Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Oregon To Let Students Use Spell Check on State Exams

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the is-there-a-proofreader-in-the-house? dept.

Education 235

Starting in 2011, the Oregon Department of Education will let students spell check their work before submitting state exams. From the article: "The move is supposed to help the assessments focus less on typos and more on their writing skills. 'We are not letting a student's keyboarding skills get in the way of being able to judge their writing ability,' said state Superintendent Susan Castillo. 'As we're using technology to improve what we're doing with assessments as a nation, we believe that spell check will be one of those tools.'"

cancel ×

235 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Post (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633080)

Karma be dammed!!!!

Re:First Post (3, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633196)

"Carma bee dammed"

Re:First Post (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633962)

Posting to remove bad moderation.

frist psot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633118)

spell checking...

FRIST PSOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633162)

I should check that spelling.

Re:FRIST PSOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633670)

Oh buoy! Eye red that an canned be live it. Due ewe? Know words spilled wrong now!

Those reel good Ore gone prostate teachers make me smile.

Get off my lawn... (2)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633174)

I can see it already...

"But the tool is there, so why should people have to learn proper spelling? Why should people have to learn to do math by hand if they have computers available?"

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633312)

Google Japanese Soroban. Also try some better written [amazon.com] algebra books [amazon.com] instead of the mind-crippling shit that passes as "enhanced" these days [amazon.com] . You will be able to tackle any math if your understanding of algebra is firm.

Re:Get off my lawn... (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634006)

I can haz cheezburger when exam is ovr?

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633364)

Of course they should learn math and spelling. But when you're taking an exam in differential calculus, you're typically allowed to use a calculator to do your long division for you, and there's nothing wrong with that, either.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633410)

I don't know where you went to college, but I can't even imagine a situation where you'd need a calculator for a reasonable diff eqs exam. The only thing college kids use calculators for these days anyways is to do differential equations for them.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

zegota (1105649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633952)

It depends. Some teachers design good tests where all the grunt work can be done mentally. Some are lazier and don't really plan the problems out well, and generally let you use a basic non-graphic, non-calculus calculator. But really, those calculators are only useful for skipping out of differentiation/integration in the sweet-spot of calc 1 or 2. Any higher than that, and the calculator is generally clueless, and tries to come to some sort of useless numerical approximation.They're useful for checking work, mainly.

Re:Get off my lawn... (5, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633836)

http://www.math.umn.edu/~rusin018/1271_Fall_2006/extra_1.pdf [umn.edu]

"...Nine times seven, thought Shuman with deep satisfaction, is sixty-three, and I don't need
a computer to tell me so. The computer is in my own head.

And it was amazing the feeling of power that gave him. "

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634014)

Mod parent up. Amazing story... I need to go back and re-read me some Azimov.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633390)

It's not whether or not people should learn how to spell, it's whether or not spelling should be a graded component of that particular exam. If exam takers would normally be docked points for spelling things incorrectly, then spell check should be forbidden. If spelling is not intended to be part of what's graded, then it makes no difference if a student uses spell check or not.

Having said that, saying the exam doesn't at least in part test keyboarding skills, or that using spell checker somehow removes that component, is nonsense. If the test is timed, people who can type faster with more accuracy will have an advantage because they'll have more time to collect their thoughts and more time to revise their tests before the time runs out. Of course, back in the old days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and tests were written out by hand, people who could write faster with better penmanship had an advantage in a similar way.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633832)

back in the old days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and tests were written out by hand, people who could write faster with better penmanship had an advantage in a similar way

It also tended to make the writer think more before expressing himself ... another art lost in the mists of time.

Next up ... 'tweet ur ?s rt 2 the welfare office'

Easy Solution (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633540)

Have them submit both versions that way it's easy to see how much of an impact spell-checking has on the results. Unless they're also doing a grammar check, it's not going to make the results significantly better.

There's something to be said for learning proper spelling and grammar, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a terribly great speller and that without Firefox's built-in spell-check, I'd probably end up with significantly more errors. I'd like to think of it as more of a useful tool than a crutch. Generally I try to delete and correctly spell the word, but sometimes I can't get it spelled right.

Realistically we need something to help compensate for the mangled, bastard language that is English. It's borrowed words and conventions from damn near everywhere on earth and people tend to adopt the slang and jargon it generates into common use. It's not wonder that people have difficulties with spelling.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634118)

Paying attention to what an interactive spell checker is doing may help some learn. It helps if people are that motivated. Some just don't care.

