A comparative analysis of atypical and typical spelling abilities

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Scott, Christine M.
Strattman, Kathy H.

The spelling abilities of older students with atypical spelling were compared to younger spelling-age matched students with typical spelling. The purpose was to determine if older students performed similarly to the younger students when spelling errors were analyzed according to four spelling components (phonological, orthographic, morphological, and mental orthographic images). Students’ errors were also analyzed based on specific orthographic spelling patterns. Fourteen students with atypical spelling (6th through 9th grades) were matched with 14 students with typical spelling (1st through 4th grades) based on their raw scores from the Test of Written Spelling-4 (TWS-4). Spelling error analysis of the 14 matched pairs was conducted by administering the Spelling Performance Evaluation of Language and Literacy (SPELL). The SPELL is a computerized program that incorporates algorithms to analyze spelling errors based on four spelling components and also 120 specific orthographic spelling patterns. A one way MANOVA was conducted with group as the independent variable and the number of intervention recommendations for each spelling component entered as the multiple dependent variables. Differences regarding the number of recommendations for each linguistic component were not significant. Although not significant, the students with atypical spelling performed better in the phonological component, while the students with typical spelling performed better in the remaining components. Regarding the broad spelling categories, a two (group) x eleven (consonants, consonant digraphs, short vowels, long vowels, other vowels, within word doubling, clusters, vocalic /r/ and /l/, silent letters, schwas, and inflected words) ANCOVA was conducted. Differences for age were significant in the consonant group. Other differences for group based on the 11 categories were not significant. Differences for group concerning the total number of possible spellings within each broad spelling category were not significant. Also, age as the covariate was not significant

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Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Health Professions, Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders