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Is it cheating to use spell-checking software at school?

Is it cheating to use spell checking software at school?

The Studying With Dyslexia Blog recently posted an article that considered if there was a place for spell checkers in school. The article explored another article from Teachwire by Sara Wernham the co-author of the Jolly Phonics programme who states that despite students being assessed for spelling and grammar within their exams, referred to as ‘SpaG Marks’, spelling and grammar is simply not taught in a comprehensive way with teachers opting to take an ‘incidental’ approach to teaching it as and when the topic needs to be taught.

With the world being awash with software solutions for pretty much everything it is no surprise that there are software solutions that can help with checking spelling and grammar when writing on a computer.

With G.C.S.E’s, a student can stand to lose a significant proportion of their marks if they utilise poor spelling and grammar, and the use of software to support this is obviously banned so as to prevent cheating, however, this loss can affect grades and risks inaccurately reflecting how much the student knows about their topic.

That said, children and young people with Special Educational Needs, such as dyslexia, may experience challenges with fluent word reading and spelling according to the Rose (2009) definition of dyslexia. These children are put at a distinct disadvantage when delivering coursework or attending exams.

The Spelling and Grammar Agenda in schools?

So why do schools push the accurate spelling and grammar agenda when in modern times, the use of computing and software solutions can autocorrect poor spelling and grammar?

The exams company, OCR, states:

“ Almost all employers view effective written communication as an important skill for employability. It is also a skill which many potential candidates lack. So, improving your understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar could help you into the career of your choice. Failure to demonstrate good quality written communication may imply a lack of professionalism – or that you don’t pay attention to detail.”

Being able to develop good spelling and grammar skills is of course, essential for good communication.

A very amusing blog article on Bored Panda showcases a number of funny text and social media messages whereby the various writers demonstrated poor spelling and grammar.

In one of the examples, an ex-student insults a teacher on a Facebook thread about a school reunion but fails to use good spelling and grammar only to find that the teacher is in fact on that thread and promptly draws the student’s attention to their text-based mistakes. The ex-student in question failed to make their point about why they found the teacher difficult or indeed to effectively insult them thus the teacher’s credibility remained intact.

That is a light-hearted example, but spelling and grammar is important, so would it in fact be cheating to use spell checking software within the school context?

So is it cheating to use spell checking software at school?

Here at Aventido, the answer to this question is not for us to provide as we market a product that corrects spelling and grammar called VeritySpell but we do feel that what makes VeritySpell different amongst the many products available on the market today is the fact that is doesn’t just correct spelling and grammar automatically.

This is important from an educational perspective, as the way that VeritySpell works is that the student using it will need to write their text first and then open up VeritySpell in order for it to go through the document and suggest amendments. It gives the student the choice of which amendment to use thus stimulating learning and developing an improvement in spelling and grammar skills.

The video below shows how it works:

So as to the question about is it cheating to use spell checking software we would like to know what your thoughts are and would invite you to comment below.

If you would like to know more about VeritySpell then do get in touch with our specialist Antony Ruck by clicking the button below.


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