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Mossing, Courtney R.
The morphological complexity of spelling, ages 8 to 15 years
h [electronic resource] /
by Courtney R. Mossing.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
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Thesis (M.S.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
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ABSTRACT: Learning to spell requires integration of phonological, orthographic, and morphological knowledge. Historically, spelling development has been characterized by linear stages in which children learn to use these knowledge bases in succession. A more recent view challenges the linearity of this approach and proposes that spelling development from the beginning is characterized by the simultaneous interaction of all three linguistic factors. Minimal research exists that qualitatively investigates the integration of these three factors, especially as noted in derivational morphology. The study's purpose was to investigate spelling accuracy and qualitatively analyze the morphological error patterns of typically developing children, ages 8-15 years, for a future comparison to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).Twenty-nine typically-developing children were age- and gender-matched to children with ASD from a companion study (Wiggins, 2009) to conduct quantitative comparisons. After inclusion measures were administered, the children completed a spelling test that analyzed various morphological aspects of spelling, including homonyms, inflections, and derivations. Results of the quantitative analyses revealed that children in the ASD group made significantly more errors than children in the typically developing group on the spelling test. Nevertheless, performances across the morphological categories tested were similar across groups and followed the pattern described in previous research (Carlisle, 1988, 2000).Qualitative analysis used a unique coding system, the Phonological, Orthographic, and Morphological Analysis of Spelling (POMAS; Silliman, Bahr, & Peters, 2006), which allowed for analysis by linguistic category (e.g., phonological, orthographic, morphological) and specific error features (e.g., letter-sound correspondences, consonant errors, vowel digraphs, etc.). Overall, the typically developing children produced the most errors in orthography, followed by phonology, with the fewest errors being attributed to morphology. Four major linguistic feature error patterns emerged involving vowel errors, letter doubling confusion, misspelled derivational suffixes, and sonorant cluster reduction. Spelling performance on the experimental spelling measure was correlated with age, but was not correlated with parents' educational level or language-related subtests. Younger children made more errors than older children in all morphological categories.Findings supported the importance of qualitative investigations of spelling errors in order to effectively characterize linguistic skill in spelling.
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Advisor: Sylvia F. Diehl, Ph.D.
x Communication Sciences and Disorders
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
The Morphological Complexity of Spelling, Ages 8 to 15 Years by Courtney R. Mossing A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Department of Communicati on Sciences and Disorders College of Behavioral and Community Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Sylvia F. Diehl, Ph.D. Ruth Huntley Bahr, Ph. D. Elaine R. Silliman, Ph. D. Date of Approval: July 14, 2009 Keywords: phonology, orthography, autism, POMAS, literacy Copyright 2009 Courtney R. Mossing
ii Table of Contents List of Tables vi List of Figures vii Abstract viii Chapter One: Literature Review 1 Theories of Spelling Development 2 The Late Model 2 Three Phase Theories 3 The Early Model 5 Comparisons and Summary 6 Spelling Development in Typi cally Developing Children 7 Roles of Phonology and Orthography in Spelling 7 Role of Morphology in Spelling 8 Inflectional Morphology 9 Derivational Morphology 9 Summary 10 Spelling Development in Language Learni ng Disabilities (LLD), Dyslexia, and ASD 11 Children with LLD and Dyslexia 11 Children with LLD 11 Children with Dyslexia 13
iii Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) 14 Summary 16 Purpose and Research Questions 17 Chapter Two: Method 18 Participants 18 Inclusion Criteria 18 Materials 21 Measures 21 Experimental Materials 21 Word Frequency 22 Presentation of Experimental Protocol 23 Procedures 23 Part 1: Inclusion 23 Part 2: Experimental Measure Administration 24 Data Reduction 24 POMAS Analysis 25 Inter-Rater Reliability 26 Chapter Three: Results 27 Differences between Groups (Question 1) 27 Linguistic Feature Error Patterns on Morphologically-Based Spelling Task (Question 2) 29 Decision Making Rules 32 Error Analysis by Category 33
iv Orthographic Feature Errors 35 Phonological Feature Errors 36 Feature Errors That Combined Linguistic Categories 37 Morphological Feature Errors 38 Morphological Spelling Test Performa nce and Particip ant Variables (Questions 3 and 4) 40 Participants Ages and Parents Education Levels 40 Age 41 Parents Education 42 Performance on Standardized Language Measures 42 Summary of Results 43 Chapter Four: Discussion 45 Specific Questions Addressed 46 Group Differences in Performance on the Spelling Task 46 Linguistic Feature Erro r Patterns in the Perf ormance of Typically Developing Children 47 Overall Patterns of Typically Developing Participants 47 Vowel Errors 47 Orthographic Letter Doubling 50 Derivational Suffixes 51 Sonorant Cluster Reduction 52 Correlations of Performance on the Sp elling Task with Participants Ages and Their Parents Education Levels 52
v Age 52 Parent Educational Levels 53 Correlations of Performance on Spel ling Task with Language-Related Subtests on a Standardized Measure 54 Strengths and Limitations of the Present Study 54 Sample of Participants 54 Spelling Inventory 55 Scoring Systems 56 Implications for Future Research 56 References 58 Appendices 69 Appendix A: Assent Forms 70 Appendix B: Word List by Category 74 Appendix C: Word Frequency by Category 75 Appendix D: Stimuli 78 Appendix E: Total Number of Correct Spellings (Maximum Score= 36) on the Experimental Spelling Measure for All Included Participants ( N=29 ) 83 Appendix F: Recognition Rules 85 Appendix G: Frequency of Codes Us ed In Orthographic Category 94 Appendix H: Frequency of Codes Used in Phonological Category 96 Appendix I: Frequency of Codes Us ed in Combinations Category 98 Appendix J: Frequency of Codes Us ed in Morphological Category 99
vi List of Tables Table 1. Demographic Characteristics a nd Subtest Scores of Participants. 20 Table 2. Target Words by Category, Number of Incorrect Spellings, and Frequency. 30 Table 3. Most Prominent Orthographic F eature Codes by Morphological Category. 35 Table 4. Most Prominent Phonological Feat ure Codes by Morphological Category. 37 Table 5. Most Prominent Combination Feature Codes by Morphological Category. 38Table 6. Morphological Feature Co des by Morphological Category.39 Table 7. Correlations for Age, Parents Edu cation Levels, and Mor phological Category. 40
vii List of Figures Figure 1. Mean Numbers of Errors by Morphol ogical Category Across All Participants. 29 Figure 2. Errors Made by Typically Devel oping Participants by Li nguistic Category. 34 Figure 3. Number of Errors in Each Morphological Category by Age Group. 42
viii The Morphological Complexity of Spelling, Ages 8 to 15 Years Courtney R. Mossing ABSTRACT Learning to spell requires integrat ion of phonological, orthographic, and morphological knowledge. Historically, spelli ng development has been characterized by linear stages in which children learn to us e these knowledge bases in succession. A more recent view challenges the linearity of th is approach and proposes that spelling development from the beginning is characteri zed by the simultaneous interaction of all three linguistic factors. Minimal research exists that qualitatively investigates the integration of these three factors, especi ally as noted in de rivational morphology. The studys purpose was to investigate spelling accuracy and qualitatively analyze the morphological error patterns of typically developing childre n, ages 8-15 years, for a future comparison to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty-nine typically-developing children were ageand gender-matched to children with ASD from a companion st udy (Wiggins, 2009) to conduct quantitative comparisons. After inclusion measures were administered, the children completed a spelling test that analyzed various mo rphological aspects of spelling, including homonyms, inflections, and deriva tions. Results of the quantitat ive analyses revealed that children in the ASD group made significantly mo re errors than child ren in the typically developing group on the spelling test. Ne vertheless, performances across the
ix morphological categories tested were sim ilar across groups and followed the pattern described in previous resear ch (Carlisle, 1988, 2000). Qualitat ive analysis used a unique coding system, the Phonological, Orthographic, and Morphological Analysis of Spelling (POMAS; Silliman, Bahr, & Peters, 2006), wh ich allowed for analysis by linguistic category (e.g., phonological, orthographic, mor phological) and specific error features (e.g., letter-sound corresponden ces, consonant errors, vowel di graphs, etc.). Overall, the typically developing children produced th e most errors in orthography, followed by phonology, with the fewest errors being attrib uted to morphology. Four major linguistic feature error patterns emerge d involving vowel errors, letter doubling confusion, misspelled derivational suffixes, and sonoran t cluster reduction. Spelling performance on the experimental spelling measure was correlat ed with age, but was not correlated with parents educational level or language-relate d subtests. Younger children made more errors than older children in all morphol ogical categories. Find ings supported the importance of qualitative investigations of spelling errors in order to effectively characterize linguistic skill in spelling.
Chapter One Literature Review Learning to read and write is a signifi cant component of the education children receive in American elementary schools. A crit ical factor in such literacy learning is spelling skill. Research has shown that skills acquired from spelling instruction improve reading abilities (e.g., Berninger & Fayol, 2008; Ehri & Wilce, 1987). This is most likely because learning to spell transforms how children think about the sounds in their language (Nunes, Bryant, & Bindman, 2006). In other words, child ren must recognize how the sounds and letters in words are rela ted, which is not always an easy task. Regularities in lette r-to-sound correspondences support ac curate English spellings for nearly 50% percent of E nglish words (Joshi, Treiman, Carreker, & Moats, 2008); nevertheless in reality English spelling is morphophonemic. Meaning relationships are often represented through spellings despite any changes that may occur in pronunciation or orthography (e.g., sign and signal nature and natural ; Green, et al., 2003). Therefore, spelling not only requires phonological a nd orthographic knowledge, but also morphological knowledge (Carlisle, 2003; Green et al., 2003; Kemp, 2006; Nunes et al., 2006). This knowledge, subsequently, provi des for a deeper understanding of relationships between oral and written la nguage forms and functions (Carlisle, 2003). Given this framework, theories of spelli ng development are discussed first. Next, the relevant research is reviewed on sp elling development in typically developing
2 children and special child populations, includi ng autism spectrum disord ers (ASD). In the final section, the studys purpose and research questions are presented. Theories of Spelling Development Various theories of spelling development have been proposed to account for how children learn this complex linguistic skill. The two most popular theories are discussed here: the late model and the early model. Th ey are so named for their predictions about the timing of childrens acquis ition of morphology. All of the late models advocate that children acquire morphological knowledge later on in their spelling development, which implies that the linguistic knowledge needed fo r spelling is acquired in phases. The early models assert that children demonstrate basic morphological knowledge even in early attempts to spell (Pacton & Deacon, 2008). The Late Model The late model is commonly known as phase theory, which describes the predominate strategies children use as they progress towards spelling mastery (Henderson & Templeton, 1986). Various sources of evidence are drawn upon as support for the model. The commonalities in errors produced by children in cer tain phases of spelling development have been the primary basis for asserting the validity of the late model (Varnhagen, McCallum, & Burstow, 1997). As their spelling skills develop, children progress through various levels of invented spellings before they are able to remember the correct spellings. Analyses of spelling errors provide valuab le information about which phase of spelling development the child is in (Maste rson & Crede, 1999).