Sometimes the spell checkers just can't figure out what people are attempting to write, but Google can usually guess what is meant.

Perhaps some of that Google code could be adapted to make a good desktop app or browser plugin spell guesser checker helper thing.

It's sad that some employers have to require applications to be done on the spot just to show that applicants can actually read and write.

Scoring too well on exams may be dangerous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Examination_Day [wikipedia.org]

Re:Easy Solution (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634354)

I think that is worth considering spelling is not at all like math or even language composition in terms of correctness and there is doubt of the need for a canonical spelling of each word.

Firstly there are a number of studies that show when reading people really only consider the first and last letters of longer words, all the middle is then fluff that is never needed or filled in from context.

Second, having a correct spelling at all is a pretty new concept in terms of English language history. The first English dictionaries did not appear until around the year 1600. Before that there were no standard spellings if it sounded right and readers could in a non distracting way understand the word as written, it was right. There were complainers before that time who felt English should have standardization but its fair to say authors were authoring and business was taking place just fine before there was an English dictionary.

Personally as far as English is concerned I think the standard still should be if the reader can understand the message the writer message quickly and without being distracted from the message by the encoding then the use of language and spelling should be deemed to be correct.

Worry about, allot being spelled with or without two Ls is for people with a stick shoved up their rear end.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

jpate (1356395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633580)

Ten to one it's just so they get more accurate performance on automatic essay grading. Most tests that are administered to a large number of students rely on Latent Semantic Analysis for essay grading, and perfect spelling means they don't have to deal with Out Of Vocaublary errors.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633760)

When I was in highschool, we got to write english exams on the school lab computers. We could do the exam by hand, but we had the option of using computers if we felt more comfortable doing that. The fact was, even in 1997, that many students would rather type out the essay answers than have to sit there writing with a pen for 2 hours. We had all the advantages that WP5.1 would give us, including spell checking. Computers are the way most people write in 2010. What's the point of making people write stuff out by hand?

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634366)

The important part isn't writing by hand. I hate writing by hand, and my teachers always made me type things because my handwriting sucks. The important part is knowing how to spell properly without having to use spellcheck; assuming that has been taught and evaluated properly, I have no problem with computers being used on tests so long as the appropriate restrictions are in place (no internet access, etc.). Besides, editing is much easier on a computer.

The bit about the calcluators stems from comments I've seen on this site claiming that students (primary K-5, not college) shouldn't have to learn how to do math by hand, but should instead just be issued calculators right from the start, and be allowed to use anything up to and including a regular computer for math tests.

I guess I'm just tired of hearing that we shouldn't be teaching kids how to do things by hand now that we have computers to do those things for us.

Re:Get off my lawn... (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634372)

Mostly the point is old people can't imagine a world where the tools they consider essential are obsolete. But instead of dealing with that fact they throw up some strawman about how we can't lose this vital skill. The appropriate response is typically to ask if they had to learn to ride a horse before driving a car back in the 1900s.

I Think.. (3, Funny)

ameline (771895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633176)

Eye think eye sea what their doing hear. :-)

Or just ignore spelling errors (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633328)

Cute. Per usual it depends on the goal.

My AP English teacher ignored errors (writeo's he called them), and if I recall correctly the AP Exam did too. He expected spelling to be correct for our homework, but not for in-class exams where a 45 minute limit precluded looking-up words in a dictionary. Content & the thesis mattered more than perfection.

Re:Or just ignore spelling errors (2)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633704)

Content & the thesis mattered more than perfection.

I don't know about you, but when I'm reading something and a word is misspelled, particularly if it's misspelled as a completely different word or has all the same letters as a completely different word, or something like a comma is out of place, I become almost completely derailed by the sentence.

Spell check doesn't fix bad writing though :P

Re:Or just ignore spelling errors (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634308)

Spell check doesn't fix bad writing though :P

No doubt.. I think they're looking at spellcheck as just another extension of calculators on math tests. The argument was that the rote computation didn't relate to understanding of mathematics concepts so calculators were benign.

In my day we had penmanship exams... :D And I imagine that at some point they'll allow full word processors to allow the penmanship-challenged to submit work without fear of their papers being illegible.

Re:Or just ignore spelling errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634122)

either way any noob who regularly confuses there/their/they're should fail his class, no exceptions. If you don't understand basic concepts of your language you are a lost cause.

Re:I Think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633556)

Your rite a boat this.

