Spelling Ability Test and Course Pathway - Notes
(pre 28/08/2020)

The Spelling Ability Test was updated on 28/08/2020 - the notes below refer to the previous version of the test. Click here to view the updated teachers notes.

Technical requirements.

To take the Spelling Ability Test each student will need a computer with headphones and an internet connection. We advise supervising the student during the test to get an accurate result.

The Spelling Ability Test is used to:

  • Provide a starting point for students in the Spellzone spelling course.
  • Provide a tailored course individually for a student (their Course Pathway) which will include the Spellzone Starter Course (if required) and Main Course.
  • Find specific gaps in a student’s spelling ability.
  • Document student achievements and provide evidenced progress.
  • Identify units that students should repeat.

Method of testing.

The Spelling Ability Test is a series of words randomly drawn from three lists and getting progressively more difficult. Each word relates to a particular unit, with at least two words representing every unit.

If all words relating to a particular unit are answered correctly then the unit will not be included as part of the Course Pathway. Usually one incorrect answer means that the unit will form part of the students Course Pathway but this algorithm does vary slightly according to other results and the unit being tested. If a word is not reached due to the test being stopped the related unit will also be included in the course pathway.

Once a student gets a set percentage of questions incorrect in any part of the test, the test will finish and they will be presented with the results and a Course Pathway. This varies at different stages of the test but normally around 2 to 3 questions incorrect out of 10 will cause the test to finish.

Spelling Ability Test Results.

Results of the test are given in two ways:

  • As a percentage score.
  • As a Course Pathway. This will indicate both the point at which they should start the Spellzone course and any individual units which should be studied.

NOTES: The test will give a general indication of spelling ability though the test is not intended to give an indication of spelling age.

How to turn Spelling Ability Test ON and OFF?

The default for NEW student logins is ON.

The Spelling Ability Tests for each student can be turned ON and OFF at any time by teachers and administrators in the admin area. Teachers, Administrators and single users can turn it on for their own login in ‘My details’

NOTE: The Spelling Ability Test and Course Pathway are linked.

If a student has a Course Pathway and the auto testing is disabled, then the Course Pathway is removed. All previous test results are retained in the student's results but a Course Pathway is not visible to the student until the auto-testing is re-activated.

How long does the test take?

The test can take anywhere between 1 minute and a maximum of 15 minutes depending on the ability of each student. There are 110 questions in the full test and to answer all questions correctly takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Usually the test is shorter than this.

How often is the test taken?

Students cannot take the Spelling Ability Test at any time they feel like it. They can only access the test when at certain points mentioned below*.

A student is provided with a link to the Spelling Ability Test:

  • The first time of logging into an account or the first login after the test has been set as automatic for the first time.
  • After every 8 units that are completed.

The algorithm deciding if a Spelling Ability Test is due at a certain point in the course will apply the test immediately when the user reaches key points in the course – as outlined above.

For users who haven’t previously done the Spelling Ability Test it is applied at the given key point regardless of what Spellzone units they have previously studied.

*Teacher, Administrators and single users can reset the test on the ‘Spelling Ability Tests’ page within the results section.


Students are given the chance to start-again at any stage of a test, for example if they become distracted or know they have made some errors. This choice will take the student back to the beginning of the test and will delete the answers given previously regardless if they were correct or incorrect.

If the test is abandoned without being completed the student can continue later from an appropriate place which may mean the student has to repeat a few words.

The student will be informed if the Spelling Ability Test was not completed. If not completed, the test will continue from the last point the student reached.

Three steps to spelling success...

1. The Spelling Ability Test
Take the test to get a baseline score
and a personal course pathway.
2. Spelling Course
Work through your personal course
pathway based on phonic progression.
3. Word Lists
1000s of targeted lists or your own to
use with fun activities and worksheets.

Find out more >>

Try Spellzone for free