3 Three phase theories. The most popular phase theories have been proposed by Ehri (1986), Gentry (1982), and Henderson (198 5). Ehri (1986) ini tially proposed three phases of spelling development: semiphone tic, phonetic, and morphemic. In the semiphonetic phase, children rely on their knowledge of letter sounds (phonology) to spell. During this phase children know very few correct spellings, so their spellings, while logical, often violat e spelling conventions (e.g., chicken spelled as hkn ; Ehri, 1989). In the phonetic phase, children begi n to represent all or most of the sounds in the spelling (e.g., doctor spelled as doktdr ; Ehri, 1989; Pollo, Treiman, & Kessler, 2007). Children in this phase also remember visual properties of beginning and ending letters, as well as doubled letter patterns (Wright & Ehri, 2007) In the morphemic phase, children have learned word regularities, which leads to th e use of conventional spellings. Essentially, children begin to recognize orthographic and morphological consistencies; such knowledge is said to be unavailable to early spellers (Treiman, 1998). Another phase theory was proposed by Ge ntry (1982). This perspective includes five phases: precommunicative, semiphonetic, ph onetic, transitional, and correct. In the precommunicative phase, children string together random lette rs while demonstrating no knowledge of letter-sound corresp ondence, directionality, or case rules (e.g., a child might write ShHIdCA ; Gentry, 1982). When children re cognize that letters represent sounds, they have entered the semiphonetic stage. In this phase, children often represent words, sounds, and syllables with the le tters that match the letter names (e.g., are spelled as R ). As children progress into the phonetic or invented spelling phase, they assign letters strictly by phonology without regard for spelling conventions (e.g., open spelled as opn ). However, in the transitional phase, chil dren use more conventional spellings which
4 involve the application of orthograp hic and morphological knowledge (e.g., eighty spelled as eightee ). Finally, in the correct phase, children have a firmly established knowledge of basic spelling rules, continue to master uncommon/i rregular spellings, and are able to visually recognize misspelled words. Henderson (1985) also proposed five phase s: preliterate, le tter-name spelling, within-word patterns, syllable juncture, and derivational constancy; these phases tend to run parallel with Gentry s (1982) phases. Children in the preliterate phase, like Gentrys (1982) precommunicative phase, reflect their little knowledge of prints form and function through scribbling and random stri ngs of letters (Henderson & Templeton, 1986). Parallel to Gentrys (1982) semiphonetic phase is th e letter-name spelling phase, in which children understand that each letter represents a sound, may spell letter names with the corresponding letter, and match letters to sounds (e.g., kicked spelled as kekt ). In the within-word patterns phase, which is similar to Gentrys (1982) phonetic phase, children are moving beyond the surface of speech sounds to more standard representations of sounds (e.g., cream spelled as creme ; Henderson & Templeton, 1986). Then, in the syllable-juncture phase, like in the transitional phase, children build upon the basic knowledge from the previous phase to understand the rules for representing bisyllabic words (e.g., letter doubling; robin spelled as robbin ). In the derivational constancy phase (which is, naturally, parallel to Gentrys  correct phase), children recognize that, regardless of changes in pronunciation and orthography, spelling is meaning. It is in this phase that children re cognize the fact that semantically connected words share similar spellings through their roots (e.g., sign signal and signature ).
5 The Early Model Although phase theories have historica lly been more widely accepted in education, recent literature has questioned the idea that spelli ng develops in phases (e.g., Varnhagen et al., 1997; Treiman & Bourassa 2000; Walker & Hauerwas, 2006). Cassar and Treiman (1997) found that children in ki ndergarten were demons trating orthographic knowledge in their spellings, such as the allowable placement of doublet letters (i.e., doubled letters typically occur in the middle or at the end of a word). According to late models, orthographic knowledge is not accessi ble until later years. Furthermore, Deacon and Bryant (2006) found that 6to 8-y ear-olds were demonstrating morphological knowledge in spelling the beginning letter patter ns in inflected and derived words better than the words in control forms (e.g., turn in turning was spelled better than in turnip ). In late models, morphological knowledge is the latest linguistic skill for children to master. This evidence that phonol ogical strategies and or thographic/morphological strategies coincide is clearly oppositional to the late models premise that each of the phases of spelling development are characte rized by distinct linguistic strategies (Treiman & Bourassa, 2001). So in contra st, the early model proposes that spelling development is characterized by the simulta neous interaction of all three linguistic factors. The early model view is that ch ildren use multiple strategies and various linguistic knowledge bases throughout spel ling development (Varnhagen et al., 1997; Treiman & Bourassa, 2000); this model empha sizes how children learn to coordinate phonological, orthographic, and morphologica l information over time (Bourassa & Treiman, 2001). Additionally, the early mode l maintains that spelling success is
6 contingent upon the ability to access and apply each linguistic factor (Apel, Masterson, & Niessen, 2004a). Comparisons and Summary In summary, the late (phase-based) mode ls characterize the dominate strategies used in distinct periods of time and the errors produced as being consistent with a single phase. In general, the late models are not lingu istic models in that their focus is primarily on orthography. On the other hand, the early (linguistic-based) models examine the strategies (e.g., phonological knowledge, or thographic knowledge, and morphological knowledge) used by children from the onset of spelling development to overcome the linguistic complexities of spelling (Varnha gen et al., 1997; Treiman & Bourassa, 2000). According to the early models spelling errors occur when the linguistic complexity of words exceeds childrens abil ities to utilize their phonol ogical, orthographic, or morphological knowledge in an integrated way (Bahr, Silliman, & Berninger, in press). Both models recognize the importance of in tegrating orthographi c, phonological, and morphological information in spelling instructio n, therefore playing an important role in instructional practices for sp elling (Varnhagen et al., 1997; Be rninger, Garcia, & Abbott, 2008). In terms of spelling instruction, both m odels reinforce the importance of error analysis as a window into the childs lingui stic processing of the task; however, they differ as to how errors are classified for analysis (Bahr et al., in press). Additionally, both models recognize the importa nce of patterned learning (versus memorization) and provide frameworks for spelling development (Varnhagen et al., 1997; Berninger et al., 2008). As Treiman and Bourassa (2000) point out, childrens spelling development may
7 be best characterized as using a prominent st rategy at different points in time, but not to the exclusion of other strategies. Spelling Development in Typically Developing Children The late models of spelling developmen t indicate that beginning spellers use phonological and orthographic knowledge, and then begin representing morphological relationships after a year or more of spel ling experience (Kemp, 2006). However, recent research has shown that children appreciate morphology from an early age. For example, the previously mentioned study by Deacon and Bryant (2006) recognized that children age six to eight were able to apply mor phological knowledge in their spellings. Thus, from an early age, children integrate th eir available phonological orthographic, and morphological knowledge in order to spell. Roles of Phonology and Orthography in Spelling Initially, childrens spellings reflec t errors in phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is the ability to identify, reflect on, and manipulate the sound structures of a language, including, but not li mited to, the abilities to rhyme and segment syllables into increasingly smaller sub-syll abic units (e.g., onset and rime), followed by segmentation, blending, and manipulating the ph oneme, which is the smallest unit (Apel et al., 2004a; Apel, Masterson, & Hart, 2004b) One aspect of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness, which is the ability to identify and manipulat e phonemes (Apel et al., 2004a). Furthermore, phonemic awar eness (e.g., letter-sound knowledge and phoneme isolation skills) has been shown to be highly predictive of childrens spelling ability (Nation & Hulme, 1997; Treiman, Br oderick, Tincoff, & Rodriguez, 1998).
8 While errors in phonological representations are prominent in beginning spellers, orthographic errors are also seen in ear ly spelling development (e.g., Treiman, 1993). Knowledge of the written language somewh at overlaps phonological knowledge since orthographic knowledge plays a role in lette r choices when spelling (Cassar & Treiman, 1997). Orthographic knowledge involves tw o basic components: translating phonemes into their correspondi ng alphabetic forms and mastering orthographic patterns, such as acceptable letter combinations and language-s pecific constraints on spelling patterns (Bourassa & Treiman, 2000). As their spelling skills progress, children need more than just sound and letter knowledge to spell words accurately. Role of Morphology in Spelling Many words cannot be spelled with only orthographic and phonological knowledge; therefore morphological knowledge is a critical factor for conventional spelling. Morphological knowledge has been show n to be a strong predictor of childrens ability to spell words that cannot be spel led by relying on phonological knowledge alone (Nunes, Bryant, & Bindman, 1997). Morphologi cal knowledge involves an awareness of the smallest meaningful units of language (root words, suffixes, and prefixes) and understanding the relationship between root wo rds and the related derived or inflected forms (Kelman & Apel, 2004). Nunes et al. (2006) posed four reas ons why understanding morphology assists children in becoming proficient spellers. Firs t, the representation of morphological units may require disregarding letter-sound corres pondences (e.g., all regular past tense verbs are spelled with ed but may be pronounced as /t/, like in kissed or as /d/, like in killed ). Second, when there is more than one wa y to represent a phonological sequence,
9 morphological patterns can indi cate the correct spelling (e.g., conversation and compulsion both represent the shun ending). Th ird, despite a change in phonology, the spelling of a stem may be maintained across words (e.g., when magic becomes magician the c changes from /k/ to sh). Lastly, silent morphemes (Nunes et al., 2006) provide a link between morphology and spelling (e.g., the students is pronounced the same as the students because apostrophe assi gnment is silent). Inflectional Morphology. Morphological awareness m eans children, first, apply inflections appropriately in their spelling. Inflectional suffixes do not change the meaning of the root word but convey information on agreement, tense and plurality (e.g., he like s she arriv ed three apple s ). Children are typically in the process of master ing inflections by first grade; this early use of inflections has been shown to be a predictor of childrens reading skill in the first and second grades (e.g., Carlisle, 1995). However, inflected forms are largely mastered by third grade, as shown in a study by Gr een et al. (2003) on third and fourth graders wr itten narratives. Deacon and Br yant (2006) also found that children, ages 7-9 years, appear to demonstr ate an awareness of the fact that meaning transcends the overlaps in spelling and pronunciation from the root (e.g., late later ) to the inflected words. Derivational morphology. Secondly, children begin to apply derivations. Derivations alter a words meaning and often change its syntactic class (e.g., magic magician teach teacher clever cleverly ). They also result in a greater level of complexity in writing. Knowledge of the la nguages derivations a llows for a greater understanding of meaning-relate d structure within words (G reen et al, 2003). Children generally become better spellers as they get older, which supports Green et al.s (2003)
10 conclusions that middle to late elementary school may be the point at which children are developing a greater understanding of derivational relationships. Kemp (2006) examined the ability of childre n in their first few years of school (59 years old) to accurately link morphological units in their written language. This was determined by analyzing the childs spel ling of the sound /z/ within control (e.g., daisy and crazy ), base (e.g., noise and breeze ), and derived (e.g., noisy and breezy ) words. The author concluded that beginning spellers have a simple understa nding of morphological links in writing, which is limited to th e most transparent relationships (e.g., noisy and noise ). Furthermore, as these skills develop a nd are used over time, children begin to use their knowledge of morphologica l relationships to guide th eir spellings, though initially not necessarily consistently or deliberately. However, by third or fourth grade, children are demonstrating equally accurate spelli ngs in derived and inflected words. Summary Children are exposed to a significant am ount of print in thei r everyday routines (e.g., street signs, food labels, books and newspape rs) before they even learn how to read and write. As they become more aware of the writing system, they progress from scribbling in a linear fashion to realizing th at the written forms on the page represent sounds in speech (i.e., phonological awareness; Treiman & Bourassa, 2000). With more instruction and experience, children improve upon their phon ological awareness skills and incorporate their available orthographi c knowledge (e.g., producing acceptable letter combinations and making accurate letter choices) Research has shown that from an early age, children appreciate the orthographic patterns and morphological relationships between words. As they gain more experi ence with print through reading and writing,
11 children increase their morphol ogical knowledge (Nunes et al ., 2006). In mastering the English spelling system, children will progre ss through levels of phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge, and mo rphological knowledge with increasing complexity (Bourassa & Treiman, 2007). Spelling Development in Language Learning Di sabilities (LLD), Dyslexia, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Children with LLD and dyslexia Because complexity increases as children develop their spelling skills, it is expected that they will experience difficultie s in learning how to spell. While most overcome these difficulties, some progress much more slowly in the area of literacy (reading and spelling) than in other academic areas (e.g., math and science; Cassar, Treiman, Moats, Pollo, & Kessler, 2005). As a result, there is a growing body of literature focused on the spelling developmen t of children designated as either having dyslexia (e.g., Bourassa, Treiman, & Kessler 2006; Egan & Pring, 2004; Hauerwas & Walker, 2003) or LLD (Silliman, Bahr, & Peters, 2006). Children with LLD. Children with LLD have difficulties in written language, which stems from early comprehension a nd oral language difficulties (RoseberryMcKibbin, 2007). Research has shown that they are also at high risk for difficulties in reading, comprehension and new vocabul ary learning (e.g., Ca tts, Fey, Tomblin, & Zhang, 2002). It makes sense then that childr en with language disorders would struggle in learning the rules of spelling. In fact, re search has shown that many children overcome their reading disability, but then struggle with persisting spelling diffi culties (Berninger et
12 al., 2000). Contrary to this point, there is lit tle research on spelling development in this population. In the only study to date with a strict ly LLD sample, Silliman et al. (2006) examined the spelling errors of childre n, ages 9 to 11 years, with a known LLD. Chronological-age matched (CA) and spelli ng-age matched (SA) control groups were used to address whether children with an LLD would perform in a qualitatively different way from the spelling-age matched peers on an experimental spelling measure explicitly constructed to take into account linguisti c categories (phonological orthographic, and morphological) and their co rresponding features. The P honological, Orthographic, and Morphological Assessment of Spelling (POMAS), a qualitative scoring system, was used to analyze misspellings from this expe rimental spelling measure based on their underlying linguistic cate gory and features. Quantitative results from the experimental spelling measure indicated that the spelling accuracy of the CA matched group wa s significantly better than the LLD and SA groups, who were comparable in performance. Unique to this study, compared to other studies on the spelling patters in children with disabil ities, was that the qualitative measure was able to identify specific error patterns in the LLD and younger spelling age matched groups. When linguistic categories a nd features were analyzed, the SA group displayed consistent difficultie s with orthographic features in spelling, such as selecting the correct r-colored vowel to use and when to double letters. The LLD group frequently omitted r-colored vowels, regular past-tense markers, and plurals. Additionally, the LLD group was the only group to have similar inst ances of errors acro ss all three linguistic categories (i.e., phonological, or thographic, morphological).
