Princeton City Schools are no
longer using traditional spelling tests in elementary school classrooms.
After a parent reached out,
FOX19 investigated concerns about the loss of the weekly exams.
According to associate
superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse, the decision was made to drop the tests
following the implementation of new curriculum.
While the tests are no longer
used, Crouse says spelling instruction is still included in the new approach.
The district adopted the curriculum with the help of a federal grant.
Crouse says the coursework
has proved promising in a district on the other side of the state with similar
Glendale Elementary School
teacher, Stephanie Landon, understands parents may have some concerns about the
new approach, but she stands behind the new teaching methods.
Instead of weekly tests, kids
focus on learning phonics and the patterns and rules of spelling and grammar.
In that way, spelling is integrated into the overall coursework.
"I grew up having a spelling
test every week too but I don't think it made me a better speller," Landon
argued. "A lot of kids last year, they would know that spelling pattern
and then as soon as we were done they would write a word a in a project the
next week and not spell it correctly, even though they make 100 percent on
their spelling test."
"When we went to school there
was a spelling book and a grammar book and all those separate subjects," Crouse
said. "When we know better we do better."
Crouse says tests are just
one way to assess kids' spelling skills.
"If I know the rule I have a
better shot of spelling that correctly as opposed to memorizing a spelling
list," Crouse explained.
She says while technology is
an important tool for students to use, and a tool increasingly found in the
classroom, technology has not replaced the need for spelling skills.
"Yes, spell check is great
but it doesn't change the fact that students need to understand spelling
patterns, need to understand the mechanics," she argued.
Crouse says while the
occasional test might still happen, as a general rule time will not be
dedicated specifically to spelling instruction.
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