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Cover Page      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Declaration Page-       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Approval Page –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication Page          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgements    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Abstract –        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Table of Contents       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           viii


Chapter One

  • Introduction – –              –              –              –              –              –              –              1
  • Background to the Study –              –              –              –              –              –              2
  • Statement of the Problem –              –              –              –              –              –              5
  • Purpose of the Study – –              –              –              –              –              –              6
  • Research Questions- – –              –              –              –              –              –              6
  • Significance of the Study – – –              –              –              –              –              6
  • Scope of the Study- – –              –              –              –              –              –              8
  • Delimitation of the Study – – –              –              –              –              –              8
  • Operational Definition of Terms – –              –              –              –              –              8


Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature

2.1 What is Spelling?              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              10

2.2 Error          –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              11

2.2.1 Classification of Errors  –              –              –              –              –              –              –              15

2.3 Spelling Error        –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              17

2.4 Reasons Why Students Commit Spelling Errors              –           –           –           20

2.5 Classification System for Spelling Errors             –           –           –           –           31

2.6 The importance of learning the spelling of words           –           –           –           33

2.7 Empirical Review-                –              –              –              –              –              –              –              35

2.8 Summary of Literature Review    –              –              –              –              –              –              38


Chapter Three


  • Research Design – –              –              –              –              –              –              –              40
  • Population of the Study- – –              –              –              –              –              –              40
  • Sample of the Study- – –              –              –              –              –              –              40
  • Sampling Technique- – –              –              –              –              –              –              41
  • Instrument for Data Collection – –              –              –              –              –              41
    • Description of the Instrument –              –              –              –              –              41

3.4.1. Validity of the Instrument        –              –              –              –              –              –              42

3.5. Procedure for Data Collection     –              –              –              –              –              –              42

  • Method of Data Analysis –              –              –              –              –              –              43


Chapter Four

Data Presentation and Analysis

4.0 Introduction          –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              44

4.1 Results      –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              44

4.2. Discussion of Findings    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           50


Chapter Five

Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           53

5.2 Conclusion            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           54

5.3 Recommendations             –           –           –           –           –           –           –           55

5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies               –           –           –           –           –           55

References      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           56

Appendixes     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           59


This study was carried out in order to investigate the effects of misspelling on students’ performance in English language in senior secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. The survey research design was adopted, the population of the study consisted of all the senior secondary school students in four selected schools. The sample of the study consisted of 80 students from the selected schools (20 from each school). The instrument used for data collection was the test and the method of data analysis was the simple percentage. the following findings were made: the types of misspellings found in the students’ writing were omission, substitution, transposition and addition, based on the result of the research, the highest frequency of errors made by the students in spelling was omission by 95 items (51.35%), followed by addition by 24 items (12.97%), followed by substitution by 43 items (23.24%) and transposition by 23 items (12.43%); the misspellings of the students created ambiguity and anomalies because readers struggle to get meaning from the written works. This can be seen from their performance in their writing where misspelt words create anomalies and confusion in particular context. The study concluded that misspelling has effects on students’ academic performance as their writing create anomalies and ambiguity in their works. In the line with the findings of the study, the following were recommended among others: students should understand that the morphological rules of English and other languages are totally different, teachers should take their time to teach students oral English because when they pronounce correctly, they can also spell correctly, spelling errors found in students’ writing should be treated in the class to help avoid future occurrence, government should provide adequate textbooks for teaching and learning English, school administration should, from time to time, organize spelling competition in order to encourage performance in spelling.



Chapter One

  • Introduction

            English is a foreign language, the first to be introduced into Nigeria in the late 16th and early 17th c AD. The activities of British merchants and Christian missionaries and, then later, British imperialists facilitated the introduction of this exogenous language into the nation. With Nigeria’s attainment of a sovereign status in 1960, English was conveniently adopted as the nation’s official language and lingua franca for a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual Nigeria (Garus, 2017).

            In Nigeria, as it is a prevalent phenomenon in most Commonwealth nations, English is the medium of education and instruction. The National Policy on Education (Revised in 2013) underscores in no uncertain terms the role of English in Nigeria’s educational system, and accords it the enviable status of a core and explicitly compulsory subject at all levels of education, bar kindergarten. Little wonder, it is obligatory for such public examinations as the Basic Examination Certificate Examination (BECE), Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and is indeed a pre-requisite for candidates seeking placement in the tertiary level of education both within and outside the shores of the country. It should be noted that English is the only mandatory subject for all candidates taking Joint Admission and Matriculation Board entrance examination, irrespective of course or career choice.



