Professional Development Course on Catering for Diversity
in English Language Teaching
ENG5316
Assessing Diversity in English Language Learning
Session 4
Assessing spelling, handwriting and
written expression
Prepared by YANG, Chi Cheung Ruby,
Department of English, HKIEd
Nature of Written Language
 Written language involves the linking of language,
thought and motor skills.
2
Learner Factors that Influence Reading
and/or Writing Performance
 Prior content knowledge
 Attitudes and motivation
 Acquisition of language competence
 Physical development
 Attention, perception, and memory
(Lipson & Wixson, 2009)
3
Written Language Assessment
 Work Sample Analysis
It involves reviewing students’ classwork and
homework.
It is useful to:
analyze work samples from different subject areas
compare the student’s work samples from earlier in
the school year with the current samples in order to
note progress (or regression) (Spinelli, 2006)
4
Written Language Assessment
 Observation
Observations should be made when the student is:
copying from texts on the desk
copying from the board
writing compositions
Areas of focus:
Posture
Handedness
Grip of the writing instrument
Quality and speed of writing
5
Written Language Assessment
Checklist for
Observing
Writing Habits
6
Written Expression Assessment
7
 Written Expression Error Analysis
Teacher can select from various writing samples,
including in-class and homework assignments.
Identify the types and patterns of the errors
7
Written Expression Assessment
 Diagnostic Inventory
A comprehensive inventory that assesses the student’s
written language skills in specific areas (Spinelli, 2006).
8
Diagnostic Inventory
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10
10
Spelling Assessment
 Spelling Error Analysis
Types of spelling errors:
Letter additions
Letter omissions
Letter substitutions
Letter reversals
Letter transpositions
11
Task 1
 Based on the writing sample provided, try to identify the
types of spelling errors made by the student.
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13
Spelling Assessment
 Spelling Demons
14
Spelling Assessment
 Spelling Demons
Certain words are commonly misspelled by general
population.
The 100 commonly misspelled words are known as
spelling “demons”.
15
Spelling Assessment
 Dictated Spelling Tests
Words selected from any graded word list and students’
performance indicates their spelling grade level.
Instructional level:
75-90% accuracy
16
Spelling Assessment
 Informal Spelling Inventory
It is used to determine the approximate grade-level
proficiency for spelling words (in isolation).
Teachers can construct their own informal spelling
inventory (of about 20 words).
The list of words is dictated to the student.
Adequate mastery:
90-100% correct
Instructional level:
75-89% correct
17
Spelling Assessment
 Diagnostic Spelling
Inventory
It can help to
determine which
specific skills need
further evaluation.
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Spelling Flow List
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Spelling Flow List
 To administer fewer words and closely monitor progress
toward mastery, teacher selects several key words and
assesses them three days in a row.
 If the word is spelled correctly three days in a row,
proficiency is assumed.
 To check long-term mastery, the teacher dictates the
word again one week later.
 Once mastery is achieved, more words will be added to
the spelling mastery list (Spinelli, 2006).
20
Phonemic Awareness Spelling Assessment
 To determine whether students have phonemic
awareness, the teacher asks them to spell words that
they do not already know.
 Because they have not learned to spell these words, they
must rely on invented spelling (Spinelli, 2006).
21
Administering the Phonemic Awareness
Assessment
 Teacher calls out each word at least twice (or as many
times as the student requests).
 The teacher tells the student to spell each word as best
he/she can, writing each sound he/she hear in the
words.
 Then compare the number of letters written to the
phonemes in the word.
22
Interpretation for the Phonemic Awareness
Assessment
 Students who consistently write three or four letters:
Have some ability to segment phonemes
 Students who write only one or two reasonable letters
per word:
Beginning to segment phonemes
 Students who write nothing / string together letters
indiscriminately:
Have not learned to segment phonemes
23
Handwriting Assessment
 Prerequisite skills for handwriting:
Muscular control
Eye-hand coordination
Visual discrimination
 How can teachers assess students’ prerequisite skills for
handwriting?