13 Children with dyslexia Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that is characterized by deficits in accuracy and/or ra te of word recognition and by difficulties in spelling and decoding (Lyon, Shaywitz, & Shay witz, 2003), which o ccurs despite normal intelligence, effective classroom instructi on, and no serious social/emotional disorder (Bourassa & Treiman, 2008; Lyon et al ., 2003). Some aspects of phonology (e.g., segmentation and irregularity) cause probl ems for both children with dyslexia and typically developing beginning sp ellers (Bourassa et al., 2006) but children with dyslexia display poorer phonological and morphological aw areness than their typically developing peers (Siegal, 2008; Tsesmeli & Seymour, 2006). Mounting evidence suggests that children with dyslexia have difficulties appropriately using inflectional morphemes (e.g., Smith-Lock, 1991; Hauerwas & Walker, 2003). In a study examining the influence of phonological, morphological, and orthographic awareness skills on the spelling of inflected verbs in sentence and list form, Hauerwas and Walker (2003) found that th e most common error type produced by children with dyslexia was omissions (e.g., substituting walk in the sentence Yesterday she walked. ). The results also showed that wh ile the children with dyslexia performed similarly to the spelling-age matched gr oup, their overall their performance was consistently poorer than both spelling-age and chronological-a ge matched control groups. Similar results were also seen in a study by Hoefflin and Franck (2005), who found that fourth-grade children with dyslexia produced considerably more morphological errors than their typically developing peers in the third and fourth grades. Along those same lines, results from prev ious studies have shown that, despite their poor spelling skills, children with dys lexia produce phonetically accurate spellings
14 appropriate for their overal l literacy development (e.g., Cassar et al., 2005). These findings support the hypothesi s that children with dyslexi a are delayed in spelling development but are not necessarily following a deviant developmental pattern. However, until a qualitative analysis of errors, through such means as the POMAS (Silliman et al., 2006), has been performed, it is unknown whether the patterns ar e truly like those of the younger typically developing children. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Based on a 2007 epidemiological study, it is estimated that ASD affect approximately 1 in every 150 children (Cen ters for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007). ASD includes a range of pe rvasive development disorders (PDD), such as autistic disorder, pervasive development disorde rnot otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Aspergers syndrome. Because there is a ra nge of severity within and between the disorders included in this population, AS D children make up a homogenous population. So, individuals with ASD all look, communicat e, behave and learn in different ways. However, they do share some common charac teristics, which differ from typically developing individuals in the areas of movement, management of sensory input, communication, social norms, and academic l earning (Kluth & Chandler-Olcott, 2008). Currently, the only known study that invest igates spelling patterns in children with ASD is an unpublished Masters thesis by Wiggins (2009). The participants were 29 children, ages 8-15. In order to provide info rmation on the spelling abilities of this population as a whole, the design included all of the diagnostic categories that comprise ASD (i.e., Autism, Aspergers, and PDDNOS). Among other demographic factors, inclusion was determined by performance on the spelling subtest of a standardized
15 achievement test. After this initial inclusi on session, children completed the experimental session, which was a dictated spelling task of 36 real words. The words differed in morphological complexity (i.e., inflections vers us derivations) and te sted their semantic skills (i.e., homonyms). The target words on th e spelling task were presented verbally in sentence context with an accompanying pict ure through a computer software program. Results indicated that children with AS D had difficulty with more complex morphological forms (phonological and orthogra phical + phonological sh ifts in spelling). As a result, three profiles emerged: 1) children who had little difficulty with morphological elements in spelling, 2) ch ildren who had difficulty with complex morphological forms, and 3) children who de monstrated difficulty in making semantic connections. Additionally, results were compar ed to the existing lit erature on typically developing children. This comparison revealed a developmental patte rn in children with ASD that is similar to typically developing children in the fact th at both groups display difficulties with less transpar ent shifts in spelling (e.g., phonological and orthographic + phonological). The remaining available literature on sp elling in children with ASD focuses on the use of technology as a spel ling enhancement, typically in case studies (e.g., Kinney, Vedora, and Stromer, 2003; Schlosser & Blis chak, 2004; Schlosser, Blischak, Belfiore, Bartley, & Barnett, 1998). For individuals who are nonverbal, like many children with ASD, spelling is a crucial component to communication (Schlosser & Blischak, 2004). Schlosser et al. (1998) investig ated the effects of synthetic speech output versus written feedback on spelling by a nonverbal child with ASD. Although spelling instruction through the use of technology was effective re gardless of the form of feedback, results
16 indicated more efficient spelling performan ce when presented with unimodal auditory feedback (i.e., synthetic speech feedback alone) in comparison to the multimodal feedback (i.e., the combination of speech outpu t and written feedback). Furthermore, the multimodal feedback was better than written feedback alone. In a replication study, Schlosser and Blischak (2004) examined th e effects of speech and print feedback on spelling by four children with ASD with little to no speech. Results were consistent with the previous study. The authors recommended that further resear ch be conducted in order to determine the preferred form of feedback by diffe rent types of learners. Summary The spelling development of children w ith language disorders, specifically dyslexia, has been well documented. In children with dyslexia, research has shown that they have difficulties with phonological a nd morphological aspects in spelling (e.g., Siegal, 2008). It has been hypothesized that ch ildren with dyslexia ar e delayed in spelling development (e.g., making spelling errors similar to younger typically developing children), but not necessarily following a deviant pattern. However, there is only one study to date on the spelling sk ills in children with a know n LLD (Silliman et al., 2006). This study showed that children with LLD produce errors quantit atively similar to younger typically developing children, but qualita tively different when linguistic features are taken into account. Another population in which spelling development has been largely overlooked as a research focus is in children with ASD (S chlosser & Blischak, 2004). Research by Nation, Clarke Wright, and Williams (2006) indicates that children with ASD develop at least reading skills in differing trajectories. Whether the same holds
17 true for spelling abilities remains unknown. It seems obvious that as a heterogeneous population, not all children with AS D will have good spelling skills. Purpose and Research Questions The purpose of the present study was to investigate the morphological spelling errors of typically developing children, ages 815 years, and prepare for future research to compare these findings with the results fr om the Wiggins (2009) study. The typically developing children were matched by age and gender to the children with ASD from the previous study. The primary intent was to obtain qualitative information of typically developing children on their e rror patterns for comparison with the error patterns of children with ASD. Four questions were asked: 1. Does spelling accuracy on the morphologically-based spelling task differ when the performance of children with ASD is compared to the performance of typically developing (TD) children? 2. What linguistic feature error patterns are noted in the performances of typically developing children on the morphologically-based spelling task? 3. Does spelling accuracy on the morphologically-based spelling task correlate with participants ages a nd their parents e ducational levels? 4. Does spelling accuracy on the morphologically-based spelling task correlate with language-related subt ests on a standardized measure?
18 Chapter Two Method The purpose of this study was to inves tigate the error patterns produced by typically developing children and to, in the future, compare those results to the error patterns produced by children with ASD in a companion study (Wiggins, 2009). The procedures were identical to the comp anion study and are described below. Participants A total of 29 students (25 males, 4 females) from 8 to 15 years of age participated in this study. They were recruited through us e of letters presented to teachers at local public schools, flyers, and a listserv of stude nts and professors in the Department of Communication Sciences and Di sorders at the University of South Florida. All participants were enro lled in the second through ninth grad es in Florida public schools. The inclusionary measures were administer ed to a total of 31 children. The 29 children who met the inclusionary criteria were age-matched and gender-matched to the participants from the Wiggins (2009) study. Th e parent of every child who participated signed an Informed Consent approved by the University of South Floridas Division of Research Compliance. Inclusion Criteria The 31 participants who were initially r ecruited were between the ages of 8 and 15 years and were typically developing. All of the children signed two assent forms: one for inclusionary criteria testing and one fo r the experimental spelling measure. Two
19 different versions of these assent fo rms were used. One was worded for young elementary age students and the other was worded for the older elementary, middle, and high school students (see Appe ndix A). All forms were approved by the University of South Florida, Division of Research Compliance. A total of five inclusion criteria were to be satisfied by each participant in order to be included in the study: 1. Had no previous diagnoses of developmen tal or learning disabilities, verified by parent report. 2. Matched one of the ASD participants from the companion study in terms of gender and age (within 6 months). 3. Specified parental education by comple ting the fill in the blank question on the Informed Consent. 4. Passed a hearing screening at the fr equencies of 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz at a level of 25 dbHL on a calibrated GSI Audiometer. 5. Scored within 1 standard deviati on (SD) on four subtests of the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock, Mather, & Wendling, 2001), including obtaining a score of 85 or higher on the Spelling Subtest. A total of 29 children (of the 31 recruited) met the five inclusion criteria. Demographic information for each included partic ipant is listed in Table 1. It should be noted that information regarding the particip ants race and ethnicity were not formally collected.
20 Table 1. Demographic Characteristics a nd Subtest Scores of Participants ( N =29) Participants Age Gender LW SP PC PV 1 8 M 120 124 109 98 2 8 M 120 121 108 105 3 8 M 103 93 100 111 4 8 M 117 119 108 118 5 8 M 110 116 99 94 6 8 M 107 107 102 98 7 8 M 113 115 108 98 8 9 M 111 116 99 102 9 9 M 99 95 105 114 10 9 M 124 126 128 124 11 10 F 116 123 103 104 12 10 M 111 113 101 92 13 10 M 118 121 107 116 14 10 M 107 102 99 91 15 10 M 93 87 94 94 16 11 M 109 112 105 87 17 12 M 104 92 90 97 18 12 M 107 108 103 110 19 12 M 87 87 85 98 20 12 M 117 115 101 106 21 12 M 107 102 122 96
21 Table 1 (Continued) 22 13 F 114 110 118 138 23 13 M 110 114 110 97 24 13 F 91 91 86 87 25 13 M 96 115 98 96 26 14 F 95 93 96 97 27 14 M 92 85 96 94 28 14 M 112 116 115 112 29 15 M 107 108 99 108 M= Male; F= Female; LW= Letter-Word Id entification; SP= Spe lling; PC= Passage Comprehension; PV= Picture Vocabulary Materials Measures The Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock et al., 2001) is a standardized battery for measuring academ ic achievement. It was designed to be administered to individuals ranging from 2 years to late adulthood (90+ years). Although the test includes a battery of subtests, only four literacy-related subtests were administered for inclusionary purposes: Letter-Word Identification, Spelling, Passage Comprehension, and Picture Vocabulary. Experimental Materials The experimental data for this study were obtained using a dictated spelling list identical to the spelling list in Wiggins (2009). The list was made up of 36 words from
22 six morphological categories (s ee Appendix B for a definition of categories and a list words by category): homonyms, inflections, no shift, phonologic shifts, orthographic shifts, and orthographic + phonological shif ts. Each category included an equallybalanced number of words. Word frequency Word frequency for this study and the companion study were identical. Frequency was based on The Educators Word Frequency Guide (Zeno et al., 1995; See Appendix C for word frequencies of the 36 experimental spelling words). This particular frequency guide is a compilation of 60,527 samples of text from 6,333 works of literature. The frequency of words was reported using a U value and an SFI (Standard Frequency Index) value. The U value indicate s how frequently the word occurs in the selected text by grade level. The SFI value is a logarithmic version of the U value making it easier to use and understand through compressi ng the range of values that are used. The SFI range for the words included in Zeno et al. (1995) was 3.5, about .0002 frequency of occurrence per million words, to 88.3, about 67,500 frequency of occurrence per million words. Words chosen for the spelling list ha d an overall SFI of 40 or greater, which meant that the frequency of occurrence was at least one for every million words within the Zeno et al. (1995) corpus. Additionally, since a U value of zero indicated that the word had little to no presence in the literature for that particular gr ade level, all of the words had a U value higher than 0 for at least four of the eight grad e levels in the study (e.g., convertible had U values of 0 for grades 2, 7, 8, and 9 but values of 1 or 2 for grades 3, 4, 5, and 6). An SFI value was not used in these cases because only U values were given for individual grade levels.