  • Background to the Study

For many decades, English has enjoyed the title of the most populous and fast growing language in the world. It is used in many countries in the world as the official language. It is one of the languages that is frequently used in the areas of science, media, TV and cinema, etc (Yang, 2007). English as an international language occupies a very prominent place in Nigeria. It is considered as one of the effective marketing tools in the economy mainly trading, health, media, press and education sectors. English is a very common language in an educated society such as Nigeria since it is used in their daily life. Most of English language learners need to study the basic four language skills i.e. reading, listening, speaking and writing. As far as this study is concerned, writing makes very difficult skills for learners of English language (French, 2005). Many linguists and researchers treat writing as a process rather than a product. The main goal of this process is to generate a written work that will function as a tool of interaction between the writer and the reader according to the information they possess (Al-Abed Al Haq & Ahmed, 1994).

Spelling is a complex written language skill, which requires a learner to possess a number of language abilities, including phonological, morphological, visual memory skills, semantic relationships as well as adequate knowledge of spelling errors (Staden, 2010). As such, learning to spell words correctly is considered an important activity for various reasons. One is that accurate spelling makes a reader understand the written message clearly. Thus, a writer should have good competency in spelling in order to convey his written message without making any distraction. Okyere (1990) emphasized that spelling is an essential skill to master because it allows for the clear expression of thought in any written text. Accordingly, spelling is considered one of the indispensable skills in written communication and a principal component of a total language arts curriculum. Warda (2005) stated that spelling also affected the students’ written performance, and students with low spelling confidence and skills are expected to write less and more plainly than confident spellers do.

Despite its importance, English spelling presents a considerable challenge to most secondary school learners (Al-Jarf, 2010; Bowen, 2011). The large amount of research conducted on spelling error analysis in Nigerian reveal that students commit many grievous spelling errors when they write in English. In this respect, some spelling error studies which were undertaken recently (Albalawi, 2016; Alhaisoni et al., 2015; Al-Saudi, 2013; Ahmad, 2013; Benyo, 2014; Hameed, 2016; Trimasse, 2016) have demonstrated that English spelling is always regarded as a troublesome and challenging skill to second language learners of English.

One of the likely primary causes of this dilemma is the linguistic differences between English and Nigerian languages writing systems. Compared with English writing system is regarded regular, most Nigerian languages are consistent in sounds and spellings i.e. there is almost a consistency between its sounds and letters. However, the lack of one-to-one correspondence between English phonemes and graphemes makes its writing system irregular. Such irregularity creates difficulty for Nigerian learners of English and therefore most of them fail to spell out English words accurately.

Spelling errors occur frequently in educational assessment situations, not only in language learning scenarios, but also with native speakers, especially when answers are written without the help of a spell-checker. In automatic content scoring for short answer questions, a model is learnt about which content needs to be present in a correct answer. Spelling mistakes interfere with this process, as they should be mostly ignored for content scoring. It is still largely unknown how severe the problem is in a practical setting. Writing as a skill is not easy for second language learners. This language skill is very demanding process since successful writing needs an appropriate extent of organization in achieving ideas and knowledge and an adequate level of accuracy so that sentential constructs contain no vagueness of words meaning throughout a written text. The appropriate use of grammatical and spelling patterns choices and sentence structures will create a meaningful written work for the readers (Phillips and Jorgensen, 2002).

These learners of English as a foreign language need to emphasize on the meaning, the accuracy and the growth of their language. To be more particular, any written text can be dictated with a writing spelling skill from a single word to a full paragraph. Some of these paragraphs can be dialogued; it depends on the quality of a teacher and the learner’s strength (Davis and Rinvolucri, 2002). Other learners of English as a foreign language may view spelled –dictation more difficult than other skills in writing-spelling skill. Particularly, when an EFL teacher has weak learners of second language acquisition, these learners may not possess the skill to write the words properly. The learner of second language may be perplexed to appreciate the words because of his first language. Thus, other learners don’t give consideration for their errors in dictation (Montalvan, 1990). They don’t check their errors to obtain the accurate ones. Some teachers may take a sudden written work in their classes. A question may concern for researchers that how can learners of second language acquisition correct or check their mistakes when they have a written practice or composition.