Re:I Think.. (0)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633650)

Eye think eye sea what their doing hear. :-)

Damn pedantic spelling Nazi.

If you are going to correct them, make sure you don't have a spelling error in your own text.
You ignorant slut.
You misspelled a word.

geesh.

It's dong.

Re:I Think.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633796)

First of all, you can't really make the their vs they're mistake anymore, not if you use Microsoft Office 2010. Their new grammar check is much better then it used to be. It picks that mistake up right away.

Secondly, no one mistakenly spells, I as eye.

If you use I instead, Word 2010 also can fix sea into see.

I think I see what they’re doing hear. :-)

So now there is only one mistake left.

Now if you are given the task for composing an essay in 45 minutes, you have to expect that kind of thing to happen. Even for the GRE's, a graduate level exam, you are given a short time to read the question, chose a position, come up with supporting arguments, and compose the essay. You have to type about as fast as you can think at that point. There isn't enough time to go back and proofread carefully. There isn't enough time to slow down and check every word as you type it. In school, and in real life, you are given days or sometimes weeks or months to compose a document. However, on the standardized tests to get into school, you are given 30 or 45 minutes. Half that time might be deciding how you want to answer the question, then you have to type like crazy to finish on time.

Re:I Think.. (2)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634018)

"The The Impotence of Proofreading" by Taylor Mali is an excellent example of the folly in relying on a spell checker.

Re:I Think.. (1)

maiki (857449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634114)

Joking aside, you're exactly right. Cupertinos [wikipedia.org] could be more damaging than actual typos, since a proof-reader should know "axcept", as a typo, is closer to "accept" than "except" ("x" is right next to "c" on a QWERTY keyboard, but "a" is an extra key-length from "e" (or two more in manhattan distance), but a spell checker might suggest "except" first.

In what subject though? (1)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633178)

In a language subject such as English then spelling is a major part of the whole. And an understanding of correct spelling is very important for when you don't have access to spell-checkers.

However for any other subject they shouldn't be marked on what they're already getting marked on in English class. That overlap is simply not required imho... And the real world today lets people use spell checkers, so why not in non-English classes like the various sciences.

Re:In what subject though? (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633306)

"And the real world today lets people use spell checkers, so why not in non-English classes like the various sciences."

the irony inherent in that statement being that a good deal of specialized scientific language won't appear in most commercial spell-checkers anyway.

Re:In what subject though? (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633472)

Indeed. In English it should matter. In my other classes they never graded me on spelling anyway.

Re:In what subject though? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633480)

Even in English it becomes less of a concern at the upper levels. At that level, your thesis and how well you express it is more important than whether or not you misspelled a couple of words. Honestly, this sort of thing would make very little difference in the grades most people receive even if bad spelling was docked before, because people who don't take the time to spell things correctly are usually deficient in other areas such as grammar and writing clarity. People who write high school essays with the same sentence structure and grammatical constructs as you would find in a first grade paper are going to flunk even if they spelled every word correctly.

Re:In what subject though? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634212)

people who don't take the time to spell things correctly are usually deficient in other areas such as grammar and writing clarity

I'm sure there's a class of people that are unable to spell correctly no matter how much time they have and how much of that time they apply to spelling accurately.

For that matter, faced with a written exam with a time limit -- people must decide how they use the limited time they have. Should I be rewarded because I am a champion speller, and can spend more time on the important parts of my composition, while others must devote more of their time to ensuring they spell correctly?

The other thing I'd like to add is that your perception of a correlation between poor spelling and poor grammar and clarity could present a problem -- graders who have that same perception are likely to grade exam-takers with poor spelling worse due to their bias against poor spellers. Maybe poor spelling has a greater impact on grading at high levels than you might suppose. Just food for thought...

Re:In what subject though? (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633738)

So basically you're saying that standards don't need to be as high as they currently are, and that we should lower them?

Re:In what subject though? (1)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633960)

That's not at all what I'm saying.

I'm saying that in English class you should be marked for your skills in using English and in other classes you should be marked for the knowledge taught in those classes.

Do we really need to have these grades overlap and make it harder for the people who are trying to mark the work fairly?

Re:In what subject though? (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634278)

I can't think of a class where you shouldn't know how to correctly spell nouns and use the words covered by that specialty. English may be fine for conversational topics, but technical language is just as important.

