Date of Award

Winter 12-21-2018

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Janet E. Spector

Second Committee Member

William Dee Nichols

Third Committee Member

Victoria Bennett-Armistead

Additional Committee Members

Sara Flanagan

Julie Cheville


This study investigated first and second grade teachers’ understanding of their students’ skill in spelling words of varying difficulty. Specifically, teachers judged their students’ item- by-item performance on a twelve-item spelling test adapted from a commercially available developmental spelling inventory. Results showed that teachers’ judgments were accurate 77% of the time, a figure similar to accuracy levels reported in previous teacher judgment research in the area of literacy. The study also included an error analysis task that was designed to assess teachers’ knowledge of developmental spelling. Results revealed a significant relationship (r = .42) between teacher judgment accuracy and performance on the error analysis task. That is, teachers whose error analyses reflected greater knowledge of developmental spelling were more accurate in judging their students spelling skills than teachers whose error analyses attended less to developmental spelling trends.