I’ve written before about how harmful too much standardized testing is for most students, save those who are good testers and memorizers. One of the things I dread the most about going back to school is the whole testing thing, though I will make sure I receive accommodation this time around.
Oddly enough, one thing I haven’t written much about is the horrible time I had with spelling when I was younger. I still have trouble with spelling, but it doesn’t matter quite as much now, since I’ve gotten pretty good at editing, spotting what spellcheck misses and that sort of thing.
Today, I came across this article about the new testing requirements for primary schoolers in the UK. The government is putting strict spelling regulations in place for all students to move on to secondary school, requiring these kids to spell 100 specific words. I cringed when I thought about how harmful this measure can be.
Teachers have pushed back, because it’s both discriminatory against dyslexic students and stifles the creativity that writing can encourage. Most dyslexics have a terrible time with spelling. By requiring kids to be able to spell a specific list of words instead of allowing their vocabularies to grow naturally, they’re discouraging creative thought and deeper reading comprehension.
The outcry was so large that the government then sent out a clarification stating that students will now be allowed to use dictionaries for the assessments.
So, first they want to make sure all students be able to spell whatever those 100 words are, and now they’re basically saying kids who can’t spell those words can now look them up at test time?
Yes, rather confusing.
What are they really trying to do?
I’m obviously not the only bewildered party.