Re:In what subject though? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634410)

As we're all aware, the skills one needs to succeed in society are complete static. Therefore, any attempt to remove "obsolete" skills from and educational program are clearly nothing more than an attempt to lower standards. And all these new skills they're teaching are useless anyway; if something needs to be remove it can be those silly things like "typing" and "operating a computer".

Re:In what subject though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634178)

In what subject though?

Spelling.

so what? (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633186)

eye do know think it well make a difference. Eye there they no how to spell, or the checker woe ant help them. On the serious side, the ones that can't spell certainly won't know the difference between their there and they're, its and it's, which and witch, etc. A spell checker will happily help you spell the wrong word correctly, so I don't see this changing much.

I think this makes a lot of cents (1)

mjeffers (61490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633192)

They're our a lot better things to test then spelling. Know, with modern technology, kids can relay on computers to pick up on spelling mistakes and tests can concecrate on learning what students really NO

By then they should know better... (2)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633194)

Considering that the rules apply only to exams taken by middle and high school students, by then, spelling should be less of a concern than content, structure, and adherence to the theme given for the writing. Spellcheck is a tool that they'll be using for 'real life' implementation of the skills being tested, so it seems fairly reasonable to allow them its use.

Sounds like a great idea ... (1)

Picardo85 (1408929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633204)

now we'll have to read text spelled even worse than at the moment when people don't have spell check available :/

Re:Sounds like a great idea ... (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633274)

You've not seen txtspeak before, then?

It's only fair. (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633208)

Honestly, math students have been using calculators on exams for years now, and that's turned out well.

Forcing students to memorize the proper spelling of words is often ineffective, and teaching students to use the goddamn spellcheck would prevent far more errors.

Re:It's only fair. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633400)

It could work, if they teach them to use spellcheck correctly. It's a tool, not a crutch.
And based on the fact that calculators are pretty much used as crutches rather than tools on these tests, I don't think it's going to happen.

Re:It's only fair. (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633566)

No, it really hasn't turned out well.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/04/AR2007120400730.html [washingtonpost.com]

Re:It's only fair. (2)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634204)

Except that has nothing to do with calculator use [questia.com]

Seriously, calculator use in Canadian schools is at least common as it is in the US, and they're outperforming the US alongside Japan and Korea. Think about what you say before you say it.

Re:It's only fair. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633662)

"Forcing students to memorize the proper spelling of words is often ineffective, and teaching students to use the goddamn spellcheck would prevent far more errors."

That which you cannot spell, you may not be able to read.

Employers should use literacy tests to sort wheat from chaff.

Re:It's only fair. (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634240)

That which you cannot spell, you may not be able to read.

Employers should use literacy tests to sort wheat from chaff.

Learn how to use the goddamn tools available to you, like quote tags. You don't even need to write them yourself, you can just press the little "Quote Parent" button.

Re:It's only fair. (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633842)

It's turned out well for those that are doing advanced math for whom there are multiple simple calculations culminating in the final data set required to complete the tested conceptual exercise.

It's worked out quite poorly for students who actually need to learn and master multiplication, division, consistently correct addition and subtraction.

Re:It's only fair. (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634258)

That's what calculators are for.

Re:It's only fair. (2)

l2718 (514756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634060)

Honestly, math students have been using calculators on exams for years now, and that's turned out well.

Having taught mathematics at the university, let me tell you: calculators have been a total disaster. You see students stare at "14/7" and reach for the calculator. Students have no feel for numbers whatsoever, and since they do all the arithmetic by calculator they have had no practice of the algebraic properties of arithmetic, and hence have also failed to learn algebra.

What about:

  • Using Sage/Maple/Mathematica/Wolfram Alpha to solve algebra and calculus problems.
  • driving a car in gym class instead of running?
  • hiring a carpenter instead of doing the work in shop class?

keyboarding? (1)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633224)

Really? Maybe spell-check should have been used on TFA.

Not a big deal (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633252)

Lack of proofreading is still evident, such as typos that still manage to form valid but obviously incorrect words, etc.

Op or tune witty abs pound! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633256)

Eye bee em will may a four tunes yelling op tickle D vices!

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633268)

These kids have become so poor at spelling that we no longer know how to effectively teach them, so we're dropping it as a requirement.

My wife works with middle and high schoolers on a daily basis (she runs a youth center); as a result, we have the opportunity to view their Facebook and MySpace pages where they talk amongst themselves. We get that kids aren't going to be as concerned about spelling on an internet social networking site, but to the untrained eye it looks like they intentionally misspell each word as badly (and often as hilariously) as they possibly can. Unfortunately, for a lot of them, we know it's not intentional, they've just been ignored throughout by both their parents and their teachers.

