Students’ mistakes sometimes surprise me in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way. One section of the weekly test was about feelings. The questions had two sentences outlining a scenario then prompting a feeling by providing the first one or two letters of the word (in a sentence such as ‘I [am/feel/am feeling/was/felt] [a bit/very/really] (adjective)’.) The mistakes fall into a continuum of wrongness: from a simple spelling error to the wrong part of speech to a wrong but existing word to a wrong and non-existing word. (I’ll paraphrase the scenarios to disguise the source slightly.)
Q1 – Scenario: a child of mine has done well. Prompt: pr___. Expected answer: proud. Actual answers: proud (x7), pround (x2), proudly, prouded, pried. (If she’d written ‘pride’ I would have given her a mark.)
Q2 – Scenario: I really miss my family. Prompt: h_______. Expected answer: homesick. Actual answers: homesick (x7), hurt, humiliated, horrified.
Q3 – Scenario: You lent me money. Prompt: gr______. Expected answer: grateful. Actual answer: grateful (x2), greatful (x5), graceful (x2), greadful, groody. (The only word which remotely makes sense here is greedy, which wasn’t on the word list. I just didn’t think to emphasise the difference between grateful and greatful. Greatful certainly makes sense. ‘You lent me money. That’s great! I’m very greatful.’)
Q4 – Scenario: I bought an expensive item I shouldn’t have. Prompt: g_____. Expected answer: guilty. Actual answers: guilty (x 8), good, great, groody (the same student as Q3), groomy (another student – different country, not sitting next to the first one – gloomy?).
Q5 – Scenario: I won a prize. Prompt: st____. Expected answer: stunned. Actual answers: stunned (x6), stunning (x2), stress, stucked.
If I’d known all these before I taught the lesson, I could have stressed the correct words. As it is, I may not revisit this chapter for six months, by which I time I will probably have forgotten all this. My consolation is that most of the students got four of the questions correct (the exception being greatful for grateful – spoken, I’d never know).
One of vocabulary topics was sleep. One student just couldn’t spell snore, trying snowling and snoseling.
PS In another question, one student gave the adjective equivalent of scare as scareful: ‘It was an incredibly scareful movie’. Another wrote scarly and also ‘We were horriful when we heard the news’. Another wrote: ‘We were horrifying when we heard the news’. Possibly, but probably not.
A number of students wrote stressing, offending and scaring (instead of stressful, offensive and scary). I gave half a mark each, and also for scareful, but not for horriful. Horrorful, maybe, but not horriful.