MastiSpell: Rules and Regulations

Jr. Spelling Bee

1. Elementary Grade K-4 students from public, private, parochial schools as well as home-schooled students are welcome to participate in our not-for-profit event MastiSpell -- Jr. SPELLING BEE CHAMPIONSHIP.

2. The speller must not be a past winner of MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee Grand Championship.

3. A fee will be charged per participating student during on-line registration process.

4. The judges are in complete control of the competition, and their decision shall be final on all questions. All rules are subject to modification by the judges and/or the event organizers.

5a. The official study dictionary for this competition is Merriam-Webster's Elementary Dictionary (Hardcover: 848 pages; Publisher: Merriam-Webster ; ISBN: 978-0-87779-676-3). Any words listed in this dictionary may be considered for this contest (written and initial oral rounds).

5b. During the final oral rounds, at the discretion of the Judges, words may be asked from Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Hardcover: 2,783 pages; Publisher: Merriam Webster; ISBN: 978-0-87779-302-1). Any words listed in this dictionary may also be considered for this contest in the FINAL ORAL ROUNDS ONLY.

6. All participants are expected to arrive at the event location with adult supervision no later than 30 minutes prior to the announced starting time of the contest.

7. Proof of grade is required. Please bring a document showing evidence of participant's grade.

8. Because of time considerations for the championship, MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee Round One will be a written competition (approx. 40 to 50 words) that will be held during the morning session of the Championship with eliminations occurring. Pens and paper will be provided. (SEE DETAILS BELOW)

9. After the Written Competition, the ultimate responsibility of child pick-up lies with the parent.

10. No challenges are allowed in the written test evaluation.

11. The role of the Spelling Master is (1) to correctly pronounce the word and (2) to give a sentence, definition, and other information about the word at the speller's request.

12. The role of the judges is to determine whether the contestant has spelled the word correctly.

13. The role of the speller is (1) to gather as much information as possible to help spell the word correctly and (2) to spell the word correctly.

14. The Spelling Master (SM) will explain clearly to the contestants the SAY - SPELL - SAY procedure to be followed. Judge #1 calls out spellers by bib-id and the speller approaches the microphone. As each word is given to a contestant, the speller should repeat the word, spell it out slowly and distinctly, and then repeat the pronunciation of the word (example):
Speller: "TABLE" "T-A-B-L-E" "TABLE"
For the first 3 rounds the Spelling Master and/or Judges will make it clear that the SAY-SPELL-SAY routine is *necessary* for avoiding elimination. Failure to SAY-SPELL-SAY will not by itself eliminate the speller but it will reduce problems with arbitrating. From the 4th round onwards, while we will make every attempt to listen to the recording, ambiguously spelled attempts will result in immediate disqualification.

15. The speller may ask the Spelling Master to say the word again, define it, use it in a sentence, and/or provide the part of speech. The Spelling Master shall grant all such requests until the judges agree that the word has been made reasonably clear to the speller. As the K-4 participants of MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee are too young to understand and take clue from root-words and Etymology concepts -- in fairness to all participants, we will NOT provide any information on Etymology nor entertain any root-word questions from spellers.

16. Having started to spell a word, a speller may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning. In retracing, however, there can be no change of letters or their sequence from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence is changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated.

17. Disqualifications for reasons other than clear misspelling: The judges are in complete control of the spelling bee and their decisions are final. The judges will disqualify a speller
           (1) who refuses a request to start spelling;
           (2) who does not approach the microphone when it is time to receive the word;
           (3) who does not comply with the eligibility requirements;
           (4) who engages in unsportsmanlike conduct;
           (5) who, in the process of retracing a spelling, alters the letters or sequence of letters from those first uttered; or
           (6) who, in the process of spelling, utters unintelligible or nonsense sounds.

18. Speller activities that do not merit disqualification: The judges may not disqualify a speller
           (1) for failing to pronounce the word either before or after spelling it,
           (2) for asking a question, or
           (3) for noting or failing to note the capitalization of a word.

19. The MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee competition shall be conducted in rounds. Each speller remaining in the spelling bee at the start of a round shall spell one word in the round. Upon missing the spelling of a word, a speller immediately drops out of the competition. The next word on the Spelling Master's list is given to the next speller.

20. Under no circumstance is any speller asked to correct the misspelling of another speller.

21. If none of the spellers remaining in the spelling bee at the start of a round spells a word correctly during that round, all shall remain in the competition with the spellers spelling in the original order.

22. All spellers eliminated in the same round will be tied for the same place.

23. During the final rounds of the MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee competition, the judges may choose to allow participants the option of writing the word down on paper before being required to spell it orally.

24. During the final rounds of the MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee competition, if only one of the spellers remaining in the competition at the start of a round spells a word correctly during that round, a new round shall begin and the speller shall be given an opportunity to spell the next word on the list. If the speller succeeds in correctly spelling the new word, the speller shall be declared the champion. Otherwise (that is, if the speller does not succeed in correctly spelling the new word), all the spellers remaining in the competition at the start of the previous round shall remain in the competition. A new round will begin, with these spellers spelling in the original order.

