To win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, it will no longer be enough for children to know how to spell “cotyledonary,” “mucilaginous” and “dovekie.” They will need to be able to provide definitions as well.
Spelling bee organizers announced it will be requiring contestants to take a vocabulary test before the bee itself, the AP reports.
They will be tested on definitions in private in a computer test resembling the SAT. The vocabulary scores will be factored into their public spelling score to emphasize a well-rounded grasp on language as a whole.
“What we know with the championship-level spellers is that they think of their achievement in terms of spelling and vocabulary being two sides of the same coin,” the executive director Paige Kimble said. “These spellers will be excited at the opportunity to show off their vocabulary knowledge through competition.”
This year’s Scripps Spelling Bee will take place in Washington D.C. near the end of May.