24
Handwriting Assessment
 Handwriting legibility
The clarity and readability of handwriting
 Fluency
The rate of written production
25
Handwriting Assessment
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Checklist of Handwriting Skills
Handwriting Assessment
 Handwriting Error Analysis
Misdirection of letters
Excessive slant
Poor spacing
Messiness
Misalignment
Excessive or insufficient amount of pencil pressure
27
Task 2
 Based on the writing sample provided, try to identify the
handwriting errors made by the student.
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Handwriting Assessment
Analysis of
Handwriting Errors
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Handwriting Assessment
 Rating Scale: Zaner-Bloser Evaluation Scale
Assessment of students’ handwriting based on samples
provided for comparison.
A separate rate scale is available for printed and cursive
writing.
30
Handwriting Assessment
31
Handwriting Assessment
32
Handwriting Assessment
 Rating Scale: Zaner-Bloser Evaluation Scale
33
Handwriting Assessment
 Rating Scale: Zaner-Bloser Evaluation Scale
Ratings can also be made more objective by considering
the five major handwriting skills: shape, slant,
spacing, size and smoothness.
Each is judged as either Satisfactory or Needs
Improvement.
34
Handwriting Assessment
 Rating Scale: Zaner-Bloser Evaluation Scale
Excellent: All the five factors are satisfactory
Good: Four of the five factors are satisfactory
Average: Three factors are satisfactory
Fair: Two satisfactory areas
Poor: One satisfactory area
35
Task 3
 Based on the writing sample provided, try to assess the
student’s handwriting using the Zaner-Bloser Evaluation
Scale.
36
Handwriting Assessment
 Observation
It is important to consider not only the legibility of the
student’s writing but also the speed.
Speed can be assessed by asking the student to copy a
passage (of 100 words) and time how long it takes the
student to complete the copying (McLoughlin & Lewis,
2008).
37
Handwriting Assessment
 Observation
How is the student seated?
In what position is the student’s paper?
Does the student grip the pen or pencil too tightly?
Does the student write with the right or left hand?
When the student writes, does he/she move the entire
hand smoothly across the page or just move the fingers
in an attempt to draw each letter?
38
Handwriting Assessment
 Observation
Does the student exert a great deal of pressure on the
paper?
If writing with a pencil, does the student break pencil
points frequently?
How often does the student erase or cross out mistakes?
What is the size of letters (too small or too large)?
What is the proportion of one letter or word to
another?
39
Handwriting Assessment
 Observation
How about the slant of words (too much or irregular)?
What is the letter formation (e.g. poor circles or
straight lines, lines disconnected, etc.)?
How about letter alignment (off the line, etc.)?
What is the speed of the student’s writing (too fast or
too slow)?
Does the student have difficulty copying from the board
or from a text on the desk? (vision problem)
40
Assessing Written Products
 Evaluation of written language using the student’s actual
work products.
 Issacson (1988) suggested that fluency, content,
convention (including spelling and handwriting) and
vocabulary should be evaluated.
 Salvia and Hughes (1990) suggested that the two major
areas of content and style should be evaluated.
In the area of style, errors might be located in grammar,
mechanics (e.g. punctuation and capitalization), and
word usage.
41
Assessing Written Products
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References
 Issacson, S. (1988). Assessing the writing product: Qualitative and
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quantitative measures. Exceptional Children, 54(6), 528-534.
Lipson, M.Y. & Wixson, K. K. (2009). Assessment and instruction of reading
and writing difficulties: An interactive approach (4th ed). Boston, Mass.:
Pearson Education.
McLoughlin, J. A. & Lewis, R. B. (2008). Assessing students with special
needs (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Salvia, J. & Hughes, C. (1990). Curriculum-based assessment:Testing what is
taught. New York: Macmillan.
Spinelli, C. G. (2006). Classroom assessment for students in special and general
education (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson/Merrill/Prentice
Hall.
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Assessing spelling, handwriting and written expression