Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Process

Right now I am aiming to have four manual typewriters. These will be assigned to four students each grade period (5 total). This means I will have a cohort of 20 students using a typewriter for their daily journaling activity.

To assess their basic skills in spelling, I have created a two-part 50 question assessment. Part I offers a sentence and a choice between two spellings of a word. The student will need to bubble in a letter corresponding to the correct answer. A choice between two words will most closely mirror a standard writing assignment. Every writer, when mulling over the spelling of a word, will try to imagine other options. This assessment will mirror the mental process of choosing between two options. Part two will be more de-contextualized. The student will need to choose the incorrectly spelled word from a list of words. The word sets offer no logical connection.

I will take the raw score and assign each student a spelling ability quotient. A similar test will be offered over the course of the semester to see how well the students are progressing.

After some basic instructions on how to use a typewriter, the student will be responsible for typing their journal on a daily basis. After they have completed the journal, I will ask the student to highlight any words that he or she feels might be spelled incorrectly. Then, I will grade the assignment and compare the number of misspelled words to the number of words that the student has self-identified as being suspect. This will create a ratio of spelling mistakes to self-identified errors.

In addition to the typewriters, I will choose 20 other students to function as a control group. They will complete the same assignment, however, they will not be using a typewriter.

I will hand each student the work back and offer then a chance to reflect on their performance.

This information will be recorded in a database program over the course of the school year. Major landmark data set evaluations will be conducted at the 3 and 6 week mark of each semester remaining in the year.

As the data set develops we will be able to see a spelling trend and whether that trend is linked to typewriter usage.