23 Presentation of experimental protocol The list was presented randomly via pictures and verbally presented sentences using EcosWin software on a DELL Latitude laptop computer. A picture related to each targ et word was presented simultaneously with a sentence context and then a carrier phr ase was presented verbally (Spell the word_____.) containing the spelling target (S ee Appendix D for pictures and context sentences). All pictures we re obtained from Boardmaker (Mayer-Johnson, 2006) or Microsoft Office clipart. Procedures Administration of the testing protocol was completed in two parts during one session lasting approximately 30-60 minutes. Th e participant was given the option of a 510 minute rest break between the inclusiona ry and experimental testing procedures. Individual testing took place in a quiet area of the school or in th e participants home. The participant was seated next to or across from the examiner during testing procedures. Before each part of the session, the child was read an assent form that explained the activities the child would participate in duri ng that part of the session (See Appendix A). During testing, the participant, examiner, and sometimes a parent were present. However, the parent was not permitted to help his or he r child with the testing procedures. Instead, parents were encouraged to observe and to ask questions at the conclu sion of the testing. Part 1: Inclusion The Spelling Subtest from the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock et al., 2001) was used to determ ine eligibility to participate in the experimental procedures. The other thr ee subtests, Letter Word Reading, Passage
24 Comprehension, and Picture Vocabulary, were us ed to obtain a profile of the literacy achievement of each partic ipant in these areas. Subtests were administered according to the guidelines in the examiners manual of the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock et al., 2001). Each subtest was administered in randomized order. Part 2: Experimental Measure Administration The experimental spelling protocol was ad ministered to all participants who were individually informed that they would be in structed to spell some words and that they should do their best. To standa rdize the presentation, the sp elling words were presented using EcosWin software. Since research indica tes that spelling ability is not affected by modality (Masterson & Apel, 2006), participants were allowed the choice of writing or typing their responses. If a part icipant chose to ty pe their answers, the examiner also wrote the answers on a sepa rate sheet of paper as a form of back-up. Even though the majority of the participants knew how to use the computer, each was instructed on how to type their responses, erase mistakes (i.e., backspace), and repeat an item, if need be. The partic ipants were given two practice items that could be repeated as many times as necessary. They were also reminded throughout th e administration of the spelling protocol how to make an item repe at or how to erase an answer if needed. During administration, if participants asked fo r help in spelling a word, they were again instructed to try their best. Data Reduction Information about parents highest level of education was converted to an ordinal scale for statistical analysis, comparable to the companion study (Wiggins, 2009). Parents
25 not receiving a high school diploma were gi ven a score of 1. If they received a high school diploma and/or participat ed in vocational school they r eceived a score of 2. If they completed some college they received a score of 3. A score of 4 was given if they had an undergraduate college level degree. If ther e was any graduate level work, including doctoral level, a score of 5 was given. POMAS analysis Quantitatively, overall spelli ng performance was determined by finding the percentage of correct and incorr ect spellings on the e xperimental spelling measure. Additionally, the number of errors per category was divided by the total number responses per category ( n = 6) to determine the percentage of errors that occurred within each of the linguistic categories. Spelling errors were analyzed qualitativ ely by using the POMAS scoring system (Silliman et al., 2006). This scoring system id entifies the linguist ic category of the spelling error as phonological, orthographic, morphological, or a combination of these categories and then iden tifies the linguistic features a ssociated with the misspelling. An error was considered to be phonol ogical in nature if the soun d structure of the word was not fully represented or changed because of the omission of graphemes (i.e., letters). An error was considered to be orthographic in nature if th e sound structure was fully represented, but with incorrect graphemes. Erro rs were considered to be morphological in nature if a grapheme was omitted or used incorrectly in representing the morphological ending. Errors were also considered mo rphological if the orthography, phonology or semantics of a word (as in a homonym) was not represented accurately in the words spelling.
26 After determining the errors broad li nguistic category, the error was further analyzed based on the features as provided by the examples in the POMAS scoring guidelines. These categories in cluded both those codes devel oped from previous studies (e.g., Silliman et al., 2006), as well as c odes added in the Wiggins (2009) study. New codes added to more accurately represent the errors made in the present study and to account for the type of errors generate d by more morphologically complex words. Inter-rater reliability Inter-rater reliability was conducted for the categorization of spelling errors. From the total 29 particip ants, six (20%) were randomly selected for a reliability analysis. A second examiner, a pr ofessor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at USF who was trai ned in the POMAS coding system, coded the spelling errors of the selected participants for reliability. Training consisted of reviewing the written rules regarding when to use each POMAS code and discussing examples. When the second examiner felt comfortable w ith the coding system, she was given the six randomly selected samples to code. When coding was complete, inter-rater reliability was determined using the formula for Cohe ns Kappa (Cohen, 1960), which resulted in very good agreement ( = 0.83; Altman, 1991).
27 Chapter Three Results This study revealed the error patterns in the spellings of typically-developing children on a morphologically-based spelling task. The same experimental spelling measure was administered to children with ASD so that comparisons in the number of errors across morphological categories could be compared. Then, a qualitative system of linguistic error analysis, the POMAS (Silliman et al., 2006), was used to investigate the linguistic categories and featur es of misspellings of the typically-developing group. Four research questions were proposed: 1. Does spelling accuracy on the morphologically-based spelling task differ when the performance of children with ASD is compared to the performance of typically developing (TD) children? 2. What linguistic feature error patterns are noted in the performances of typically developing children on the morphologically-based spelling task? 3. Does spelling accuracy on the morphologically-based spelling task correlate with participants ages and thei r parents educational levels? 4. Does spelling accuracy on the morphologically-based spelling task correlate with language-related subtests on a standardized measure? Differences between Groups (Question 1) A repeated measures two-way ANOVA was r un to identify differences in overall performance by group. The independent va riables were morphological category
28 (homonyms, inflections, no shift, orthographi c shift, phonological shift, orthographic + phonological shift) and partic ipant group (children with ASD vs. TD children). The results of the ANOVA revealed that the main effect for group was significant, F (1, 56) = 18.840, p < 0.001, p = 0.252. This finding indicated th at the group with ASD produced more errors in general on the morphological spelling test than the TD group. The lack of an interaction between type of morphological category and gr oup indicated that the group with ASD made more errors than the TD group across all error types, F (5, 280) = 1.969, p = 0.083, p = 0.034. A significant main effect for mo rphological category was also noted, F (5,280) = 54.132, p < 0.001, p = 0.492. The effect size here woul d suggest that this factor explained a large portion of the variance in th is analysis. Post hoc testing using t-tests with a Bonferroni correction (p < 0.003) was conducted. As illustrated in Figure 1, the phonological shift and orthographic + phonological shift categories were more difficult than the other four categories, but were not significantly different fr om one another. On the other hand, performances with homonyms generated significantly fewer errors than all of the other categories. Performances on the inflections, no shift and orthographic categories were not significantly different from one another. These data indicated that the participants had significantly more difficulty with words that involved the most complex morphological alterations.
29 Figure 1. Mean Number of Errors by Mor phological Category Acro ss all Participants. Linguistic Feature Error Patterns on Morphol ogically-Based Spelling Task (Question 2) The typically developing children produced error patterns that seemed to focus on one or two words within each morphological category for the homonyms, inflections, and no shift word categories. In other words, some target words within a morphological category were more likely to trigger missp ellings (See Table 2 for target words by number of misspellings and word frequency) The errors in the orthographic shift, phonological shift, and orthographic + phonological shift categories we re more spread out across the words in the category. For some of these errors, difficulty may have been partially related to word frequency. For in stance, in the phonologi cal shift categories,
30 children and different (SFI values of 66.8 and 68.5 respectively) were misspelled much less frequently than disappear and discussion (SFI values of 56.5 and 52.7 respectively). The Standard Frequent Index (SFI) is a measure of word frequency. It is logarithmic expression of U values of word frequency. A word type with SFI = 90 would be expected to occur once in every 10 word s; one with SFI = 80 would be expected to occur once in every 100 words. A reference po int is provided by SFI = 40, the value for a word that would occur once in a million tokens Each unit of SFI represents an increase of about 25.9% in probability or frequency (Zeno et al., 1995). Table 2. Target Words by Category, Number of Incorrect Spellings, and Frequency. Word by Category Number of Participants Who Spelled Word Incorrectly Word Frequency (SFI Value) Homonyms Four 0 52.7 Week 1 65.4 Sent 3 61.5 Aloud 4 61 Wear 4 62.5 Clothes 7 59.2 Inflections Kicked 0 51.1 Teaches 1 47.3 Building 4 62.8 Cries 5 50.2
31 Table 2 (Continued)Stirring 12 49.7 Stopped 14 62.6 No Shift Windy 1 48.1 Highest 4 56.5 Friendship 5 51.9 Smoothly 7 51.8 Dangerous 8 58.7 Assignment 14 51.4 Orthographic Shift Scary 1 47.2 Hungry 4 57.9 Juicy 7 45.2 Easily 10 61.3 Argument 12 55 Attention 13 61 Phonological Shift Children 4 66.8 Different 6 68.5 Majority 14 56.2 Convertible 18 41.9 Discussion 21 44.9 Disappear 24 52.7
32 Table 2 (Continued)Orthographic + Phonological Shift Student 4 59.1 Natural 11 62.7 Confidence 12 54 Excellent 16 55.6 Severity 22 44.1 Pleasant 25 56.5 Decision Making Rules The patterns of errors in the childrens misspellings were determined by POMAS error codes that designated linguis tic category (i.e., phonology, orthography, morphology, or a combination of these) and di fferent linguistic feat ures (e.g., consonant deletion, vowel error, sonorant cluster reduction, etc.). The use of these error codes allowed for analysis of the specific differen ces in how the word was misspelled and in types of errors produced across groups. For example, if a child misspelled the word highest as highst the error could be coded as an orthographic error in a de rivational suffix (code: OSUFD), since the e was omitted from est This error could also be coded as an orthographic error using letter name substitution (code: OLN), which meant that the childs spelling error was due to spelling the letter name pr onounced in the word (i.e., / s/ spelled as s ). In situations where errors could be dually coded, the overa ll common pattern used in the childs other misspellings were used to make final coding decisions. However, if there was more than one error within the word, then it is possible for more than on e feature error to be used in
33 coding that misspelled word. For example, if the word stirring was spelled as stering then the word would be given two codes. One code was necessary for the substitution of the rhotic vowel, er for ir and another is necessary for neglecting to double the r at the syllable juncture. So, the two codes used woul d be an orthographic error in the rhotic vowel (i.e., OVr) and an orthographic error in letter doubling (i.e ., OLD). See Appendix F for POMAS codes with descriptions and examples. Error Analysis by Category The words selected for use on the sp elling task varied in morphological complexity so that there were six categor ies (i.e., homonyms, inflections, no shift, orthographic shift, phonological shift, a nd orthographic + pho nological shifts). Misspellings occurred in every morphologi cal category. (See Appendices G-J for the frequency of errors made by morphological cat egory, linguistic category, and error type.) These errors were coded by lingui stic category and linguistic feature. The following is an example of how different linguistic categ ories could be produced in different misspellings of the same word, kicked (an inflected form): 1) A phonological error would be kit the child neglected to represent all sounds in the word. In this case, the [k] sound at the end of the root word kick was omitted. 2) An orthographic error would be kickt the child did not represent the morphological ending correctly as -ed instead he/she spelled the ending phonologically, 3) A morphological error would be kick the child omitted the inflectional ending ed
34 After the errors were coded, a qualitativ e analysis was performed to determine common errors produced by the typically developing participants. (Future efforts will compare linguistic feature errors across the ASD and TD groups.) The typically developing participants produced a tota l of 463 errors: 336 er rors (or 72.5%) in orthography, 72 errors (15.5%) in phonology, and 22 errors (5%) in morphology. They also produced 33 errors (7%) that were a combination of two (or more) linguistic categories. Figure 2 illustrates the differen ce in errors produced in each linguistic category. The linguistic error patterns noted within each linguistic category will be described below. Figure 2. Errors Made by Typically Deve loping Participants by Linguistic Category.
