you can't mark them for spelling if they have used a spell checker or editing tool. We did our first e-asTTle writing assessment of the year, using googledocs in our 1:1 classes. We simply set up a doc which we shared with each student and got them to turn off spell check and spelling suggestions prior to them commencing their writing. The beauty of using google docs is you can change editing permissions, so once they had finished we could change their rights to view only. 

    For all other writing, our students are able to use spelling suggestions and spell check. 

    Spelling correctly is still an important skill that we must do our best to teach students. Just because a student has been a poor speller for 7 years, does not mean they can't improve - for many of or current students they are lacking in phonological awareness as they were taught purely using whole language, as opposed to a mix of both. By ientifying weaknesses, we can then identify the ways in which we can help them improve. As they progress higher through their schooling, the need for accuracy becomes important. Do we say they don't need to know how to punctuate correctly, because one day there might be a tool that does it for them, so let's not teach them that any more? 

    If you have allowed them to use a spell checker and then grade them highly on the marking rubric as a result, you are distorting assessment data, which then skews your results and may mean that students who are eligible for future assistance such as a reader-writer for exams at NCEA level may miss out!

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 09 Jul 2014 1:56pm ()

    ... and just because a skill was important decades ago, doesn't mean we can't be dynamic and see that there isn't as much use for it now and especially in the future.

    I believe that currently spelling is important up to a level.  But after a certain age I believe that tools can and should be used making it easier.  

    Should we still learn to ride a horse when we have vehicles to drive now?  

    During the transition from horse to car horseriding was still a valued skill, but the skill declined and gradualy was considered less important.  I believe the same thing will happen to 'spelling' because of technology.

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