Sound Waves 23/2/21
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand everything there is to know about the Spelling Diagnostic Test, including where to find it, when to administer it, how to mark it and how to incorporate any required remediation into your spelling lessons.
The Spelling Diagnostic Test is an assessment that allows you to both:
There are two versions of the test: the Lower Years Test contains 70 words suitable for students in Years 1–3, and the Upper Years Test contains 70 words suitable for students in Years 4–6.
A student’s score out of 70 is used to compare their spelling ability against an Australian sample of same-aged peers.
Those same 70 words are grouped into ‘sets’ according to the spelling concepts within the words (e.g. Set C: consonant digraphs). A student’s ability to correctly spell the letter or letter combinations associated with the concept in each set is used to diagnose specific spelling strengths and weaknesses.
Log in to your Firefly Online account and open the relevant Sound Waves Online year level. From the home page, scroll down and navigate to the Assessment section.
Here, you’ll find these three downloads:
The Spelling Diagnostic Test should be administered twice per year, at the start of each semester. To get the most out of the diagnostic and remediation process, we recommend the following testing schedule:
The Spelling Diagnostic Test is marked in two sweeps.
The first marking sweep involves looking at whole words and marking them correct or incorrect. Think of this as the ‘traditional’ way of marking a spelling test. It is this score (out of 70) that is used to compare a student’s general spelling ability against same-aged peers.
The second marking sweep involves looking within words and marking specific word parts correct or incorrect (according to the spelling concept within the set).
For example, the focus of Set C in the Lower Years Test is consonant digraphs. The student below receives one mark for each correct consonant digraph. Notice that although the words chin and when are spelled incorrectly, the student still receives a mark for each because the consonant digraph within each word is correct. The scores from each set are used to diagnose a student’s spelling strengths and weaknesses.
You can record and collate scores using the Results Template. For more details on administering and marking the test, see the instructions in the Test Pack.
Use the Remediation Pack to help address any spelling concepts students struggled with in the test. Each Remediation Pack includes:
You can pick and choose from the suggestions provided for each spelling concept, or use the word lists and templates to create your own remediation activities.
Look for opportunities throughout the term to conduct remediation. For example, you could plan to work on remediation in weeks where sound units have simpler phoneme-grapheme relationships.
Depending on the overall results for your class, it may be better to remediate as a whole class or in small groups.
If a large portion of your class found a particular spelling concept difficult, integrate the suggested games for that concept into your Sound Waves lesson warm-ups. Or, use the relevant word lists to model spelling and conduct quick, daily dictation practice.
If just a handful of students require remediation for a particular spelling concept, reteach the concept in a small group using the resources provided in the pack. This works best when scheduled towards the end of your Sound Waves week. By this time most students should be able to work independently on consolidation activities for the week’s sound unit while you work with the small group.
Whether you formally provide homework or not, many parents are eager to support their child’s spelling practice throughout the year. However, some parents may have learned to spell using different approaches to those used in Sound Waves. To ensure Sound Waves…