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Above average readers fail phonics screening test!

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

  1. Presumably because quite a few were similar to real words like 'strom'. If I read it quickly my brain would probably self correct it to storm, as this is familar and it expects the familiar before the unfamilar. Presumably it is why it is so hard to proof read, as you brain self corrects things as you go along, even without you realising it. I remember in my Communication Studies A Level studing the concept called 'redundancy' when your brain self corrects what it there to what it was expecting to see.
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So if they changed fennec to fence that would be because it is similar? [​IMG]
  3. That would depend on the particular leap the brain is likely to make. It is unlikely they would ever read Fennec as fence in normal reading though, simply because of the capital letter and context of an information text.
    Put the word 'strom' into a contextual paragraph about aliens, using it as a name of an alien (with capital letter) and I'd bet my house, all the 'good readers' would decode it correctly!
  4. no..fennec reads fennec not fence, whereas strom when read quickly the brain may process as storm (mine does).
    I think it was a stupid test, waste of money,resources and time!
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Isn't there some 'scientific fact' that as long as the first and last letters in a word are correct and all the middle letters are there, the brain will recognise the word?

    So Strom works as Storm because the first and last letters are correct and all the middle ones correct, just in a different order.

    But Fennec wouldn't be read as Fence because the first and last letters are not correct, nor are the middle letters.

    Point for the OP being, it matters not a jot how your daughter did on the test. No-one (apart from proud mummies and daddies) will ever care what a 6 year old did in some test of nonsense word reading!
  6. I completely understand what Msz is saying but I can't help wondering if you are able to see past the theory and think of these children as individuals. With time I am sure my daughter will grow to become a very confident and able reader. At a time of limited resources I would rather time and money was spent on anything other than providing a good reader with phonic support. It is crazy.
    I completly understand the importance of phonics but a common sense approach must be taken so that resources are targeted to where they are truely needed. Not only has my 2b daughter been assessed as a failure, far poorer readers have passed and therefore no longer in need of support. Many of these can only read simple texts with no more than a few words to a page. If you cannot see the madness in this I am baffled.
    Is there any official response to the results. Again, Mr Gove - are you out there?
  7. char2505

    char2505 New commenter

    To wade in with my own opinion, I would not (and have not) been surprised at level 1B/A children not passing the test by a few marks, but I personally would expect a 2B child to have past the test.
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Yes I can ginger and I can think about my son. Your daughter sounds very like him at this age ... which is why I would question the 2b rather than the phonics
  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes I would too. I'm not saying there is anything wrong at all with your child's reading, but next time you hear her read some Roald Dahl out loud to you see how accurate it is compared with your reading (or with an accurate adult's reading if your reading is not that accurate either).
    Accurate reading is an important skill too. It would be perfectly possible for a teacher somewhere or other to give a 2b at any age to an inaccurate reader. They can still make sense of the passage and answer questions with the kind of simple material a 2b reader can read ....... and let's not kid ourselves, Roald Dahl books read by primary school children are simple compared with the kind of stuff we would hope they could read by the time they go to secondary school.
    So before you feel completely up in arms about a 5 minute test which may or may not have given you or the teacher some useful info, think about it a little bit more. Maybe do a similar test on your daughter and see if it was a one-off flunking, or if she does have some difficulties decoding new words.
    I'm waiting to hear my daughter's score. I would be expecting something in the range of 39 or 40 out of 40. She devours all kinds of books in bed at night, has done for a very long time now. But I still personally feel that if this test shows up that she is inaccurate, well great. I would actually like the school to encourage her to do more careful decoding of new multisyllable words.
    And sure, what if "worse" readers scored better than your daughter? It was a test of phonic decoding nothing else - it tells you that they are better at phonic decoding than her - she has some other reading skills that they don't at the moment. Why does that prove that the test is flawed?
    But your daughter would find accurate phonic decoding skills useful. If she hasn't got them, I'd be asking the school for the support that this test should open up for her.
    I could have read all those words correctly at her age, and yes I'm sure I was a self-taught excellent reader, and I could have read those Roald Dahl books standing on my head, and accurately too, if he had written them.

    Look into it further instead of assuming your daughter is a perfect reader and the test is rubbish. You might be right, but you haven't proved it to yourself or your daughter yet.

