Changes on Tap for National Spelling Bee

WI Web Staff | 4/9/2013, 9 p.m.
Sheena Chege of South Carolina participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee last year at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md./Courtesy Photo

The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee will take place May 28–30 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., and for the first time in the 86-year history of the competition, the evaluation of vocabulary knowledge will be formally incorporated.

"This is a significant change in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but also a natural one," said Paige Kimble, the Bee's executive director. "It represents a deepening of the Bee's commitment to its purpose: to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives."

Since 2002, a written or computer spelling test has been a component of the Bee that, along with onstage spelling, factored in determining which spellers advanced to the semifinals.

This year, a speller's qualification for the semifinals and championship finals will be based on a cumulative score that incorporates onstage spelling, computer-based spelling questions and computer-based vocabulary questions.

Vocabulary evaluation will count for 50 percent of a speller's overall score. The score determines which spellers advance to the semifinals (Thursday, May 30 at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN2) and the championship finals (Thursday, May 30 at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN).

All local bee championships were decided by the end of March, and the timing of this announcement provides each speller with the same opportunity to prepare for the vocabulary component of the competition.