Master Spell Help Topics

7. Creating Tests

You may edit any loaded test by selecting the Edit… item in the Test menu. If Edit… is grayed-out, it is likely you don't have a test loaded. You can also create a new test by selecting New from the Test menu. The Test Editor allows the creation of test files with the ability to add alternate words and optional sayings. The editor can handle thousands of words per test and can sort them alphabetically using the sort button. There is a minimum of ten words per test file so that is why there are 10 New Words when you create a new test.

Test Editor

Importing Text Files and other Master Spell Tests

It is possible to import a standard text file of words if the each word is on its own line. Use the Import… item in the Test menu. You can also import another Master Spell test to combine more than one.

Text-to-Speech Sayings

An icon representing text appears in the right column of the word list if a Text-to-Speech Saying is present for that word.

Since there are 3,690 unique words with sentences or definitions already written, with many of the words for elementary grades, Master Spell can match these sentences and definitions to your own words lists. If an elementary student regularly brings home spelling words to study, it is possible to only enter the words in the Test Editor and click the Auto-Fill Sayings button to see if some or all of the sayings can be filled.

Recorded Sayings

An icon representing sound appears in the right column of the word list if a recording is present for that word.

Since recordings are not saved within tests, recordings are matched to words automatically if they are present in the Audio folder. Audio recordings are stored as Quicktime movies that end in .mov and begin with the word.

Guidelines for Creating Good Tests

  1. Have a dictionary handy to check for correct spellings and to help define words and to check for alternate spellings.
  2. Write an example sentence or give a definition with the following format for the Saying field:
    For the spelling word "broccoli" we can create an example sentence:
    brawccoli, as in, brawccoli is good with melted cheese on top
    or we can create a definition:
    brawccoli, meaning a vegetable in the mustard family, closely related to the cauliflower
    Notice the use of commas in both of the above sentences. We use two commas in the sentence that uses the spelling word in an example sentence and we use one comma for the sentence which defines the spelling word.
  3. Make sure the example uses the same tense of the word. Make sure that it uses the same singular or plural form.

    For instance: gentleman, as in, ladies and gentlemen, would be incorrect.
    It should be: gentleman, as in, the gentleman held the door for the lady
  4. Make sure the word is properly used in the example for that spelling of the word.

    For instance: bear, as in, I feel bear without any clothes, would be incorrect.
    It should be: bear, as in, I hug my teddy bear before I go to bed
  5. If you're using Text-to Speech: Check pronunciation of all words used, including the words in the example sentence or definition. Start by testing pronunications using the voice "Fred". If Fred doesn't pronounce a word correctly, try spelling it phonetically. "Victoria" has less trouble than "Fred" at pronouncing words correctly, so once you have made all of the adjustments for Fred, check to see if Victoria pronounces the word correctly too. In most cases, Victoria will do well if Fred did. If she doesn't, you will need to find a phonetic spelling that works for both voices.
  6. If you're using Recordings: Select options next to the record button to choose your microphone and the type of compression. The default is Qualcomm Pure Voice Full Rate with 44KHz 16bit sampling.

    Click record, wait for the button to undarken, then speak the word and phrase as you see it in the saying window. You can edit the sound using the tools provided. For instance, try clicking "Select Inside" and then listen to the sound to hear if there is enough space on either side of the sound. Click Crop Selection if you are satisfied with the selection. Then click save. Master Spell will say "Spell..." and then play your recording when it is used in a drill.
    Occasionally a recording will not turn out because of an error with Quicktime recording. I've found these errors are mostly likely when the time is ends with .1 such as 3.1, 4.1, 5.1 seconds. Just record it over so it gets a different time. Unfortunately, this odd error seems out of my control presently

  7. Try to group words that have something in common such as grade level, phoenetic rules, or subject.