Testbase reveals the top ten most misspelt words by year group

The ‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’ spelling confusion is alive and well in primary schools according to new data analysis by Testbase. The word ‘deceive’ has topped both Year 5 and Year 6 lists, with received, inconceivable, receipt and veil also placing high in the ratings as spelling remains a firm focus of English development plans across the country.

Testbase has conducted a detailed analysis of over 160 thousand marks entered on its assessment analysis tool, to help teachers identify across the country where primary pupils are struggling the most with spelling patterns and common exception words. The analysis has also been compared to a breakdown of recent KS2 SAT paper marks, which mirrors the trend of the difficulty with the tricky ‘i’ before ‘e’ spelling rules.

Elsewhere in the school, Year 3 pupils appear to struggle with the ‘-sion’ / ‘-tion’ suffix. Spellings including tension, preparations, portion and television all make the Year 3 top 10 list. Whilst double-lettered disappoint makes the top spot in Year 4, followed by trickier spelling-pattern words, including neighbour, glamorous, chorus and ceiling.

Unlike the older years, who have shown little change in overall spelling results over the past 3 years, the analysis shows that Year 2 pupils are starting to show signs of improved year-on-year results. This could indicate the green shoots of post-COVID recovery, as children who have had access to full and complete EYFS and KS1 phonics teaching start to move through the primary system.

Designed for use alongside the Testbase National Curriculum Tests, MERiT provides schools with in-depth feedback about their pupils’ performance. Track and benchmark performance at pupil, class and school level. Improve teaching approaches and create consistency within your school.

  • At a glance, whole class reports to identify groups for targeted teaching by problem areas
  • Individual pupil strength and weakness analysis for informed conversations with SLT and parents
  • Detailed question level analysis to inform teaching and learning for next term
Testbase top 5 most misspelt words by year group 2021-2024
KS2 SAT top 10 most misspelt words


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