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Above average readers fail phonics screening test!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by ginger22, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. I am not currently teaching KS1 and would like some feedback on this topic. My daughter has been assessed as a 2b at the end of Year 1 in reading. However, I have received her report and she has failed the phonics screening test!
    Could someone explain this? How can she be seen as failing? She is an independant reader and loves doing so. I am so angry that this is seen to reflects her ability. As a professional you could look at this and think she is an under achiever. What has gone wrong? Is the test not suitable for those that no longer need to sound out each letter?
    I am very tempted to move her out of the school. Whether I like or not these type of assessments are important and if they can't get her through this when she can read without difficulty what can I expect in the future?
     
  2. I am not currently teaching KS1 and would like some feedback on this topic. My daughter has been assessed as a 2b at the end of Year 1 in reading. However, I have received her report and she has failed the phonics screening test!
    Could someone explain this? How can she be seen as failing? She is an independant reader and loves doing so. I am so angry that this is seen to reflects her ability. As a professional you could look at this and think she is an under achiever. What has gone wrong? Is the test not suitable for those that no longer need to sound out each letter?
    I am very tempted to move her out of the school. Whether I like or not these type of assessments are important and if they can't get her through this when she can read without difficulty what can I expect in the future?
     
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Why? The test is a national one, she would have had to do it whatever school she was in.

    The results of the test do not reflect anything except the ability to do the test. If your daughter cannot sound out random selections of letters put together as 'words' she will fail the test. This does not reflect her ability to read.

    Your daughter is doing very well to be a 2b at the end of year 1 and clearly in a very good school if they are even considering levelling children as such in year 1. The year 1 and 2 teachers will have a conversation about each child, so test marks are not really taken much notice of. Your daughter can fail the test again next year and still get a 3b at the end of year 2. And go on to be a level 6 at the end of year 6, never ever having passed the phonics test. It really isn't important and says nothing about ability. Schools just need to tell you.
     
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I would be asking how can she be 2b if she can't read 40 words? I disagree with minnie if she can't decode unfamiliar words it does reflect her ability to read.
    All our good readers scored 40/40 in the test
     
  5. A lot of our able readers"failed" too. They tried to make the non words make sense as that is, after all, what you do when you are a good reader. The test is a farce. Only 30% of pupils passed it in the pilot, they had expected approx 80%. They then rolled it out across the country anyway.
    Perhaps you could write to Mr Gove & ask him to explain it to you!
     
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So what do they do when they meet unfamiliar real words spindrift ...do they try to make them into words they already know?
     
  7. upsadaisy

    upsadaisy New commenter

    None of my able readers failed. Only my SEN and children who are below age related expectations failed. I knew before the test exactly who would pass and fail. There were absolutely no surprises.
     


  8. No, they use all the skills they have built up as a reader: sounding
    out, little in big, reading around, context etc. They are used to self
    correcting if they read something & it doesn't make sense.
     
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    If it is a word that is not in their vocabulary it won't make sense will it.
     
  10. Thank you all for your quick response. We must remember that my daughter is just six and if she is able to pick up a Roald Dahl novel and comprehend it we should all be praising this. However, Msz' response has justified my concerns. These tests are being given credit and should be looked at again. I don't know how to go about taking this further. Maybe the good people at TES could help me with this? I hope to hear from them or even better Mr Gove himself.
     
  11. Some of the words in the test were too similar to real words.
    Also, when put in a test environment, children will not want to get it wrong and WILL make nonsense words into the closest real word - they know that nonsense words don't make sense and probably can't see how they can possibly be correct, so they try to get it 'right'.
    When reading new words and decoding them the context is different - they are not under test conditions so can take the risk to play around with the sounds of the word, they have the context of the sentence and whole book to support them with working out the word, and more often than not even if it is an unknown word it will be a word that they have heard before and makes sense - not a completely made-up word.
    Take no notice of the bl00dy test - teachers arent.
     
  12. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Not sure how you got this idea. The test is given no credit in any way that affects your daughter. They are purely for national figures to justify the changes the government want to make.

    I don't think you should take it further, it matters not a jot if your child passes or fails the test so long as she can read. She clearly can and so nothing to worry about.
     
  13. I don't understand whatyou mean. They might not have seen a word i.e. moonlight as a written word before but it would be in their vocabulary. They could work out what it said using variety of skills.
     
  14. I've spoken to several friends and friends of friends who teach Year 1, many schools are finding that able readers who have moved past using phonics as their main tool for reading have 'failed' this ridiculous test! It has not been any use to the majority of teachers as a diagnostic tool and is causing anxiety for many parents - I cannot stress enough just how big a waste of time I feel it has been!
     
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Today one of my class was reading a non fiction book.
    The sentence was
    The Fennec fox gets enough water from the flesh of the animals it eats.
    obviously Fennec isn't in the child's vocabulary and the context doesn't help so how would your good readers tackle this word?
     
  16. Not going to get involved again in all this, but I wanted to point out to the OP, who is clearly extremely concerned about her daughter's reading on the back of this test, that there is a whole thread on here, full of Year 1 teachers reporting similar issues with the phonics test. Many schools are seeing their 'good readers' 'failing'. Many teachers are critical of the test methodology itself, and do not see it as a good guide to 'reading ability' (as opposed to use of phonic strategies to decode).
    I suspect your daughter is well past the initial 'beginning-reader decoding' stage, and is much more used to other reading strategies. In effect, she is a 'reader', not a 'decoder'. I would not be concerned, but can understand why you are (and why many, many other parents are likely to be).
    Yes, some teachers are reporting perfect scores for their 'good readers', but many are not. In my view, there is clearly an issue with the test, or with the importance being placed on decoding skills for 'good readers'.
     
  17. There is a good chance 'good readers' who failed are confident but not accurate. As I have read on other threads this test has the format of standard diagnostic tests used regularly by Ed Psychs. If your child was an accurate reader they are quite unlikely to fail. The problem is that if a child is overly reliant on guessing from context rather than looking at what the words actually say they are not yet a 'good reader' . It is most likely the test has highlighted a weakness in your child's reading. Most adults wouldn't get the non words test wrong and that is because we have accomplished what many yr 1 children have not - the ability to read accurately without relying on extra cues. This is what distinguishes strong readers from weak ones which is why this sort of test is used standardly to identify children with reading probllems.
    I had a similar reaction to the OPs when my Yr 3 very strong reader was given extra phonics help after performing below expectations in a phonics assessments. I have since come to accept that although she had no real issues long term she had become very inaccurate as she flew through books in her bedroom every night. The test just highlighted this fact...
    Anyway at year 1 level children who are not taught to read by relying on context, like Msz's get much higher pass marks- simples.
     
  18. They would decode it. Perfectly, without hesitation. They would recognise the capital letter as denoting the name of an unfamiliar animal and would use the context of what they were reading to make this comprehension leap. They would take time and care to pronounce the word. They would do all this is the blink of an eye. They might even incorporate the new word into their vocabulary.
    Unfortunately, they are the same children who didn't get 40/40 on the phonics test!
     
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Exactly ...So why should they have a problem with other unfamiliar words ?
     
  20. They shouldn't. But they did, on this test, in spades by the sounds of other people's reports. Have seen it with my own eyes (and tested it with various children at my school).
    I guess kids are just kids and they respond to different formats in different ways. As we are so fond of saying...they aren't robots.
     

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