25. The MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee champion is not the champion until he or she has spelled correctly one more word than the speller or spellers placing second have spelled.

26. It is possible in two instances to have a round in which only one word is spelled. The first instance of a one-word round is the correct spelling of the final championship word. The second instance of a one-word round is the misspelling of what could have been the final championship word.

27. Any question related to the spelling of a word should be referred to the designated official immediately in writing on the official appeal form that will be provided at the competition. The official appeal form will contain space for the following: the word in question, the name of the speller, and the reason for the appeal.

28. Appeals may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, and/or teacher/administrator of the speller who is seeking reinstatement in the contest. The judges will not entertain appeals from individuals seeking to dislodge another speller from the competition. The deadline for filing an appeal is before the speller affected would have received his/her next word had he/she stayed in the competition. No appeal will be entertained after that word has been given to another speller.

29. When only five or fewer spellers remain, an oral appeal must be made immediately, that is, before the speller affected would have received his/her next word had he/she stayed in the contest.

30. If a word has one or more homonyms, the Spelling Master will indicate which word is to be spelled. If the listed word is not properly identified, either by defining it or distinguishing the homonyms, any correct spelling of any homonym of the word will be accepted.

31. The speller shall not be disqualified for failing to note that a word is capitalized (noted as "cap," "usu cap," "often cap," or "sometimes cap."

32a. The dictionary provided by the judges namely the M-W Elementary Dictionary shall serve as the final authority for the spelling of words. If more than one spelling is listed for a word in this dictionary, any of these spellings will be accepted as correct if the word either matches the pronunciation and definition provided by the Spelling Master or if it is clearly identified as being a standard variant of the word that the speller has been asked to spell. If there is an alternate spelling for the word in any other dictionary it will not be accepted. Additionally, spellings at other locations having archaic, obsolete, or regional labels (such as North, Midland, Irish) that are different from those at the main entry will not be accepted as correct.

32b. During the FINAL ORAL ROUNDS only, at the discretion of the Judges, the Webster's Third New International Dictionary may serve as the final authority for the spelling of words in place of the above.

33. Other than the Grand Champions, previous contestants and winners of the MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee championship bee are allowed to compete in subsequent years as long as they qualify.

34. The MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee Grand Championship Prize is $1,000.


All registered Spellers will participate in Round One, which will be a 40 to 50 word (minimum) written test.

Round One eliminations will occur in accordance with a "threshold of 50" standard. In order to present a uniform score for all candidates we have used a 'score scale system' in line with those used commonly for standardized evaluations like the SAT and GRE. Each word in the written evaluation is given a weightage depending on a combination of facts such as ability of the student to evaluate picture and sentence clues (where provided), ease of pronunciation of the word, commonality of usage of the word, length of the word, spelling tricks in the given word, etc,. Typically, the harder the spelling of the word the more will be its weightage. Your speller's performance on the 40-50 questions is used to determine a score with the score-ceiling set at 800. The score for all correct answers thus shall be 800. Spellers' scores in this round shall be plotted on a chart. Beginning at 800 on the chart, the judges shall begin adding spellers at each consecutive scoring level until a sum of at least 50 spellers has been attained. This point shall be called the "threshold of 50," and all spellers with scores at levels below the "threshold of 50" shall be eliminated from the competition.

Results will be announced as soon as all ballots have been scored. Spellers with written test scores below the "threshold of 50" will be eliminated in Round One, and all other remaining spellers will advance to Round Two.

It is important to mention that the written test is scored rigorously as well as audited with the utmost stringent means to ensure total reliability in its accuracy and correctness. Due to the volume of spellers and the logistics involved in sharing the question papers, the MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee Championship will not be able to honor any request to view a copy of his/her graded test paper for any spellers. The individual evaluation of your spellers written exam will be emailed to you after the event, along with relevant comparison yardsticks, for your benefit.


How many words does a speller have to spell correctly in order to advance beyond Round One?

We do not know. Spellers are not competing against a pre-set standard, such as correctly spelling all words. A speller's success in Round One depends on how well he/she scores on the test in comparison to other spellers' scores on the test.

What is the significance of the number 50?

We project that with the threshold of 50 standard we will safely manage to advance a certain number of spellers so that the competition may be completed in a timely manner.

Am I reading correctly that only 50 spellers will qualify for the second round of competition?

No: At least 50 spellers will qualify. It is possible that many more than 50 spellers will qualify. Let's say that 34 spellers have scores between 700 and 800 (the higher the number, the better the score). Twenty (20) spellers have scores of 699. These 20 spellers will be added to the 34 with scores between 700 and 800. At that point the threshold of 50 will have been attained and a total of 54 spellers will advance to the second round of competition. Those spellers with scores ranging between 0 and 698 then would not qualify for the second round of competition in this hypothetical scenario.

What will the Bee do if all spellers in Round One have the same scores?

If all spellers in Round One achieve the same score, then all of these spellers will advance to Round Two. However, MastiSpell Jr. Spelling Bee Championship regards this possibility as extremely remote. There will be a significant range of difficulty in the words on the test. This range of difficulty will almost certainly produce a wide distribution of scores between 0 and 800.