35 Orthographic feature errors Nine linguistic features can be used to explain most of the orthographic errors produced on the spelling measure. The most orthographic errors were produced in the phonological shift and orthographi c + phonological shift categories. Table 3 lists the most prominent orthographic feature e rrors. A complete list of all orthographic errors can be seen in Appendix G. Table 3. Most Prominent Orthographic F eature Codes by Morphological Category. Homonyms Inflections No Shift Ortho Shift Phono Shift Ortho + Phono Shift Total Letter Doubling (OLD) 14 5 9 34 4 66 Vowel Error (OVE) 12 25 18 55 Suffix (OSUFD) 5 6 16 25 52 Rhotic Vowel (OVr) 8 1 1 9 17 36 Short Vowel (OVS) 4 8 16 28 Vowel Digraph (OVDI) 1 7 12 20 Letter Sound (OLS) 9 10 19 Consonant Doubling (OCD) 17 17 Long Vowel Word Family (OLWF) 9 9 As illustrated in Table 3, difficulties w ith letter doubling, vowels, and rhotic vowels occurred across the majority of the morphological categories. Errors involving schwas (e.g., ma jority spelled as mi jority ) were the next most frequent error type
36 followed by errors in spelling suffixes and s hort vowels. There were also errors in accurately representing the sounds orthographi cally, while continuing to represent the accurate phonological structure of the target word (OLS; e.g., discussion spelled as discution ). It was interesting that only one ort hographic error was noted in the homonyms category. Additionally, consonant doubling (where a consonant was doubled when it was not supposed to be doubled, e.g., dis cussion spelled as diss cussion ) and errors with long vowel word families (i.e., igh in highest or ig in assignment ) seemed to occur within specific morphological categories, i.e., phonol ogical shift and no shift, respectively. Finally, the largest number of errors, which we re also spread across the most linguistic features, was noted in the phonological sh ift and orthographic + phonological shift categories. In summary, vowel errors were domin ant throughout the orthographic feature codes. The vowel-related categories comprised 44% ( n =147) of the errors in this category. The next largest numbe r of orthographic errors ( n =82) concerned letter doubling, which comprised 24% of the total number of orthographic errors. The last major error pattern within the orthographic category conc erned derivational suffixes (code: OSUFD) in which a suffix not covere d by any other category was incorrectly spelled (e.g., dangerous spelled as dangeres ). There were 52 errors in this category or 16% of the total number of orthographic errors. Phonological feature errors There were a total of 72 to tal feature errors. Table 4 shows the prominent phonologica l feature errors. A complete list of phonological feature errors can be viewed in Appendix H.
37 Table 4. Most Prominent Phonological F eature Codes by Morphological Category. Homonyms Inflections No Shift Ortho Shift Phono Shift Ortho + Phono Shift Total Sonorant Cluster (PSON) 1 6 8 3 6 24 Consonant Addition (PCA) 1 1 2 3 8 15 The orthographic shift and orthographic + phonological sh ift categories contained the greatest number of phonol ogical errors. Two linguistic f eatures predominated here. The first was sonorant cl uster reduction (PSON; confidenc e spelled as confidec e ), and consonant addition (PCA; disappear spelled as dist appear ). It was interesting to note that the fewest number of errors occurred in the homonyms and inflections category, while consonant additions most frequently occurr ed in the orthographi c + phonological shift category. The latter finding may be relate d to the stress pattern change at the morphological boundary. In summary, the most prevalent phonologi cal feature error wa s sonorant cluster reduction (code: PSON; n = 24 errors or 33% of the tota l number of phonological errors). There were 15 errors associated with the feature of adding unnece ssary consonants that resulted in a change in th e phonological structur e (code: PCA). These comprised 21.7% of the total phonol ogical errors. Feature errors that combined linguistic categories There were a total of 33 combination errors that could be explained by two linguistic features (See Table 5). These are considered to be combination errors because it is difficult to attribute the error
38 to a particular linguistic cat egory. See Appendix I for a comp lete listing of these error types. Table 5. Most Prominent Combination Feature Codes by Morphological Category. Homonyms Inflections No Shift Ortho Shift Phono Shift Ortho + Phono Shift Total Spelling Phonologically Accurate (MOSP) 11 11 Letter Reversal (POR) 2 1 4 4 11 As illustrated in Table 5, lett er reversal errors (POR; e.g., building spelled biulding ) seemed to occur in most categories. The absence of this linguistic feature in the orthographic shift and phonological shift categories is most likely due to the nature of the target words used and should not be considered as something that is affected by this type of morphological category. However, this idea needs further investig ation. MOSP errors (e.g., excellent is spelled as exilent ) tended to occur only in the orthographic and phonological shift category. This finding might be related to resource competition in that this category is presumed to contain wo rds that are most difficult to spell. Morphological feature errors There were a total of 22 morphological feature errors. Table 6 shows morphological error feature usage. A complete list of morphological feature errors can be viewed in Appendix J.
39 Table 6. Morphological Feature Co des by Morphological Category. Homonyms Inflections No Shift Ortho Shift Phono Shift Ortho + Phono Shift Total Derivation (Root Word) (MDER) 1 8 1 10 Homonyms (MHOM) 8 8 Derivational Morphology (MDVM) 1 1 1 3 Suffix (MSUF) 1 1 Two error features explained most of the morphological errors. These linguistic features were difficulties with the root word (e.g., argument spelled as argue ment ) and difficulties in choosing the correct homonym to use (i.e., close for clothes ). Difficulties in spelling the root word, but not the suffix o ccurred most often in the orthographic shift condition. Here, it is possib le that the increased co mplexity of changing the morphological structure of the word resulted in poorer spelling of the root (i.e., resource competition). However, few errors have been noted in the homonyms category, so it is apparent that the children did not misspe ll the words, but instead did not pay enough attention to the semantic content of the se ntence in order to select the appropriate homonym for the senten ce context provided. In conclusion, there were four morphologica l feature error codes used to describe the participants misspellings. The most fre quent morphological erro r occurred when the root word was spelled incorre ctly and did not fit any othe r category, but the suffix was correct (e.g., excellent spelled ecallent ). There were 10 errors of this type representing 45% of the morphological errors.
40 Morphological Spelling Test Perf ormance and Participant Variables(Questions 3 and 4) Participants Ages and Pare nts Education Levels Correlations were used to determine rela tionships between the error patterns and participants age and their parents ed ucational levels. Pearson Product Moment Correlations compared the participants age a nd mothers educational level. The results are listed in Table 7 below. Table 7. Correlations for Age, Parents E ducation Levels and Mo rphological Category. ME DE Hom Inf NoSh Ortho Phono OrPho Age -.158 .009 -.470 -.473 ** -.470 -.305 -.418 -.510 ** ME .511 ** .010 .155 -.007 -.193 .216 .004 DE -.269 -.174 -.051 -.340 -.144 -.327 Hom .753 ** .625 ** .659 ** .301 .724 ** Inf .740 ** .644 ** .499 ** .734 ** NoSh .627 ** .326 .671 ** Ortho .468 .663 ** Phono .428 *= Correlation is signific ant at the .05 level **= Correlation is signif icant at the .01 level Age= Participants age; ME= Mothers highest level of education; DE= Fathers highest level of education; Hom= Homonyms; Inf=Inflections; NoSh=No Shift; Ortho= Orthographic Shift; Phono=Phonological Sh ift; OrPhono=Orthographic + Phonological
41 Age. The number of overall correct res ponses on the experimental spelling measure, (M= 25.03, SD= 6.684, N=29) and age (M= 10.79, SD=2.258) were significantly correlated, r (27) = .54, r2 =.29. In other words, as age increased, the number of correctly spelled words on the spelling m easure also increased. Age was negatively correlated with the number of errors made in each of the morphological categories tested, with the exception of the orthographic shift category (See Table 7). These results would suggest that as age increases, the number of errors in each category decreased. These correlations ranged from -0.418 to -0.510 a nd accounted for 17-20% of the variance between the factors (r2s = 0.17 0.26). Additionally, the nu mbers of errors in each morphological category were positively correlat ed with each other wi th the exception of the phonological shift category which was not significantly correlated with the homonym and no shift categories. Additional statistical analys is investigated the perfor mance by younger (below the mean of 10 years) versus the older partic ipants. The independent variables were age group and morphological category and the depend ent variable was number of errors in each morphological category. A repeated measures two-way ANOVA revealed a significant main effect for ag e group, F(1,27) = 7.136; p < .013, 2 p = .209, and morphological category, F( 1,27) = 87.729; p < .001, 2 p = .765. These findings support the previous results showing a difference in performance across morphological categories and indicate that similar patterns of pe rformance were noted across age groups, younger participants made more errors in each mo rphological category than older participants. These findings are illustrated in Figure 3 below.
42 Figure 3. Number of Errors in each Morphological Category by Age Group. Parents education. Parents education was not si gnificantly correlated with the number of correct responses on the experiment al spelling measure (See Table 8). Neither maternal nor paternal education was signifi cantly correlated with performance on any of the primary coding categories of th e experimental spelling measure. Performance on Standardize d Language Measures Correlations were also used to determ ine relationships between performance on the morphologically based spelling task a nd the language related subtests. Pearson Product Moment Correlations compared perfor mance on the experimental spelling task and four subtests of the Woodcock Johnson III Test of Achievement (Woodcock et al., 2001). The language subtests of Letter Word Recognition, Spelling, Paragraph
43 Comprehension and Picture Vocabulary were not significantly correlated with the total number of errors on the experi mental spelling measure. Summary of Results The misspellings demonstrated by the typically developing children on the morphologically-based spelling task were ex amined by linguistic ca tegory and feature. The error patterns exhibited by the typically devel oping children featured the greatest number of errors in orthography, followe d by phonology, combination errors, and finally morphology errors. Four patterns were observed in the spel ling errors of these typically developing children. By far, the first and most common e rror pattern involved the feature codes for vowels. Five types of vowel errors were prominent (e.g., OVE, OVr, OVS, OVDI, and OLWF) with the OVE (vowel errors) patter n and the OVr (rhotic vowel) pattern being the most common. Second, errors related to doubling, both in neglecting to double a consonant and in doubling a consonant unnecess arily were noted. Incorrect spelling of derivational suffixes (OSUFD), such as juiciey for juicy and the reduction of sonorant consonant clusters (PSON), which in tur n, changed the phonologica l structure of the word were the last two common errors. Age was correlated with total number correct and all of the morphological categories, except for the orthographic shift. Parent education did not have a significant correlation with spelling ability for either the number of correct spellings or the individual morphological categor ies. Furthermore, the four language subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson (Woodcock et al., 2001) were not significantly corre lated with the overall number of number of correct spelli ngs on the experiment al spelling measure.
44 These findings would suggest that the experi mental spelling measure was sensitive to age-related changes in spelling, but did not seem to test the traditional notions of spelling, which tend to focus on word lists taken from grade level readers.