In the light of the above discussion, this study seeks to investigate the Effects of Misspellings on Students’ Performance in English Language in Senior Secondary Schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

  • Statement of the Problem

English language is a language that is dissimilar to the Nigerian languages. One of the dissimilarities is that Nigerian languages are tonal languages while the English language is not. This poses a serious challenge to learners of English when it comes to spelling.

The structure of the English word depends largely on the subject and its interacting sounds. Misspelling is most basic in English language and is mostly found in the writing of Secondary School Students, even university students and for this to persistent misspelling at the Senior high level has pose a big challenge and calls for attention. Most students do not understand that English sound system is different from the Nigerian languages’ sound system. This reflects in every aspect of their work in the classroom. Therefore, this research seeks to investigate Effects of Misspellings on Students’ Performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State and proffer possible suggestions where necessary.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate Effects of Misspellings on Students’ Academic Performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Other specific objectives are:

  1. To identify the major misspelling made by students of Senior Secondary Schools.
  2. To discover the pattern of misspelling common in student’s writing.
  3. To identify possible effects of the errors identified in objective 1.

To proffer solutions to these errors.

  • Research Questions

            This study sets out to provide answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the major misspelling error made by students in Senior Secondary Schools?
  2. What are the patterns of misspelling common in students’ writing?
  3. What are the possible effects of the errors identified in objective 1?
    • Significance of the Study

The importance of this research cannot be underestimated especially now that writing has become the major means of official communication and correct grammar and spelling are at the forefront of affairs. This research shall be beneficial to government, curriculum planners, teachers, parents and students who are the center of this research work.

            To the government will benefit from this study as suggestions made at the of the study will serve as guides for their actions. And they will get to know that there is need to provide adequate textbooks, and instructional materials for correcting these errors in spelling and also endeavor to employ qualified teachers.

            To the curriculum planners, this research will open their eyes to the lapses in the current curriculum and therefore, they will structure learning experience and also make adjustment in the curriculum in order to take care of the errors made by students.

            This research will help to enhance Students’ Academic Performance in all areas and their general life as a whole since they turn to be good communicators. That is to improve students’ grammatical competency and spelling accuracy in their writing and build upon their proficiency in the English language; it will also enhance their knowledge of the English sounds system.

            This study can serve as a particular reference material in academic situations of Senior Secondary Schools. It can also serve as a reference material for researchers carrying out further research on this research topic or on a similar topic. It is therefore prominent concern of the researcher to develop a comprehensive document that can be used as a good reference material to those concerned.

            The study will also help teachers and whoever uses English language to be conscious of their spellings knowing that the African languages have a different sound system compared to that of English. Furthermore, it will motivate teachers to adopt new ways of teaching grammar especially spelling, in order to avoid misspelling among students.

  • Scope of the Study

The study focuses on the Effect of Misspellings on Students’ academic Performance in English in selected Senior Secondary Schools.

  • Delimitation of the Study

The study is delimited to some selected secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. The selected schools are:

  1. Government Secondary School, Kor
  2. Helens Girls Grammar School, Tambes.
  3. Community Secondary School, Gung.
  4. Good Shepherd College, Fwor.

However, despite the fact that this research is limited in scope to Pankshin Local Government Area, its findings can be generalized to other part of the country as well.

  • Operational Definition of Terms

Error: In applied linguistics, an error is an unintended deviation from the immanent rules of a language variety made by a second language learner. Such errors result from the learner’s lack of knowledge of the correct rules of the target language (Ellis, 2004). A significant distinction is generally made between error (systematic deviations) and mistakes (speech performance errors) which are not treated the same from a linguistic viewpoint. The study of learners’ errors has been the main area of investigation by linguist in the history of second-language acquisition research.

Misspelling: This is a deviation from the morphological rules of word formation. It could come as a result of ignorance of the rules of grammar of a particular language (Wikipedia, 2019).

Rules: In this study, rules are guidelines governing the formation of sentences, phrases and words of a language e.g. English. They must be understood in context, using some sense and discretion. The rules are guidance on those principles (Wikipedia, 2019).










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