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Spelling (2003)

The Drumcondra Primary Spelling Test (DPST)

A standardised spelling test developed specifically for use in Irish primary schools, the DPST is the country's leading spelling test for pupils. Benefits and features of the test include the following:

  • Standardised on 12,000 Irish pupils in 2003

  • A Level for each class from 1st to 6th. Two Forms available for each Level

  • Track student performance from year-to-year

  • Includes suggested teaching content for students based on the 1999 English curriculum

The DPST measures three key spelling-related skills:

  1. Word spelling (pupils spell words called out by the teacher).

  2. Sentence or story completion (pupils write out the missing words in a text that is read aloud by the teacher).

  3. Error detection (pupils identify common spelling errors, and write the correct spellings). Level 1 of the DPST does not include the error detection task.


The DPST was standardised on over 12,000 pupils in a nationally representative sample of Irish primary schools in May 2003. It was designed to include words that pupils have encountered in the curriculum, and words that are of high utility (high-frequency words). 


Total testing time, including instructions, is approximately 45 to 50 minutes.

There are six Levels of the test, to correspond with First through Sixth class in primary school. There are two Forms available for each level. Because the test is read aloud, only one Form (A or B) can be administered in any given session.


As well as raw scores, standard scores, sTen scores and percentile ranks, teachers can use the DPST to place scores on a test-wide scale.  This means that you can track the progress of pupils from year to year, as they complete Levels 3-6 of the test.  The DPST manual includes a chapter providing suggestions on teaching spelling to pupils who need extra support.  The chapter content is designed to complement the 1999 Primary School English Curriculum: Teacher Guidelines.

Summary Features of DPST

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