Document Type



Purpose: Spelling is a skill that relies on an individual’s linguistic awareness, the ability to overtly manipulate language. The ability to accurately spell is important for academic and career success into adulthood. The spelling skills of adults have received some attention in the literature, but there is limited information regarding which approach for analyzing adults’ spelling is optimal for guiding instruction or intervention for those who struggle. Thus, we aimed to examine the concurrent validity of four different scoring methods for measuring adults’ spellings (a dichotomous scoring method and three continuous methods) and to determine whether adults’ linguistic awareness skills differentially predict spelling outcomes based on the scoring method employed. Method: Sixty undergraduate college students who were determined to be average readers as measured by a word reading and contextual word reading task, were administered a spelling task as well as morphological, orthographic, phonemic, and syntactic awareness tasks. Results: All four scoring methods were highly correlated suggesting high concurrent validity among the measures. Two linguistic awareness skills, morphological awareness and syntactic awareness, predicted spelling performance on both the dichotomous and continuous scoring methods. Contrastively, phonemic awareness and orthographic awareness predicted spelling performance only when spelling was scored using a continuous measure error analysis. Conclusions: The results of this study confirm that multiple linguistic awareness skills are important for spelling in adults who are average readers. The results also highlight the need for using continuous measures of spelling when planning intervention or instruction, particularly in the areas of orthographic and phonemic awareness.

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APA Citation

Henbest, V., Fitton, L., Werfel, K., & Apel, K. (2020). The Relation Between Linguistic Awareness Skills and Spelling in Adults: A Comparison Among Scoring Procedures. Journal Of Speech, Language, And Hearing Research, 63(4), 1240-1253.