Test of Orthographic Competence (TOC)


The Test of Orthographic Competence (TOC) assesses aspects of the English writing system that
are integral to proficient reading and writing. These aspects include letters, spelling, punctuation,
abbreviations, and special symbols. The TOC has three age-related forms (6–7 years, 8–12 years,
and 13–17 years). Normed on a national representative sample of 1,477 individuals, it yields
standard scores and percentiles for both subtests and composites. Classroom teachers, special
education teachers, reading specialists, school psychologists, speech pathologists, or any other
professionals with some training in standardized test administration can use the TOC.


Authors: Nancy Mather, Rhia Roberts, Donald D. Hammill, & Elizabeth A. Allen
Purpose: Assess orthographic processing
Ages: 6 – 18 years
Format: Paper and pencil
Published: 2008
Administration Time: 30-45 minutes
Qualification Level: A


The TOC has nine subtests, which vary by age-level. The form for ages 6–7 years is comprised of
Signs and Symbols, Grapheme Matching, Homophone Choice, and Punctuation. The form for ages
8–12 years is comprised of Homophone Choice, Punctuation, Abbreviations, Letter Choice Word
Scramble, and Sight Spelling. The form for ages 13–17 years is comprised of Punctuation,
Abbreviations, Letter Choice, Word Scramble, Sight Spelling, and Word Choice. A description of the
subtests follows.

  • Signs and Symbols. The child looks at a series of printed signs and symbols such as a
    “club” from a deck of cards, an “equal” or a “dollar” sign, or a numeral “5.”  The child is asked
    to tell the examiner what each sign signifies.
  • Grapheme Matching. The child is shown a series of rows each of which has five figures.
    The figures can be objects, signs, letters, or group of letters (e.g., b e o l e). In each row, two
    of the five figures are identical. The child is to identify the two identical figures in each row by
    making a slash through them. The child is given two minutes to complete as many rows as
  • Homophone Choice. Students look at a picture with two or three possible spellings choices
    (e.g., a picture of a boat oar with the spelling choices of oar, ore, and or). The students then
    circle the word they think is the correct spelling for the picture in each row.
  • Punctuation. The student is given a list of printed sentences that contain no punctuation
    except for spacing between the words (e.g., where is edward b brown). The task is for the
    student to supply the missing punctuation by editing the sentence.
  • Abbreviations. The examiner points to one of several abbreviations printed on a page (e.g.,
    4:00, Dr., USA) and asks the student to tell or write (depending on which version is given)
    what the particular abbreviation means.
  • Letter Choice. The student is shown rows of words where one of four letters (p, d, b, or q) is
    missing from the word (e.g., _etter where the letter b is missing from the word or sai_ where
    the letter d is missing from the word). The student is given two minutes to write in the correct
    letters that will make each one into a real word.
  • Word Scramble. The student is shown sets of scrambled letters that can be rearranged to
    spell real words (e.g., the letters nra can be rearranged to spell the word ran). The student
    has three minutes to re-order as many groups of letters into words as possible within the
    time frame.
  • Sight Spelling. The examiner says a word and the student is shown part of the word where
    one or more of the letters is missing (e.g., the examiner says the word know and student
    sees ___ow.) The student is asked to fill in the missing letter or letters to complete the
    spelling of the word.
  • Word Choice. The examiner says a word and the student looks at three possible phonically
    regular spellings choices (e.g., sitty, sitee, city). The student then circles what he or she
    thinks is the correct spelling of the word in each row.


The results of the subtests on each version can be combined to form an overall composite. This
composite is called Orthographic Ability (OA). The results from the 8-12 and 13-18- year-old forms
can be combined to create three additional orthographic composites: Conventions (CO), Spelling
Accuracy (SA), and Spelling Fluency (SF).

Technical Characteristics

The TOC evidences a very high degree of reliability across all three types of reliability (coefficient
alpha, test-retest, and scorer differences). Alphas for the composites range from .90 to .98 and from
.81 to .97 for the subtests. TOC also possesses strong content-description, criterion-prediction, and
construct-identification validity indicating it can be used with confidence. The Orthographic Ability
Index correlates in the .70s with 10 popular measures of reading and writing.

TOC Products and Pricing

TOCPD-1904 TOC Kit $321.00 (Includes Examiner’s Manual) Picture Book (Ages 6–7); 25 Examiner Record Forms (Ages 6–7); 25 Student Response Booklets (Ages 6–7); 25 Student Response Booklets (Ages 8–12); and 25 Student
Response Booklets (Ages 13–17).
TOCPD-1905 TOC Examiner’s Manual $56.00
TOCPD-1906 TOC Picture Book Price: $63.00
TOCPD-1907 TOC Examiner Record Forms Pkg/25 (Ages 6-7) $32.00
TOCPD-1908 TOC Student Response Booklets Pkg/25 (Ages 6-7) $56.00
TOCPD-1909 TOC Student Response Booklets Pkg/25 (Ages 8-12) $63.00
TOCPD-1910 TOC Student Response Booklets Pkg/25 (Ages 138-17) $63.00

(12% shipping applies to all items)

Ordering Information

Purchase Orders: Email to customerservice@SchoolhouseEducationalServices.com

Product categories

Contact Us

Schoolhouse Educational Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 397
Sparta, WI 54656


Shipping Policy

Purchases of internet-based tests and assessment software are delivered via the internet. An email with instructions will be sent when the order is received. Orders for in-stock books, laminates, and printed assessment materials are shipped within 72 hours. Special orders are excepted from this policy. Additional shipping charges apply to Alaska and all orders from outside the continental U.S.

Returns Policy

No returns are accepted on any product purchased from Schoolhouse Educational Services, Inc. This policy applies to books, laminated reference guides, assessment products, special order products, webinar registrations, downloaded software, or internet-based products.