45 Chapter FourDiscussion This study sought to examine the error patt erns displayed in typically developing children for later comparison to children with ASD. A total of 29 typically developing children, ages 8-15years, were age matched a nd gender matched to participants with ASD from a companion study (Wiggins, 2009). Usi ng the procedures and materials from Wiggins (2009), the children were asked to spell 36 words of differing morphological complexity. Qualitative results focused on a feature analysis of the morphologically-based words along with their relationship to word fr equency. Four main patterns of errors were found: (1) vowels; (2) consonant doubling; (3) incorrectly spelled suffixes; and (4) sonorant clusters. Correlations between ag e and spelling ability were found in the typically developing children, while parental education and childrens spelling accuracy was not correlated. Finally, th e total number of correctly spelled words and the language subtests administered were uncorrelated. The following is a discussion of the resu lts in regard to the studys research questions. Discussion includes the consistency or inconsistency of results with prior research based on the error patterns that em erged. The strengths and limitations of the study and further areas for resear ch will also be addressed.
46 Specific Questions Addressed Group Differences in Performance on the Spelling Task The first question addressed whether the participants with ASD demonstrated a different developmental pattern when compar ed to typically developing participants. Results of the repeated measures ANOVA and post hoc paired samples t-tests indicated that, for both groups of participants, the categories of phonological shifts and orthographic + phonological shif ts were significantly more difficult than the other categories. This indicated th at the pattern of developmen t, based purely on number of misspellings per morphological category, for ch ildren with ASD was similar to that of children with typical development. The only difference was that children with ASD made more errors within each category. Quantitative results for the group with ASD paralleled the performance patterns of children with dyslexia or LLD (Boura ssa & Treiman, 2008; Silliman et al., 2006; Tsesmeli & Seymour, 2006). Additionally, thes e findings correspond with the growing body of research suggesting that that childre n with ASD display patterns of language development that are similar to those of children with dyslexia and LLD (Kjelgaard & Tager-Flusberg, 2001; Tager-Flusberg, 2004). In other words, the lags in development are quantitative and not qualita tive. However, it cannot be ru led out that the repeated findings of quantitative differences may be a pr oduct of less sensitivity of the instruments to qualitative differences.
47 Linguistic Feature Error Patterns in the Pe rformances of Typically Developing Children The linguistic feature error patterns w ill be discussed by first considering the global morphological categories. This overview is followed by an analysis of the four major overarching patterns that emerged in the feature analysis: vowel errors, doubling errors, derivational suffix errors, and sonorant cluster errors. Overall patterns of typica lly developing participants. In this study, the morphological categories, from easiest to most difficult, followed a pattern of: 1) homonyms, 2) inflections, 3) no shift, 4) orthographic shif t, 5) phonological shift, and finally, 6) orthographic + phonological shifts. Not surprisingly, the most morphologically complex categories, phonological and ort hographic + phonological sh ifts, elicited the most misspellings. The words in the phonologi cal shift category required a shift in phonology (pronunciation) when adding the derivation, while the orthographic + phonological shift category required a shift in orthography (spelling) and phonology. This finding is similar to Carlisle (1988, 2000) w ho found that words, which undergo shifts in orthography and/or phonology from the base to the derived form, were more difficult to recognize and produce accurately than those words with more transparent derivations. Vowel errors. Vowel errors were the most common group of errors produced. Of course, there are vowels in every word; therefore, frequency was influenced by opportunity. There were five main types of vow el error patterns seen in the typically developing group: incorrect vowel used for a schwa, rhotic vowel errors, short vowel errors, vowel digraphs, and long vowel family errors. This finding was anticipated since many studies have shown that learning to spel l vowels is a complex task (Treiman, 1993). Studies using adult participants have shown that the selection of a vowel pattern is
48 influenced by two main issues: (1) vowel inte rdependency or the vowel s that are typically grouped together (Treiman & Kessler, 2006) and (2) the surrounding consonantal context (Treiman, Kessler, & Bick, 2002). Researchers have addressed exactly when children become sensitive to these two issues with alternative theo ries. Some theorists have suggested that children become aware of onset and rime before they beco me aware of phonemes and use this knowledge to spell words (Treiman & Zukowski, 1988). Others believe that children become sensitive to onset and rime early, but only us e that knowledge later wh en they learn about the constituent phonemes (Caravolas, Hulme, & Snowling, 2001; Treiman, 1993). The latter theory relates to implic it learning and is called the connectionist model. It focuses on the frequency of exposure that influences linguistic knowledge. Th e child first learns by repeated experience with se quences of letters and then becomes sensitive to the frequency with which letter combinations are used. This knowledge is then stored in long term memory so the child can effectiv ely predict which one (s) to select. Caravolas, Kessler, Hulme, and Snowling (2005) found that th e consistency of vowel spellings in the English language was a predictor of children s spelling ability. In other words, the more consistent and frequen tly a particular vowel spelling is used, the more likely children are to spel l it correctly. Children are not explicitly taught about the probabilities of vowel phonemes so it was surmised that incidental le arning was a factor in vowel spelling development. Others (e.g., Hutzler, Ziegler, Perry, Wimmer, & Zorzi, 2004) in their work with different languages have added to this prediction theory. Hutzler et al. (2004) suggested that the c onnectionist model was more effective when explicit training of grapheme-phoneme rules wa s also provided. Caravolas et al. (2005)
49 agreed with this position by showing that vowel accuracy was also influenced by the number of letters contained in the vowel (w ord simplicity) and whet her the target vowel grapheme was associated with the co mmonly taught phoneme for that vowel. In the present study, word frequency was c ontrolled in the word selection process for the experimental spelling test. However, since the measure was specifically designed to test childrens morphological skills, this meant the inclusion of more complex and possibly less frequently used words (See Appendix B), particularly for the younger participants. Because the correct spelling of vowels is sensitive to word frequency, this could have influenced the current results. In addition, there were shifts in pronunciation of some of the vowels from the root word s to their derived words, thereby further complicating the words. For example, the /i/ in the word please shifts to / / in pronouncing the word pleasant Even though the spelling does not change, this shift in phonology challenges the child rens spelling skills. Another instance where the link betw een phonology and orthography may be a factor in childrens spelling of vowels is in the rhotic vow el. With 12 words containing rhotic vowels in the spelling test (i.e., four wear stir ring danger ous ar gument scar y differ ent disappear major ity conver tible natur al and sever ity ), there were multiple opportunities for the children to demonstrate th eir knowledge of rhotic vowels. Research shows that the most common spelling that child ren use to represent the rhotic vowel is er (Reece & Treiman, 2001). The typically deve loping group followed this pattern with many of their errors in this category. In the misspellings of disappear majority and natural the most common error in the rhotic vowel was spelled as er In misspellings of stirring the errors were mostly represented by ur then er This error makes sense
50 phonologically. In the misspellings of severity where the correct spelling is er ar was their most common substitution. When it came to misspellings of the word different errors involved syllable reduction or sync ope, where the word is spelled as it is pronounced in conversational speech (e.g., different to diffrent ). There were no misspellings involving the rhotic vowel in four wear or convertible While the lack of rhotic misspellings of the word four and wear are most likely due to being higher frequency words, the lack of these misspellings in convertible is more likely due to the fact that the rhotic vow el is already spelled er and it is pronounced as er as well. Orthographic letter doubling. Within the spelling protocol, eight words required the use of doubled consonants for correct sp ellings. In some cases, doubled consonants were a part of the root word (i.e., different discussion attention disappear assignment ). In other instances, the consonant was doubled as a result of the syllable juncture rule (i.e., stirring stopped excellent ). Two types of errors we re made regarding doubled consonants. First, there were those that o ccurred because participants failed to double a consonant. Second, there were those that o ccurred as a result of the participants incorrectly doubling singleton consonants. This specific sampling of words with doubling may have increased the error rate of this linguistic feature as opposed to the less systematic patterns seen in a natural writing sample. Cassar and Treiman (1997) posed that children learn how to spell doubled consonants by integrating their phonological, orthogr aphic, and morphological knowledge, which is developed through experi ence with print. While Wright and Ehri (2007) explain that children who are learni ng the written form of the English language are more likely to double consonants when they are in the pos ition for legal letter
51 doubling patterns (e.g., at the ends of words). This pattern holds even when children are taught to do so in illegal patte rns (e.g., at the beginning of wo rds). Furthermore, in order for children to learn the correct pattern, th ey have to be explicitly taught how to accurately spell these specific words. Howe ver, for obvious reasons, children are not explicitly taught how to spell every word in their repertoire. The children in the present study may have displayed difficulty with determining when to appropriately double consonants in their spellings because the words did not exist in their repertoire eith er through their general experi ences or their specific school curriculum. However, in other studies that have used the POMAS coding system to investigate spelling errors (e.g., Silliman et al., 2006), doubling errors were also a prominent error pattern. Derivational Suffixes Another common error in the childrens misspellings was incorrect spelling of the deri vational suffixes. It has been suggested that derivational forms develop concurrently with inflecti onal forms (Carlisle, 2003), but are mastered much later in development than inflections (Green et al., 2003; Figueredo & Varnhagen, 2004). The predominant errors in this study centered around two consistent misspellings of the suffixes: pleasant (e.g., please nt ) and convertible (e.g., converta ble ). The word pleasant is an opaque derivational form in wh ich the changes occur in orthography and phonology (e.g., please pleasant) The phonological opacity of a word has been shown to decrease the accuracy with which children identify the re lationship between base and derived words (Fowler & Liberman, 1995). However, the errors in the word convertible may be more related to word frequency sin ce this word had the lowest U value of the
52 spelling items selected. Hence, it is possi ble both complexity and word frequency contributed to this pattern of errors. Sonorant cluster reduction The deletion of consonants was primarily present in the form of cluster reduction. Treiman, Z ukowski, & Richmond-Welty (1995) suggested clusters were learned differentially by child ren. They posited that how children perceive clusters depends on the consonant context af ter the vowel. If the vowel is followed by a sonorant, then children tend to treat the sonor ant and the vowel as one unit and represent it as a single vowel (e.g., childr en represented as chidr en ; Treiman et al., 1995). However, if the vowel is followed by an obstrue nt, then children are more likely to align it with the following consonant than the pre ceding vowel. Therefore, the perception of a cluster is more salient for childre n it contains an obstruent (e.g., convertibl e ). Treiman and Cassar (1996) found that consonant voici ng did not seem to be a factor. These observations were overwhelmingly supported by the results of the present study. In all but two misspellings, the children identified with the vowel and omitted the sonorant. Correlations of Performance on the Spelling Task with Participants Ages and Their Parents Educational Levels Age. The number of correct responses on the experimental spelling measure and age were moderately correlated, r (27) = .54, r2 =.29 indicating that 29 % of the variance was due to age. In fact, age was significan tly correlated to a ll of the POMAS coding categories with the exception of orthographic shift. The patterns noted in these target words include some of the most common suffixes taught in school (e.g., -ly -tion -ment -y ; Honig, Diamond, Gutlohn, & Mahler, 2000). Si nce these patterns are taught more
53 consistently, most of the 29 children would have had similar levels of experience with the patterns within these spellings. Age was m ild to moderately correlated with the homonyms (r2 =.22), no shift (r2 =.22), and phonological shift (r2 =.17) categories and moderately correlated with the inflections (r2 =.22) and orthographic + phonological shift categories (r2 =.26) indicating that age was related to correct spelling in each of these categories. Since orthographic, phonological, and morphological awareness improve as a function of age, these processe s become better integrated as children grow older resulting in more accurate spelling (Berninger & Fayol, 20 08). This is illustra ted in the moderate correlation of age with the orthographic + phonological category, which was the most difficult of the categories coded. Additionally, the fact that the spelling items in this test were specifically designed to test morphological abilities in spelling brings the age vari able to the forefront. In a longitudinal study of children grades 1 to 7, orthographic, phonological, and morphological awareness showed growth from grades 1 to 3 but morphological awareness continued to grow after grade 3 (Berninger & Fayol, 2008). Parent educational levels. Parent education did not ha ve a significant correlation with spelling ability on the experimental sp elling measure for either the number of correct spellings or the indi vidual categories. This is re latively surprising since many studies have shown a strong association between maternal education and literacy development (Magnuson, 2007). Positive correla tions have been found between mothers educational attainment and childrens test scores, academic outcomes, and cognitive development (Davis-Kean, 2005; Sirin, 2005).
