Welcome to DiSTn

The Diagnostic Spelling Test – Nonwords (DiSTn) tests person’s knowledge of English sound-letter-rules.

Proficient spellers use two key processes: translating sounds to letters using sound-letter-rules and their knowledge of spellings of whole words. The DiSTn evaluates which sound-letter-rules a person can apply when spelling made-up words (nonwords). While the DiSTs tests a person’s ability to represent isolated sounds with letters, the DiSTn assesses which sound-letter-rules a person can apply at the word-level.

The DiSTn is composed of 74 items (ie., nonwords) which assess the knowledge of over 40 sound-letter-rules. The tester says the nonwords and the speller tries to spell the nonwords as accurately as possible. A detailed analysis allows the tester to assess which of the 40 sound-letter-rules a person can apply in the spelling of nonwords. This test can be administered to a group or individual students.

At the end of the test, the tester gets an overview of which sound-letter-rules the speller knows. The tester may then decide to train the rules that the speller does not know yet.

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