Hey, thanks for the ideas!
I'm kind of locked into the curriculum for now, though I'm hoping I can get some changes approved for future years.
We do many different spelling activities throughout the week... the problem is that my students this year are pretty unmotivated. They care about the test, but not the assignments (even though they get pretty excited about the fact that I don't simply make them write the words a couple of times each evening). They can't really make a connection between the effort they put into their assignments and their eventual test scores.
I am going to try the Pre-testing idea this week. My colleagues who pretest do so at the beginning of the week. I don't really see great value in that; however, it makes sense to me to pretest them a day or so before the actual test so they can see which words they need to concentrate their efforts on.
Anyhow... I'm kinda wordy tonight.