54 Correlations of Performance Spelling Ta sk with Language-Related Subtests on a Standardized Measure The four language subtests of the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock et al., 2001) were not significantl y correlated with th e overall number of correct spellings on the experime ntal spelling measure. Initia lly, this may seem surprising unless the difference between standardized testing measures and this experimental spelling measure is examined. Standardized spelling test stimuli are hi ghly correlated with grade level reading word lists (Deno, Mirking, Lowry, & Kuehnle, 1980). The spelling words on standardized tests are not typi cally crafted to reflect lingui stic demands, but are usually crafted based on frequently used words in grade level reading lists. Since this experimental test was crafted with the expr ess purpose of taxing the use of morphological knowledge, children were probably less frequently exposed to this corpus of words in their grade level readings. Th erefore, their performance would reflect less knowledge gained from incidental learning whic h would impact th is correlation. Strengths and Limitation s of the Present Study Sample of Participants One of the limitations to the present study is the sample of participants. First, the sample size of 29 participants is relative ly small. However, because this study was designed to act as a control group for the Wi ggins (2009) study in age and gender, the sample size was the same as in that study.
55 Secondly, an inclusionary requirement fo r the typically developing participants was that they receive a score of at least 85 on the spelling subtest of Woodcock Johnson III Test of Achievement (Woodcock et al., 2001). There were four participants who were more than one standard deviation above the mean on the spelling subtest. These advanced spellers could have influenced the outcome in comparing profiles to children with ASD and in the pattern of errors. Spelling Inventory One of the strengths in using this spelli ng inventory was its balance according to frequency of the words within the word fr equency literature (Ze no et al., 1995) for the participants grade levels in this stud y. With the purpose of taxing morphological knowledge, the total corpus of words may have been less familiar to the children. Similarly, the younger children may have not been familiar with some of the words presented in the protocol. This is a limitati on since there was no testing to determine if the participants were familiar with the words. While valuable information can be gained by examining how the children handled the complexity of spelling unfamiliar words, testing to see if they had some familiarity with the words would have given more strength to statements made about why they were unable to produce more accurate spellings. However, within the spelling protocol, the use of both senten ce and picture contexts provided for greater opportunity to determine the meaning of the word if it was unknown. This is one of the strengths in the study. Another strength of this study was in the method of presenting the spelling inventory via computer software. By utilizing EcosWin software, all participants received
56 the words in the same format; therefore, presentation procedures were prevented from being a factor that affected the outcome of the data. Scoring Systems Fidelity in scoring systems is diffic ult by nature (Silliman et al., 2006). The POMAS (Silliman et al., 2006) scoring system is comprised of complex and subjective error codes. This made coding the words accurate ly and reliably a challenge. Still, use of the POMAS scoring system strengthened this study because it allowed for an examination of error patterns by linguistic ca tegory and feature acro ss the entire sample. This approach gives a more accurate picture of childrens spelling ability compared to a scoring system based on correct/incorre ct performance. In summary, the POMAS allowed for a deeper understanding as to why children were misspelling words and having difficulties with particular aspects of morphology. Additionally, use of this type of scoring system provides insight into what pa tterns of spelling need to be specifically addressed when teaching beginners and even older students. Implications for Future Research One suggestion for future research is th at the design should allow for a more indepth analysis of childre ns background understanding of morphology. The present study only asked that the children sp ell the derived forms of words. From a metalinguistic perspective, assessment was not done to dete rmine if the children knew how to accurately spell the root words of these derived forms. For example, if the participant was able to spell discuss and then the derived form as descosion then one might speculate that the child is not yet making those derivationa l connections. A measure, such as a
57 morphological awareness test (Carlisle, 1988, 2000), could determine if children were able to decompose derivations into their root word. This would make coding errors via the POMAS somewhat less subjective. Another suggestion for future research w ould be to explore the spellings of words in text, as well as words in isolation. The di ctated spelling task of single target words allowed investigation of burgeoning spelling skill s since research indicates that children may avoid particularly challenging words during composition tasks (Berninger, Abbott, Abbott, Graham, & Richards, 2002). However, by their very nature, dictated spelling measures are relatively decontextualized a nd do not necessarily indicate how a child would perform when given a composition tas k. Compositional tasks also allow for the researcher to evaluate spelling errors when other factors come into play, such as attention, memory, and implementation of gr ammatical structures (Apel & Masterson, 2001). So, in order to more fully assess a childs linguistic system, the spelling investigation should consist of a natural format (e.g., story writing) in addition to a dictated format (e.g., words in isolation). Most importantly, with the purpose of the present study in mind, future research should focus on comparing the error patterns produced by typically developing children with those exhibited by children with ASD. Fr om the quantitative results in the present study, it is seems clear that children with ASD produce more errors than typically developing children. However, it is still unknown whether thos e errors are similar in linguistic category and feature.
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70 Appendix A Assent Forms Assent Form Part One Young My name is ____________________ and today if you want you can play some games with me. First we are going to check your hearing. Then we are going to play some games where I will ask you some questions. We will be playing these games so I can find out some of the things y ou know and some of the things you do not know for an experiment I am doing for school. While we are playing these game s you may get tired and want to stop. It is okay if you decide you do not want to play anymore. Just tell me you want to stop and we will. If you would like to play these games with me today please sign your name on the line on this paper. _________________________________ _________________________________ Participant Date Investigator Date
71 Appendix A (Continued) Assent Form Part Two Young My name is ____________________ and today if you want you can do a spelling game. The game is on the computer and you can type or write your responses. We will be playing the spelling game so I can find out some of the words you know how to spell and some of the words you do not know how to spell for an experiment I am doing for school. While we are playing the game you may get tired and want to stop. It is okay if you decide you do not want to play anymore. Just tell me you want to st op and we will. If you would like to play the game with me toda y please sign your name on the line on this paper. _________________________________ _________________________________ Participant Date Investigator Date
72 Appendix A (Continued) Assent Form Part One Older My name is ____________________ and today if you want you can do some assessments with me. First we are going to ch eck your hearing. Then we are going to play some games where I will ask you some questions. We will be doing these assessments so I can find out some of the things you know and some of the things you do not know for an experiment I am doing for school. While we are doing the assessments you may get tired and want to stop. It is okay if you decide you do not want to participate anymore. Just tell me you want to stop and we will. If you would like to participate with me today please sign your name on the line on this paper. _________________________________ _________________________________ Participant Date Investigator Date
73 Appendix A (Continued) Assent Form Part Two Older My name is ____________________ and today if you want you can do a spelling assessment. The assessment is on the computer and you can type or write your responses. We will be doing the spelling assessment so I can find out some of the words you know how to spell and some of the words you do not know how to spell for an experiment I am doing for school. While we are doing the asse ssment you may get tire d and want to stop. It is okay if you decide you do not want to pa rticipate anymore. Just tell me you want to stop and we will. If you would like to participate with me today please sign your name on the line on this paper. _________________________________ _________________________________ Participant Date Investigator Date
74 Appendix B Word List by Category Homonyms Inflections No Shift Orthographic Shift Phonological Shift Ortho + Phono Shift Aloud Cries Dangerous Argu ment Different Pleasant Four Stirring Friendship A ttention Disappear Excellent Week Stopped Assignment Juicy Majority Student Clothes Kicked Smoothly Hungry Convertible Natural Sent Building Highest Easily Children Severity Wear Teaches Windy Scary Discussion Confidence Definitions of Word List Categories Homonyms are words that have one phonological form but two distinct meanings (Storkel & Maekawa, 2005). Inflections are words that have an affix to the root word which indicates number, person, tense or case (Green et al., 2003). Words in the no shift category do not have sh ifts in pronunciation or spelling from root word to derived form (Carlisle, 2000). Orthographic shift words have an orthographi c shift but no phonologica l shift from base to derived form (Carlisle, 2000) Phonological shift words reflect shifts in pr onunciation from base to the derived form (Carlisle, Stone, & Katz, 2001). Orthographic + phonological shift words ar e different from the base word both orthographically and phonol ogically (Carlisle, 2000).
75 Appendix C Word Frequency by Category (Zeno et al., 1995) Homonyms Word Page # U valueSFI value 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Aloud 30 18 52.7 1 24 25 23 18 17 18 17 Four 122 349 65.4 249 293 326 339 375 384 396 399 Week 294 141 61.5 133 193 125 132 149 141 139 133 Clothes 68 126 61 192 179 181 155 130 127 117 122 Sent 241 179 62.5 123 139 164 212 223 221 224 215 Wear 294 82 59.2 106 108 111 97 85 84 80 78 No Shift Word Page # U valueSFI value 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dangerous 84 73 58.7 35 57 62 78 87 90 86 81 Friendship 123 15 51.9 5 8 9 13 17 17 16 17 Assignment 38 13 51.4 1 6 6 7 8 9 10 12 Smoothly 250 15 51.8 4 9 13 18 19 18 18 17 Highest 139 44 56.5 7 13 20 40 42 42 45 45 Windy 297 6 48.1 11 13 13 7 4 3 3 3
76 Appendix C (Continued) Phonological Shift Word Page # U valueSFI value 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Different 91 703 68.5 413 554 599 670 713 704 711 716 Disappear 92 18 52.7 10 18 18 18 20 21 20 20 Majority 171 41 56.2 0 0 0 2 9 15 20 24 Convertible 77 1 41.9 0 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 Children 64 478 66.8 503 483 440 469 450 437 421 422 Discussion 93 44 56.5 1 5 6 11 16 19 23 23 Orthographic Shift Word Page # U valueSFI value 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Argument 36 31 55 5 7 12 11 13 15 16 16 Attention 39 127 61 43 58 74 89 113 120 126 123 Juicy 157 3 45.2 4 4 3 4 4 2 2 1 Hungry 143 62 57.9 166 127 112 79 63 56 49 45 Easily 100 134 61.3 43 67 88 104 123 122 129 146 Scary 237 5 47.2 22 8 7 6 5 5 3 2 Inflections Word Page # U valueSFI value 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Cries 81 10 50.2 15 11 10 10 12 12 11 10
77 Appendix C (Continued) Stirring 260 9 49.7 5 5 10 14 12 10 10 9 Stopped 260 183 62.6 442 367 310 229 192 175 157 142 Kicked 159 12 51.1 31 28 23 18 17 14 12 10 Building 54 192 62.8 149 130 165 172 177 183 201 205 Teaches 269 5 47.3 4 4 4 5 4 5 5 5 Orthographic + Phonological Shift Word Page # U value SFI value 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pleasant 206 44 56.5 23 36 43 51 58 58 50 57 Excellent 109 36 55.6 2 7 15 26 31 36 40 43 Student 262 82 59.1 10 20 22 33 43 46 51 56 Natural 185 184 62.7 16 34 52 119 145 159 1169191 Severity 242 2 44.1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 Confidence 73 25 54 3 6 10 13 16 17 18 21 Type= number of different words; Tokens= word s in the corpus; U= the frequency of the type per million tokens weighted by the wo rds use across different subject areas; SFI= a logarithmic transformation of U making th e U value easier to use (e.g., SFI of 88.3= frequency of 67,500 per million); 2-9= The U valu e per grade level text in the corpus
78 Appendix D Stimuli The dog waited for his food. Spell the word dog. The cats played with the ball of yarn. Spell the word cats. The woman read her speech aloud. Spell the word aloud. Her calendar was full for the week. Spell the word week. The answer to the math problem was four. Spell the word four. The boy went shopping for new clothes. Spell the word clothes. Her mom sent her to buy some fruit. Spell the word sent. She wanted to wear the new boots to school. Spell the word wear.
79 Appendix D (Continued) Skydiving can be dangerous. Spell the word dangerous. The girls have a very close friendship. Spell the word friendship. The mother helped her son with his assignment. Spell the word assignment. The interview went smoothly. Spell the word smoothly. The majority of the faces were smiling. Spell the word majority. The Eiffel tower is the highest point in Paris. Spell the word highest. During a tornado it is very windy. Spell the word windy. A diamond and an oval look very different. Spell the word different.
