Kaea Roberts knows how to spell perfection after achieving
100% in the 2013 International Competitions and Assessments
for Schools spelling exam. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Sitting still for 15 minutes after notching up a perfect
score in the 2013 International Competitions and Assessments
for Schools (ICAS) spelling exam is one of the hardest things
Kaea Roberts has ever had to do.
The talkative and enthusiastic Silverstream School
10-year-old knew she had done well in the exam, but little
did she know she had scored 100% and high distinction, making
her the top year 6 pupil not only in New Zealand, but in the
And she managed to do it all with 15 minutes to spare.
''The words weren't that hard. Some of them were really easy
for me,'' she said.
Her teacher, Linda Wallis, said for Kaea, sitting still for
15 minutes and not talking was an accomplishment in itself,
because she was such an articulate and loquacious pupil.
The ICAS spelling exam is an independent spelling assessment
developed in conjunction with Macquarie Dictionary.
It assesses and reports pupils' skills at spelling words in
four different contexts - dictation, proofreading, error
correction and applying rules and conventions.
Kaea said she had not studied for the exam. Rather, her
secret to spelling success comes from a lifelong love of
She has been reading since she was 2 years old and is a
''I love how books take me to different worlds and different
times. I also love looking for any spelling mistakes.''
It is not the first time she has had success in ICAS
examinations. Last year, she achieved high distinction in the
year 5 ICAS writing exam and distinction in the year 5 ICAS
Her skill is such that she helps others in her class with
spelling, and keeps the teachers on their toes when writing
class work on the board.
Kaea has begun penning her own books and hopes one day to
become a fantasy writer, but in the meantime she is preparing
to fly to Auckland, where she will receive a medal for her
outstanding achievement at an official ICAS ceremony.