Title

The Effectiveness of Word Processor Spell Checker Programs to Produce Target Words for Misspellings Generated by Students with Learning Disabilities

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2001

Description

This study investigated spell check programs to determine how they differ in producing target words in first position in the replacement list for misspellings generated by students with learning disabilities. A pool of 1,008 misspellings taken from 111 writing samples generated by students with learning disabilities, grades three through eight, were spell checked by the spell check function of nine word processing software programs. Misspellings were classified by the level of phonetic mismatch to the target word (phonetic error level) and the proportion of correct two-letter sequences (bigram ratio). A significant difference was found among spell checkers in their ability to produce target words first in the replacement list. In addition, a significant difference with respect to phonetic error level and bigram ratio was found. Efficiency of spell checkers increased as the phonetic error level or the bigram ratio of the misspellings increased. These results suggest that spell checkers are overall ineffective in producing target words first in the replacement list for misspellings generated by students with learning disabilities.

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