  10. But decoding is only one part of the assessment of reading, so she could well be a 2b reader. It was not a reading test, just a decoding test.
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    If she can't accurately read the words how can she accurately understand what she is reading?
  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Exactly, but if the result on the decoding test for that child is correct (less than 32 correct) and it wasn't just a one-off flunking because she was tired, not well, stressed etc, then it's a result which is worth taking heed of. It says her reading is really quite inaccurate; this doesn't detract from the fact that she has the other skills which enabled some teacher to decide she met the 2b criteria in some way or other. But it would be foolish to dismiss this result outright and say the test is flawed with no further thought. She's only a 2b and reader of Roald Dahl - if she was flawlessly reading medical texts then maybe the test result would be faintly ridiculous, but reading Roald Dahl, being given a 2b, and having some phonics skills which require polishing are all perfectly compatible.
  13. Because it's likely (if my experience from retesting is anything to go by) that she actually can and does read words accurately - when they are in a relevant context.
    OP - get hold of the test if you're really concerned., Put all the non-words she got wrong into a context (using them as names as they were intended to be) and see how many she gets right then. I think you'll be reassured.
  14. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't find that particularly reassuring. I'm a good reader and I could read those words out of context. Why can't an able 6 year old who has had two years of good phonics teaching and plenty of decent reading experience to boot?
    How has Toe by Toe worked for so many non-readers and dyslexics of all ages, if reading both real words and nonsense words accurately is out of reach of the best readers in English schools today. Read the reviews on Amazon.
  15. I can't fathom why one heard quite widespread support for dyslexia screening at KS1 a while back and then the phonics check was greeted with derision.The reason Ed psychs routinely use non words to screen for dyslexia is because effortless context free decoding is the hallmark of a skilled reader.
    I certainly wouldn't have wanted money spent giving my daughter very basic sorts of phonic teaching in Year 3 when she spent her evenings happily chuckling over Roald Dahl. However, it is up to the school to decide what is appropriate follow up action after the check. I was pleased (once I got over my chagrin) that my daughter was being encouraged to read more accurately and I would have been cross if I later realised there were issues her school had ignored or didn't even understand.
  16. dagnabit

    dagnabit New commenter

    The children who failed it in my class were still doing phase 4. All of the able readers scored highly. No nasty surprises at all. I don't understand how an able reader could fail.
  17. I imagine she can. Take the test again and ask her to re-read the ones she got wrong (and tell her she got them wrong). Can she decode them? Does she know why she got them wrong the first time? Does she recognise the correct phonemes when asked?
    Not allowed to give them a second chance, not allowed to contextualise. It doesn't seem to matter that children can actually decode in other contexts perfectly well in many cases.
    What do you do with a child who can decode all those words they got wrong the first time, when asked to do it again, either with context, or when pointing out their mistakes and asking them to try again? I don't see what it adds. If she has a problem decoding sounds, then that should be apparent to her teacher/parent when she reads any text with an unfamiliar word, as clearly, she will struggle to decode it. Does she? I am guessing probably not.
  18. In some schools all strong readers pass. In other schools large numbers of strong readers fail.
    Conclusion? In what mad world is the conclusion to blame the test? These schools use different forms of instruction which lead to different outcomes - that is the clear conclusion.
    The next question to ask is how successful are schools that get a good pass rates on the test in later reading measures (we can statistically allow for deprivation after all.) Given the scientific basis of the test I would be willing to lay large sums of money on the hunch that the same schools that get get good pass rates do very well indeed in later measures of reading.
  19. I administered the test and I find it hard to believe a 2b reader would not be able to read the non-words. My class very able readers scored 37+, with mistakes such as reading storm for strom, floods for flods and chap for chab, but to make 9+ mistakes seems like inaccuracy rather than being too good a reader. Perhaps your daughter's school did not prepare the children very well for the test. All teachers were informed there would be nonsense words which would test phonic decoding, so children should have been on the ball when it came to the test, knowing that some of the "words" ( the ones with little pictures of aliens alongside) were not actual words so would need to be broken down. Your daughter's assessment of 2b may be based on her ability to discuss what she has read, or heard others read. Obviously this is an important skill but accuracy can probably only be assessed 1:1.
  20. No there isn't. The thing you are dimly remembering is an internet meme which has been doing the rounds for years. Although it starts (in an unscrambled version) 'According to research at Cambridge...' there is no Cambridge research. It is worrying to think that teachers are willing to believe something prefaced with the magic words 'according to research' without checking out the 'research' for themselves.


    On the other hand, this is some real research, described in an excellent book by Keith Stanovich called 'Progress in Understanding Reading' (2000)
    Stanovich was very interested in the use of context by readers. He was very much enthused by the theories of Frank Smith (still very influential if these discussions are anything to go by) When he started researching them he found them to be quite erroneous.
    His research found that it was unskilled readers who were more likely to use context. Here he discusses some research by another cogntive scientist, Perfetti.
    (The next passage is about the fictitious phenomenom of 'word calling'. Also very interesting but not entirely relevant here...)


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