An Online Literacy Assessment (OLA) to support the development of Student Teachers’ Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Students training to be teachers have not only to be competent in writing academically but also to be confident in teaching literacy in their classrooms. Our experience of observing them deliver lessons and marking their written assignments indicates that many students require guidance in developing their own literacy skills. To highlight the importance of literacy and to provide a framework within which they can evaluate their knowledge and focus on their personal areas for development, we devised an online literacy assessment (OLA). This paper presents the content and results of the OLA which was designed to test key weaknesses in our students’ knowledge and understanding: terminology relevant to the teaching of language in the primary school, grammar, spelling and punctuation. The vast majority of students in Initial Teacher Education (ITE)
    at the University of Dundee participated with a total sample size of 342. Results indicate that students in years 1 and 2 of the Bachelor of Education course scored significantly lower than students in the other year groups (years 3 and 4 and the one year postgraduate course). Students were found to have difficulty with recognition of clauses, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, subjects and objects of sentences. Difficulties in punctuation were found in relation to apostrophes, commas, semi-colons, colons and common and proper nouns. Implications for HEs in the context of literacy and use of OLA will be discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA) Annual Conference 2011
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventScottish Educational Research Association (SERA) Annual Conference 2011: Educational Research in an Age of Austerity - Stirling Highland Hotel, Stirling, United Kingdom
    Duration: 24 Nov 201125 Nov 2011 (Link to conference information)


    ConferenceScottish Educational Research Association (SERA) Annual Conference 2011
    Abbreviated titleSERA 2011
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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