Investigating Learners' Spelling Errors in Their Compositions: Persistency and Frequency with Particular Reference to Yekatit 12 Preparatory School Grade 12 Students

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2009-06

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Addis Ababa University

Abstract

The major purpose of the study was investigating students' spelling errors in compositions they produced. To reach this goal instruments such as composition writing; multiple choice test, which contain three misspelled and a correctly spelt word, having 30 questions were designed; and checklistfor relative coverage of spelling lessons of grade 12 text book were prepared. The subjects of the study were Yekatit 12 Preparatory School grade 12 students and teachers. From 658, i.e. 14 classes, total population 235, i.e. 5 classes, were taken using purposive sampling. Then, systematic random sampling technique was employed to choose 70, i.e. 29.7%, samples from 235 students. The selected samples were taken to two classrooms, i.e. 35 in each, and invited to write the composition. On the next day the test was administered to the students. Following the test, 15 students from the samples and four English language teachers were interviewed. The errors obtained in the composition and the test were subjected to five major categories, i.e.· Addition, Omission, Substitution, Transposition, and Semantically Different Words. To analyze and interpret the data both"quantitative and qualitative methods were applied In a similar vein analyzed data revealed that 1937, i.e. 13.5%, spelling errors were found from 14,357 total number of words observed in the compositions; and from the total number of 1033 errors in the test, an individual student, on average, committed14.8 errors from the 30 multiple choice questions. Of the error types Omission and Substitution took the lions share. Particularly Vowels arefound to be the deficits of students. However, it doesn't mean that the rest error types have insignificant role in blocking readersfrom what the students intended to convey. Rather, semantically different words used in the learners' compositions, especially homonyms,/ were found the most problematic parts of the error types at grade 12 level. In conclusion, spelling seems the most neglected skill which both students and teachers give little attention. Accordingly, to help students develop their spelling skill much has to be done by both teachers and students. Teachers have to get the courage and motive to design teaching materials and assist their students. Students, on the other hand, should try to use their own effort to improve their spelling skill so as to communicate effectively through writing. It should also be noted that integrated teaching of pronunciation and spelling has contribution for students' spelling improvement.

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Spelling Errors

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