WordLab school assessment
The results of a one year school trial
In 2016, every child at Wakanui School participated in the WordLab spelling programme for the entire year. Students were classified into spelling groups and went to their 15 minute spelling class every Monday to Thursday.
The programme involved learning to spell 3 words each week as well as looking at word charts that included groups of words with similar patterns, prefixes and suffixes. They also look at word syllables and meaning as part of the chart study. There was an opportunity for students to work at home on their spelling but it was not required as part of the programme.
To group the students as well as collect some data, we used the South Australian Standardised Spelling test, which gave students a Spelling Age. This was completed in February and repeated in November.
All students were also tested on a selection of their WordLab words from the whole year.
Students not at school at the beginning of the year were not included in the data. Year 1 students were not tested at the beginning of the year (spelling Age starts at 6).
In Years 2-8, collated data shows the following:
• The percentage of students whose Spelling Age (SA) was above their Chronological Age (CA) in February and in November- South Australian Standardised Test
• The percentage of students whose Spelling Age increased by more than 9 months between February and November- South Australian Standardised Test
• The percentage of students who scored greater than 80% in their end of year WordLab test.
• The percentage of students who scored greater than 60% in their end of year WordLab test.
• 92 per cent of students in the whole school had a result of higher than 60% in the end of year WordLab test – taken from the words they have learned throughout the year. These tests were level based.
• 69 per cent of students in the whole school increased their spelling age by more than 9 months.
Points to consider
• The consistency of any spelling programme taught regularly across the whole school, would most likely have shown an improvement in spelling across the school. The WordLab programme was manageable and well liked by all teachers.
• Those students who were individually less successful were possibly not in the correct spelling group. Due to being a school wide programme we judged that self esteem also needed to be considered in placement so no child was in a ‘spelling class’ more than 2 years below their own class and in the case of Year 7/8 students they remained in their home class.
• The best results across the school were seen with the younger students. If continuing with the programme those starting with it will most likely have a culminated effect by the time they reach Year 7/8.
• In the New Entrant room it was difficult to accommodate new pupils starting throughout the year.
• The WordLab programme be continued in 2017. There will be some small adjustments to go alongside teacher recommendations.
• Groupings can be made from the end of year results and adapted when appropriate throughout the year.