Assessment of lexical and non-lexical spelling in students in Grades 1–7

Saskia Kohnen*, Danielle Colenbrander, Trudy Krajenbrink, Lyndsey Nickels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
467 Downloads (Pure)


The main aim of this study was to develop standardised tests that assess some of the most important spelling skills for children in primary school: sound-letter mappings (non-lexical spelling) and word spelling accuracy (lexical spelling). We present normative comparison data for children in Grades 1–7 as well as measures of validity and reliability for both tests. Another aim of this study was to assess the relative prevalence of spelling difficulties that only affect one skill selectively (only lexical or only non-lexical spelling) or both. We found that throughout Grades 1–7, children were as likely to have selective as they were to have mixed difficulties. This underscores the importance of measuring lexical and non-lexical skills separately. The tests presented in this paper provide teachers and clinicians with the necessary tools to do exactly that.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-38
Number of pages24
JournalAustralian Journal of Learning Difficulties
Issue number1
Early online date22 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Structured keywords

  • Developmental


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