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Oregon State Tests To Allow Spell Check In 2011

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/17/10 01:11 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

Spell Check
Oregon will begin letting students spell check their work on both paper and online exams in 2011.

The Oregon Department of Education no longer feels its students need to be able to spell, at least when it comes to state exams.

Oregon students will have the option of first spell checking their work before submitting state exams in 2011, reports the Oregonian.

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."

The new rules only apply to middle and high school students, according to the Tri-City Herald.

However, not all Oregonian lawmakers are so keen on the idea, which was presented Tuesday to the Oregon House Education Committee. "I don't think it's in the best interest of our kids," said Rep. Rom Maurer, who ran against Castillo in May. "That's just my philosophy."

While the new system will help students identify misspelled words, it won't correct things like missed punctuation and bad grammar.

"Students must still know how to recognize a correct word and correct spelling," said Tony Alpert, director of assessment at the state Department of Education. "We're giving one additional tool to students to identify potential misspellings. It's consistent with how we might expect kids to learn how to use the technology in life."

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