A study of high school spelling material II

John A. Lester
1922 Journal of Educational Psychology  
Continued from February Journal) 4. Groupings for Purposes of Teaching.-The reader will observe that the purpose of the investigation was not in the main to seek causes but to classify phenomena for the purpose of economical teaching. The aim was not to explain why these words are misspelled, but to observe how they are misspelled, and to group together the misspellings which exhibit a kindred nature. In certain cases, as for instance the fourth class in Table IV below, this classification
more » ... ates the cause at the root of the misspellings indicated. But, in general, the aim is to show the nature, degree, and percentage of certain forms of misspelling. The results of this classification are given in the form of a table. Each column for convenience is numbered and corresponding explanatory notes are added. 1. Word-compounding.-Under mistakes of word-compounding are classified all forms whether written solid, separate, or hyphenated {twentyfive, him self, with-out), as have no support in good usage, and such as plainly alter the meaning intended by the writer (e.g., a white bearded barber). The prevalence of this kind of inaccuracy in writing is revealed only from accumulated records of errors made in free composition. But few of the mistakes in compound adjectives preceding their nouns (e.g., high powered engine), though occurring with great frequency as a class, will occupy a high place in the arrangement of individual frequencies. They are individual, and occur in response to a special need. To determine the relative amount of this kind of misspelling, the sum total of the recorded mistakes in word-compounding was computed, compared with the sum total of recorded misspellings of all kinds, and found to constitute 15.9 per cent of the errors in spelling in free composition. This figure, 15.9, appearing in the table in parentheses, indicates the weight of this error more exactly than the percentage 6.2, which indicates the mistakes of this nature occurring in the most commonly misspelled 775 words. A detailed examination of the mistakes of word-compounding shows that the tendency to separate is 15 times stronger than the tendency to combine in the writing of the students whose work is considered in this investigation. 152
doi:10.1037/h0069146 fatcat:7ozglpcpdjamnlmjzqzcluu6au