And really, if they're worried about keyboarding being a bottleneck, then teach keyboarding.

Now I feel old (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633276)

I remember a time where I was forbidden calculators in class at ANY time, not just during exams.

Re:Now I feel old (4, Interesting)

hierofalcon (1233282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633476)

Calculators were forbidden in high school chemistry till we could show the teacher that we could use a slide rule properly. Then we could use calculators. If I remember correctly, this was the first class where calculators were allowed / suggested at all.

Re:Now I feel old (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633808)

I don't have a problem with allowing calculators... once the student has demonstrated that he can function without one. The same goes for spell-checkers. I'm happy that Firefox has it, and it helps me, but I can spell better than most people without one. These are tools, not crutches, or at least that's how their supposed to be used.

In an education environment where keyboarding and using PowerPoint are considered "computer science", we can only expect other similar nonsense.

Our schools (including higher education) in the U.S. have almost completely abandoned the idea of "education" and seem content to merely train workers, and poorly at that.

Spelling check, surely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633280)

Unless they believe students are using magic to cheat on the exams?

Re:Spelling check, surely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634096)

+1

Pesky lameness filter ..

Looking to the future (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633290)

That's OK, our governor's vision for the state is to supply fast-food labor to California anyway. Or it would be if he had a vision.

No... (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633338)

I'm sorry, but I was not allowed to use a calculator or any form of spell checking in grammar, middle or high school. It has prompted me to increase my vocabulary and editorial skills through the years. Spell checking apps are not flawless and should not be allowed when taking exams if the goal of the exam is to test the writing skills of a student as spelling and grammar are part and parcel of good writing skills.

Re:No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633520)

Well the world is a lot smaller now. I carry a cell phone that gives me access to just about the whole of human knowledge almost everywhere on the planet. Why should I bother to waste my brain power memorizing a bunch of bull shit? A spell checker doesn't automatically perfect your spelling. You still have to have some basic skill, but in a very different way. If that's how these kids' lives are going to be, then why not have them practice that way? Because you didn't? Sorry, caveman.

Re:No... (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633790)

So, because we have better technology we should lower standards for knowledge?

Re:No... (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634148)

Not at all, but the poster's point was that certain knowledge is no longer necessary, freeing up our minds for other types.

Which is the more useful skill, knowing facts that a reasonably intelligent person from, say, 20 years ago knows or knowing the concepts and being able to rapidly find the relevant facts? One is a task well suited for the human brain (concepts, relationships between concepts, etc), the other is just memorization. Like it or not, there are certain things that we just don't need to know anymore. It is a much more efficient use of learning time learning concepts and how to locate information than it is to memorize random facts.

Re:No... (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633708)

I suppose you had to walk uphill to school in the snow every day barefoot, too. It made you stronger and healthier, kids these days don't know how good they have it. I would expect /. at least to have less technophobia than this, realize that spell check is a tool that is going to be useful in our daily lives, and rote memorization of just about anything is becoming more and more ridiculous.

Dropping standards to raise them? (1)

whitehaint (1883260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633348)

Wow, I remember taking spelling classes in elementary school. In English spelling has everything to do with what you are writing, as the wrong form of a word can imply a different meaning just as punctuation makes a difference. I shudder to think how the sciences will be further butchered. Working in land survey and performing and needing to know various simple trig formulas I am amazed when I see someone who can't even understand why a particular number comes from the magic adding machine. Anyways, off topic!

Oh dear! (1)

Gunkerty Jeb (1950964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633356)

'We are not letting a student's keyboarding skills get in the way of being able to judge their writing ability,' ...but you are willing to disregards one's ability to spell when assessing their writing abilities. I have an idea. Why don't we just have adults take test for the kids or ban testing all together, then when the time comes for the kids to grow up, we'll just sell them as slaves to the Chinese.

Re:Oh dear! (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633498)

... when the time comes for the kids to grow up, we'll just sell them as slaves to the Chinese.

...but they'll be illiterate. Would the Chinese want them?

Writing skills? (1)

Alumoi (1321661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633396)

So you're suppose to have [b]writing[/b] skills without having basic knowledge of grammar?

