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Year 1 Phonics assessment today!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by ESLAB, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. fendertele

    fendertele New commenter

    Well they will probably have learnt to read before you finish all these tests - it is really not that complicated if you just accept that there are many routes ( some of which cross and even share sections) to get to town. Give them the options ( in a systematic and rigorous way) and they will develop their own recipe.
    They are not empty vessels to fill - this is a very primitive notion of the concept of learning - not simple - primitive
     
  2. fendertele

    fendertele New commenter

    Perhaps she is not on form because all I have experienced is a form of sniping technique - a bit like trying to undermine an arguement by picking up on a punctuation or a spelling mistake - taking one quote out of context and counteracting it with a bit of dodgy research - no real thoughts of her own based on experience and backed by relevant theory. This is what I mean by living it - all the books and articles don't equate to a hill of beans if they don't relate to reality/experience. Have a bit of faith in what you see.
    C'mon I have been sat here for 1/2 hour now - thrown in a ton of groundbait and not one bite -make this old troll happy!
     
  3. fendertele

    fendertele New commenter

    What is a troll then? Intriqued - saw similar reference on another forum. Little disapointed as I thought it might be a unique pet name you had made up all for me. Am I a stereotype of some description?
     
  4. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Mmmm found your comment about the fact that she would have learnt to read before all the tests are done on her amusing...
    However, the CTOPPS subtests don't actually take that long . they just locate the areas of difficulty more exactly
    I totally agree with you about using a variety of methods to teach reading and taking the lead from the child.
    I was just expanding on the next obvious process when you have screened a child who has come out with a poor result.
    The alternative approach would be just to think that you have a child who is coping well with reading books for meaning and then worry later on if problems present themselves in a particular area such as spelling.
    I would say it boils down to how the child is actually coping overall in the classroom.
    I think if Gove wants the non word screen test to be used in a way that will just give teachers information they are already aware off i.e. which of their class are poor readers then it is a bit pointless.
    If it is going to be of any use it needs to be a diagnostic tool and not as a indicator of failure which is ridiculous at the age of 5/6.
    BTW: it is good to see that I am not the only person who talks to themselves on threads:)
     
  5. Moonpenny, I think Gove is using the nonword test to check that schools are putting rigorous synthetic phonics programmes in place. This is why the results are reported nationally, and the reason they are reported to parents can only be to add pressure ( the wording is 'has/ has not reached the required standard' I believe). I don't think for one moment that he has considered it as a diagnostic test, other than a diagnostic check on schools' reading curricula. Consider the structure of the test. I have not seen the actual test for this year so the glitches may have been ironed out, but the sample test showed giant flaws. The fact that the real words tested are expected to be read with the correct pronunciation, while nonwords are expected, of course, to be read with any plausible pronunciation, means that any raw score is inaccurate as a test of decoding. On the sample test a child who pronounced 'blow' to rhyme with 'cow' was marked down. It has been reported that on the real test a plausible pronunciation of a nonword was not allowed under the guidance, and some teachers followed this guidance while others did not. Mmm... A bit if a shambles. Additionally, as comprehension is not tested alongside the word test, the big message to teachers is that Y1 children need to read nonwords, not read and understand texts. My fear is that early years children will be introduced to decoding at earlier and earlier ages in order to ensure that the school gets a good score on the test, while more holistic approaches to literacy might be neglected, especially in schools where children come in without good language and reading readiness skills in place. These schools, in particular, may feel it wise to drill their pupils in decoding when they might otherwise have concentrated on speaking and listening skills and instilling an understanding of story and an enjoyment of books. Of course, in some areas, children are more likely to get these foundational aspects of literacy at home; it is the children in areas where this is less likely whose long term comprehension and vocabulary will suffer.
     
  6. Sorry to disappoint! (But glad you liked the hair - very sporting.) Troll - person who posts things they don't really believe just to wind people up. Roughly speaking. So, yes a stereotype - but only if your deliberately out to annoy.
    Incidentally, it helps to make it clear what you are responding to if you use short quotes - click on the 'quote' button (just above where you write) before you start writing your message and the previous post gets copied in - you can delete chunks for clarity/brevity, as long as you don't delete the bits with square brackets round. (Not generally considered good etiquette to copy the whole of a long post though.)
    Welcome!
     
