Spelling (2003)

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The Drumcondra Primary Spelling Test (DPST)

The DPST is a set of standardised spelling tests developed specifically for group administration in Irish primary schools.  It measures three key spelling-related skills:

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

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

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

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

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.

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