Re:Writing skills? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633750)

Since no one reads any more, our language is devolving at an alarming rate. I guess the schools are accommodating that trend. While it's very important to be taught actual grammar, the only way you're going to really learn it deep-down is by being exposed to a lot of good grammar, and the only place to find that is good books, and lots of them.

p.s. I think you mean "supposed".

Lowering the bar so that Dumb people feel smart!? (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633424)

This is just lowering the bar so that dumb people feel smart!
This does 2 things:
-Makes US High School Diplomas worthless (Hey, if the illiterate can get through HS, why would I want to hire one with a HS Diploma?)
-Gives a false sense of confidence when they go to college.(Results: more drop outs)

Re:Lowering the bar so that Dumb people feel smart (3, Insightful)

egamma (572162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633546)

This is just lowering the bar so that dumb people feel smart! This does 2 things: -Makes US High School Diplomas worthless (Hey, if the illiterate can get through HS, why would I want to hire one with a HS Diploma?) -Gives a false sense of confidence when they go to college.(Results: more drop outs)

I fail to see how illiterate people would benefit from a spelling checker. It's not a text to speech program--they would still have to string words together to form ideas, and write a semblance of the word for the spelling checker to offer the correct spelling.

And if the colleges allow spelling checkers--and any class that lets you type your paper in your dorm room does--then college performance won't be impacted.

Re:Lowering the bar so that Dumb people feel smart (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634226)

My point is:

w%d u hire sum1 hu finx dis S proper en or S unabl 2 tel d diff?

Translation courtesy of
http://www.lingo2word.com/translatetxt.php?searcher1=word&tosearch1=Create+Cool+Text+Messages+,+Just+Type+Your+Message+in+the+left+box [lingo2word.com]

Justification (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633444)

I don't think I've ever heard a good justification for lowering standards.

Re:Justification (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633718)

Too bad you don't work for the government then. They don't seem to have any people like you.

It's/its? (2)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633494)

Like that'll stop them from the usual:

there/their
your/you're

and pretty much everything else listed here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling [theoatmeal.com]

I'm a heavy user of spell check, but in no way do I think we should rely solely on that. I have friends who still think it's spelled "congradulations" and that's not a typo. That's just tragic.

Spoken Exams (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633500)

Maybe they should just have the exams spoken aloud. That way there won't be any controversy about spell checkers. If words sound the same, they can swap them any way they see fit.

Crossing Oregon off the List (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633600)

Oregon is now officially removed from my list of places I would consider moving my family.

You know what is worse? (1)

FlapHappy (937803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633614)

There are many adults that have spell check, and don't use it. If Oregon is giving them tests on a computer, fine, then grade them on that medium. If they fail to USE the spell check functionality, just fail them, or at least seriously penalize them on any test. I know that my spelling ability has degraded since I was in school simply because my process has changed to typing as fast as possible and then editing, not thinking about each letter as a type it so that red underlines won't appear. This leads to some sloppiness that has to be cleaned up after the initial pass, but it is WAY more productive for me than torturing myself over the spelling of some words, like I would if I were writing it out with a pen. If I had pen out an entire essay now, it would probably take me three or four times as long, at minimum. People use computers now, spell checking functions are built into almost all document editors, and no employer cares how you produce an error-free document as long as you do. These are high school students on the cusp of adulthood, not 3rd graders. It is way better to judge them on real word standards, not academic standards that have outlived their usefulness.

Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633620)

They're going to flunk anyway. A spell checker doesn't help versus using "there" or "their" or "they're". "There" refers to location ("over there"), while "their" is plural third person posessive ("their club"), and "they're" is a contraction for "they are" ("they're stuck with Windows"). Yes, I try strenuously not to be a grammar nazi.

The calculator analogy doesn't really work, because numbers are logical; the English language isn't. Driving on a parkway and parking on a driveway. We "change the baby" and come back with the same baby. We put it on a ship, and call it cargo, but then put it in a car and call it a shipment. Then, to top it off, we click "Start" to shut down the computer. I before E except after C and certain Thursdays in Leap Year January while eating peanuts under a full moon.

Bah, humbug.

Brilliant educators strike again... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633654)

I am totally discussed by this. They defiantly should not allow spell-checkers. Allot of people use spell-check as a crutch rather than a tool.

