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 demographics.
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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