UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing teachers' knowledge and confidence of spelling instruction Hill, Penny


Nearly one out of five children in the classroom may need special help to attain satisfactory levels of literacy. Research findings indicate that teachers are not sufficiently trained to support students who struggle with reading and reading-related disorders such as dyslexia. From a sample of British Columbia teachers (n = 63) this study sought to measure teachers’ knowledge of basic language concepts, teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the nature of reading difficulties and teachers’ confidence in their ability to remediate reading-related difficulties. The results indicate that teachers’ understanding of reading-related difficulties such as dyslexia, and their knowledge and skill of basic language concepts such as phonology, orthography and morphology is limited and highly variable. Teachers’ knowledge of basic language concepts were similar to previous research whereby teachers performed better on items in which implicit knowledge could be applied to correctly identify a multiple choice answer. Over half (52%) of the teachers believe that the English spelling system is unpredictable. The mean score for spelling tasks which required demonstration of explicit knowledge of the spelling rule when adding a suffix to a word with a silent e; recognizing a word’s origin; when ck is used; what letters signal a soft c; all of the ways to spell “long o”; and the ways to spell the consonant “f” was 1 with a range of 0 - 4 out of 6. Only 14% of educators stated that they felt prepared to teach children with learning disabilities. Correlation analyses (Pearson) were computed to assess the relationship between perceived ability and skill. 71% of teachers’ self-report of confidence to analyze students’ spelling errors to inform instruction was minimal to moderate. 86% of teachers’ self-report of confidence to use assessment to inform instruction was minimal to moderate. Overall, findings suggest that teachers lack the confidence and skills for teacher directed instruction necessary to give at-risk students the foundation they need to learn to read.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International