I see all three of those mistakes frequently and I can guarantee it's because of spell-checkers. It's just another step on the road towards our schools completely abandoning their jobs and turning out graduates who are even more useless in the workforce. Do I use a spell-checker? Yes. I tend to get confused between "-ant" and "-ent" on some words and other similar problems. It's helpful and saves me from having to use the dictionary as much. But can I communicate just fine without a spell-checker? Definitely, yes. If you can't, then a spell-checker is just going to make you look like more of an idiot, plus you'll never learn the right way to spell things.

Of course, the best solutions to all of these problems is for kids (and everyone else) to read, read, read. And I'm not talking about /. (I once saw a kid bragging about his literacy by citing how much he read Digg. At least I hope it was a kid...) Dig out some real books and read them. Newspapers and most magazines don't count (for learning the language anyway... they might be fine for informational purposes). Better yet, sprinkle your reading with liberal doses of material older than 50 years, preferably older than 100. That will do more than any class to improve your language skills, spelling and grammar.

What effort do you feel your audience is worth? (2)

Philomage (1851668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633702)

Not taking the effort to spell correctly or use proper grammar is a sign that you don't think your audience is worth it (assuming it's not merely a sign of ignorance). Why should arrogance be rewarded?

This is a good thing (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633880)

Spell checkers are a part of the technology for a reason. If you use the technology you get to use the spell check too just like grown ups because keyboards are still a crap way to input text and users deserve a pass on typos. There are other means to check spelling if it really is a problem, but the English language has got along just fine with alternative spellings. Perhaps if it were a grammar checker that would be different.

Re:This is a good thing (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634290)

There are lots of grammar checkers and they're almost universally terrible because English is a horrible language to work with as a computer. We ignore half of our own grammatical rules and an awful lot of things that you write or say are dependent entirely on context for their meaning.

How about we take the traditional approach and make everyone do everything the hard way while they're at school? Once they're in the real world they can use all the cheats and short-cuts they want, but they should at least know how to do it properly if they need to.

Done and done (1)

wootest (694923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633896)

This will "defiantly" fix the problem.

Their going to regret it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633898)

You herd me.

Good (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633906)

Wasting cycles on spelling is asinine. If they're truly illiterate, they probably won't do well on the test anyway. It's not like our spelling rules REALLY make sense, nor were they enforced until the last century or two.

That's just using the right tool for the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633956)

Stephen Wolfram argued for using computer algebra systems for maths courses, as that allows more real maths skills to be developed instead of mechanistic formula manipulation skills.

In my opinion spelling should be correct in texts other people want me to read. And I want some interesting content. Computers can take care of the first problem, leaving people more time to develop their skills for solving the second one.

Good riddance to wasted brainpower (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633980)

It's time to stop living in the past and realize that our brain power can be put to better use than idiotic grammar rules. I don't think even pessimistic people can say we'll still need to even use our brains in another 100 years as computers will be able to update our facebook profiles for us.

OR... change the grading system (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633992)

Just weight the grading system appropriately. Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation is PART of writing. Make sure those who are able to construct sentences, spell, and punctuate at or above their level get sufficient credit for the multiple years of effort, but don't let minor errors stand in the way of a high grade on content.

60% Content (Response to question, validity of argument, validity of examples, complexity of argument)
20% Structure (Uses sentences and paragraphs to organize response. Uses topic and conclusion sentences and paragraphs.)
10% Grammar
5% Spelling (-1% for every 3 spelling errors, 5% cap of loss)
5% Punctuation (-1% for every 3 punctuation errors, 5% cap of loss)

Welcome to the real world of educational evaluation. This is why standardized testing cannot replace subjective reading and review. If you want to get correct results, you have to put in the effort.

If you just let students use spell-checkers, they're never going to bother to learn the damn words and you'll breed a generation of people who don't care about the words they use or how they use them. Then communication suffers overall. -- There's a reason we put in the effort.

You're fired! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634038)

It is good that they don't care about spelling anymore. Spelling errors are a good excuse to fire employees that I don't like. The worse they spell the easier it is to fire them.
- Broad refuses to give me a blowjob - fired for bad spelling.
- Slackers go on strike - fired for bad spelling.
- Idiot is on medical or pregnancy leave - fired for bad spelling.
- Douche gives me an attitude and thinks he's smarter than me - fired for bad spelling.
- Need to make room because my daughter wants to work in my company - fire someone for bad spelling.

I think this is awesome. Keep it going!

Checking Spells in Oregon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634270)

I wasn't aware that wicca was that popular in Oregon. In Massachusetts, maybe, but in Oregon it seems a bit strange.

why not let them use dragon? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634376)

why not let them use dragon?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>