80 Appendix D (Continued) The magician made the rabbit disappear. Spell the word disappear. The children are playing ball. Spell the word children. The red convertible was for sale. Spell the word convertible. The two boys had an argument. Spell the word argument. The employees were having a discussion. Spell the word discussion. When you are driving you have to pay close attention. Spell the word attention. The boy took a bite of the juicy apple. Spell the word juicy. At lunch time, the girl was hungry. Spell the word hungry.
81 Appendix D (Continued) The girl easily ate her lunch and worked at the same time. Spell the word easily. The boy wore a scary mask. Spell the word scary. The baby cries a lot. Spell the word cries. The girl is stirring th e soup. Spell the word stirring. The car stopped at the light. Spell the word stopped. The girl kicked the ball. Spell the word kicked. The woman had the plans for the new building. Spell the word building. The man teaches the woman how to make hamburgers. Spell the word teaches.
82 Appendix D (Continued) The nice weather at the beach made it a pleasant day. Spell the word pleasant. The girl received an excellent grade on her test. Spell the word excellent. The student raised her hand. Spell the word student. The forest has a lot of natural beauty. Spell the word natural. The criminal knew the severity of his actions. Spell the word severity. The woman had confidence when she gave her speech. Spell the word confidence.
83 Appendix E Total Number of Correct Spellings (Maximum Score = 36) on the Experimental Spelling Measure for All Included Participants ( N=29 ) Participant Age Gender # Correct Spellings 1 8 M 29 2 8 M 26 3 8 M 9 4 8 M 16 5 8 M 21 6 8 M 12 7 8 M 20 8 9 M 25 9 9 M 14 10 9 M 31 11 10 F 32 12 10 M 28 13 10 M 28 14 10 M 23 15 10 M 18 16 11 M 27 17 12 M 27 18 12 M 29
84 Appendix E (Continued)19 12 M 18 20 12 M 32 21 12 M 29 22 13 F 34 23 13 M 33 24 13 F 21 25 13 M 29 26 14 F 28 27 14 M 24 28 14 M 31 29 15 M 32 M= Male F= Female
85 Appendix F Recognition Rules In order to describe the error, it was firs t determined which linguistic category the error was made in (e.g., phonological, orthographic, morphological, or a combination). After the linguistic category was determined, the error feature was coded according to the POMAS coding chart. Phonological category: An error was consid ered to be phonologi cal in nature if the sound structure of the word was not fully represented or was changed as a result of the incorrect, additional or omitted letters. Orthographic category: An error was consid ered to be orthogra phic in nature if the sound structure was fully represented, but with incorrect or omitted letters. Morphological category: An error was consid ered to be morphological in nature if there were omitted or incorrect letters in the inflectional or the derivational affix. POMAS Codes with Examples Category Code Description Example P PCA Consonant addition When a consonant is added, resulting in a change in the phonologic structure assindment | assignment P PCD Consonant deletion When a consonant is deleted, resulting in a change in the phonologic structure beame | became
86 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example P PDIP Diphthong When diphthong is reduced to a single vowel arond | around P PDV Devoicing When a voiced consonant is spelled with an incorrect voiceless consonant pusels | puzzles P PEP Epenthesis When a vowel is added th at creates an additional syllable in a word tolid | told P PFCD Final consonant deletion When the final consonant is omitted kee | keep P PFLP Flaps (t/d; d/t) When a flap is spelled with the incorrect consonant pride | pretty P PFPV Final position voicing When a final consonant that should be voiced is represented as voiceless becus | because P PGLI Gliding When a glide (w/y) is substituted for a liquid (r/l) cawe | scary P PFR Fronting When a back consonant is replaced by a front consonant graphits | graphics
87 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example P PNE Nasal error (n/m; m/n) When an n is substituted for m or vice versa junp | jump P PSC S-clusters When an s-cluster is reduced bes | best P PSE Silent -e patterns When the silent -e in a long vowel pattern is omitted lik | like P PSON Sonorant clusters (nasals, l, r, j) When a sonorant cluster is reduced ad | and P PSONC Sonorant substitution (r/l; l/r) When r is substituted with l or vice versa crever | clever P PSR Syllable reduction When a syllable is omitted from a word maroni | macaroni P PSRS Schwa reduced syllable When the syllabic schwa is omitted from a word anmols | animals P PST Stopping When a plosive is substituted for a fricative or affricate teel | feel P PSV Short vowels When a short vowel is spelled with a long vowel pattern kite | kit
88 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example P PVOCR Vocalic r When the r following a vowel is omitted cos | curls O OAA Apostrophe added gets | gets O OCD Consonant doubling When a consonant is doubled unnecessarily terriffic | terrific O OCE Consonant error When the incorrect consonant is used sogt | soft O OCL Capital letter When a word is not capitalized that should be california | California O ODI Digraphs When a consonant digraph is reduced sip | ship O OHY Hyphen When a hyphen is removed or used incorrectly fortytwo | forty-two O OHSV c/k hard and soft velars When a hard velar such as k is replaced with a soft velar such as c mace| make O OLD Letter doubling When a consonant is supposed to be doubled, but is not (usually syllable juncture) triped | tripped
89 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example O OLR Letter revers al (b/d, d/b) When a letter is reversed resulting in an incorrect letter bolls | dolls O OLS Letter sound (c/s, s/c, etc.) When an incorrect letter(s) is/are used, but represent(s) the same sound as the correct letter(s) sereal | cereal O OLVP Long vowel pattern When an incorrect long vowel pattern is used; must be phonologically similar to the correct vowel pattern keep | kipe O OLWF Long vowel word families (-old, -igh) A member of a long vowel word family is spelled with the incorrect long vowel pattern, but is phonologically plausible nite | night O ONA No apostrophe When an apostrophe is omitted somebodys | somebodys O OOW One word When one word is spelled as two some times | sometimes O OPA Phoneme addition When a letter is added, but does not change the phonological structure of the word graede | grade
90 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example O OSJ Syllable juncture y to i When adding the suffix, the syllable juncture rule calls for a change in sp elling but the original spelling is maintained cryed | cried O OSL Silent letter /h/ When the silent h in a word is omitted wen | when O OSR Syllable reduction When a syllable is reduced as a result of syncope diffrent | different O OSUFD Suffix error (derivation) When a derivational suffix is spelled incorrectly dangerios | dangerous O OSUFI Suffix error (inflection) When an inflectional suffix is spelled incorrectly stopt | stopped O OSY Syllabic l When syllabic l is spelled incorrectly but is phonologically plausible terdals | turtles O OUVP Unusual vowel pattern When an unusual vowel pattern is represented incorrectly, but is pl ausible phonologically cof | cough O OVDI Vowel digraph (short vowel digraph) When one part of a vowel digraph is omitted but the resulting word is phonologically the same hed | head
91 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example O OVr Rhotic (r-colored) Vowel When rhotic vowel is spelled incorrectly sistr | sister O OVS Vowel error (short) When the incorrect short vowel is used stuped | stupid O OWB Word boundary (2 sep. words) When two separate words are combined eachother | each other O OWW Whole word (substitution) When a whole word is used to substitute a word in part of or in whole areyoument | argument M MDER Derivation (root word) When the root word of a derivation is spelled incorrectly, but the suffi x is spelled correctly depasition | deposition M MDVM Derivational morphology When an incorrect derivational form is used brang | brought M MHOM Homonyms When the incorrect homonym is used there | their M MINF Inflectional morphology When the inflectional suffix is omitted bike | bikes M MPRE Prefixes When the prefix is omitted organize | reorganize
92 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example M MSUF Suffixes When the derivational suffix is omitted normal | normally PO POR Reversals When letters in a word are reversed tis | its PO POVDS Vowel dependent spe llings (tch, dge, ck/ch, ge) When short vowel dependent spellings use the incorrect vowel baitch| batch PO POVM Vowels missing/deleted When there one or more vowels are omitted from the word dble | double MO MCON Contraction Neglecting to add the apos trophe to a contraction wasnt | wasnt MO MOSP Misspelled root word The root word is misspelled but the suffix is spelled correctly; still represents a plausible phonological spelling edgeucation | education MO MOV Overgeneralization When an inflectional suffix is added to a word that is already in the inflectional form losted | lost MP MPVS Visually sim ilar error are | car
93 Appendix F (Continued) Category Code Description Example ILS Illegal letter strings When an error has is no t representative of the target word and are not a legal string of letters within the constraints of the English language lkhbit | cabin CQ Started the word but negl ected to finish it b | buy
94 Appendix G Frequency of Codes Used In Orthographic Category Feature Codes Hom Inf No Shift Ortho Phono Ortho + Phono Total OLD 14 5 9 34 4 66 OVE 12 25 18 55 OSUFD 5 6 16 25 52 OVr 8 1 1 9 17 36 OVS 4 8 16 28 OVDI 1 7 12 20 OLS 9 10 19 OCD 17 17 OLWF 9 9 OCE 1 6 1 8 OSJ 5 5 OSR 1 4 5 OWW 1 4 5 OPE 3 1 4 OLN 3 3 OSY 2 2 ODI 1 1 OLVP 1 1 Total 6 28 34 44 131 93 336
95 Appendix G (Continued) Hom= Homonyms Category Inf= Inflections Category Ortho= Orthographic Shift Category Phono= Phonological Shift Category Ortho + Phono= Orthographic + Phonological Shift Category OLD= Letter Doubling OSUFD= Derivational Suffix OVE= Vowel Error (schwa) OVr= Rhotic Vowel OVS= Short Vowel Error OVDI= Vowel Digraph OCD= Consonant Doubli ng of Singletons OLWF= Long Vowel Word Family OCE= Consonant Error OSJ= Syllable Juncture OSR= Syllable Reduction OWW= Whole Word Substitution OPE= Plural Error OLN= Letter Name OLS= Letter sound OSY= Syllabic /l/ ODI= Digraphs OLVP= Long Vowel Pattern
96 Appendix H Frequency of Codes Used in Phonological Category Feature Codes Hom Inf No Shift Ortho Phono Ortho + Phono Total PSON 1 6 8 3 6 24 PCA 1 1 2 3 8 15 PCD 1 3 1 3 8 PFLP 3 3 6 PSRS 5 1 6 PEP 1 2 3 PSR 3 3 PVO 1 2 3 PCR 1 1 PDV 1 1 PSONC 1 1 PST 1 1 Total 1 2 11 16 19 23 72 Hom= Homonyms Category Inf= Inflections Category Ortho= Orthographic Shift Category Phono= Phonological Shift Category Ortho + Phono= Orthographic + Phonological Shift Category
97 Appendix H (Continued) PSON= Sonorant Cluster Reduction PCA= Consonant Addition PCD= Consonant Deletion PFLP= Flap PSRS= Schwa Reduced Syllable PEP= Epenthesis PSR= Syllable Reduction PVO= Consonant Voicing PCR= Cluster Reduction PDV= Consonant Devoicing PSONC= Sonorant Substitution PST= Stopping
98 Appendix I Frequency of Codes Used in Combinations Category Feature Codes Hom Inf No Shift Ortho Phono Ortho + Phono Total MOSP 11 11 POR 2 1 4 4 11 POVM 1 2 3 6 POVDS 1 2 3 LLS 1 1 2 Total 2 2 5 3 2 19 33 Hom= Homonyms Category Inf= Inflections Category Ortho= Orthographic Shift Category Phono= Phonological Shift Category Ortho + Phono= Orthographic + Phonological Shift Category MOSP= Incorrect Spelling/ Accurate Phonologically POR= Letter Reversal POVM= Vowels Missing/omitted POVDS=Vowel Dependent Spellings LLS= Legal Letter String
99 Appendix J Frequency of Codes Used in Morphological Category Feature Codes Hom Inf No Shift Ortho Phono Ortho + Phono Total MDER 1 8 1 10 MHOM 8 8 MDVM 1 1 1 3 MSUF 1 1 Total 10 0 2 8 2 22 Hom= Homonyms Category Inf= Inflections Category Ortho= Orthographic Shift Category Phono= Phonological Shift Category Ortho + Phono= Orthographic + Phonological Shift Category MSH= Phonological Shift MDER= Derivation (Root Word) MHOM= Homonyms MDVM= Derivational morphology MSUF=Suffix