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We have to do this test whether we like it or not (personally don't think it should be necessary to impose a national test because teachers should be doing it themselves) so use the results to find out what children are struggling with and teach them ...simple.
     
  8. Why? Did schools have to send a coversheet in with their results declaring whether or not they teach rigorous SP programmes? How is Gove going to know who does and who doesn't?
    I think that Gove intended the check to ensure that children are being taught letter sound correspndences and decoding and blending. If a school can achieve a suitable percentage of children who reach the standard without teaching rigorous SP they will be fine. After all, who is to know?
     
  9. When you consider that phonics has been a government recommended aspect of reading instruction since at least 1998 (NLS), systematic phonics since 1999 (Progression in Phonics), and systematic synthetic phonics since 2007 (Letters and Sounds), without resulting in a good pass rate in the pilot of the phonics check (32% if I recall correctly), it is clear that their perseverance with the test, coupled with subsidies for SP schemes, shows their intent to push SSP very strongly. Of course the government would never know if schools achieved good results despite not using the recommended route, but the idea of the check and the content of the check correlates to use of a SSP programme as recommended and subsidised. The standard that you mention is not a reading standard , as you know, it is a decoding standard reflecting the teaching material in the main schemes and programmes.
     
  10. Yes, it does correlate, but I'm attempting to suggest there is a possibility that good decoding and blending could be taught without using an 'approved' programme. Don't you think that it could?
     
  11. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Shame but not a surprise ....
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Of course it can we have been doing it for years
     
  13. Yes, it could, as long as it taught the same material at the same pace.
     
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Letters and Sounds is very slow
     
  15. How very sad, and very unfortunate, that some people (a lot) seem to have regarded the figure of 32 out of 40 as a pass/fail scenario.
    How tragic that this has been put across as a pass/fail scenario to any teacher, or that teachers (an/or government) are putting that across in such a way to any child or any parent.
    This should never have been the case.
    The government has used the word 'threshhold' which may be considered as an unfortunate choice of notion/word.
    I prefer to consider the mark as a 'benchmark' which is a general aim, or indicator, of what we are trying to achieve for the vast majority of children by the end of Year One.
    In other words, it provides a guideline for the teaching profession itself - and an indicator for parents of what that aim looks like as a broad measure - rather than a totally precise measure.
    What the various threads about the phonics screening check has enabled is a shared conversation amongst teachers - and which even includes parents.
    I think that this is an extraordinarily invaluable state of affairs. Such conversations have been underpinned by the fact that everyone has the same test 'in common' to be able to talk in terms that everyone understands precisely.
    What the conversations have revealed is a number of things such as:
    1)The diverse perspective of teachers themselves. Some have been 'up for the test', wanted to know how their children are doing one compared with another, compared with other Year One children in other contexts, compared with the year before and can't wait for next year to see how they're doing a year from now!
    2)Some have described negative experiences with the children themselves, and in informing the parents compared to other teachers who describe positive experiences for themselves as the teacher, for the children who have enjoyed the screening check for various reasons - and who are happy to inform parents in a more simple and positive light whatever the results.
    3)The conversations have brought out the same old arguments about phonics teaching - but these in themselves are invaluable. It is important that we appreciate just how diverse the 'mindset' and 'understanding' of the teaching of reading is across the country. Some of the postings have been professional development in themselves -such as those discussing whether children who can read books well enough really need to be able to read words accurately in a word list - and whether using non-words is a valid approach or not.
    4)Some of the strong and extreme language has risen its head again - never a pretty thing - but it serves to reflect the range of personalities and the passion associated with reading instruction. It demonstrates to some extent a rather inexplicable aversion to systematic phonics teaching - and actually a lack of understanding of its effectiveness for teaching children reading, spelling and writing very explicitly.
    What teachers need to consider is the issue of 'objective' testing, and 'subjective' testing. There is a need for a government that has a) a problem in the country of levels of literacy and b) must be accountable for the methods it promotes - to be accountable.
    There is not enough emphasis in the various threads on the screening check that the government worked closely with teachers to decide upon the 'threshhold' mark. It is also a work in progress, surely, which is new and perhaps inevitably bound to have teaching problems.
    I do understand that teachers have protested that they don't need a government-generated list of words to able to assess their children - but I dispute that contention because it is clear that the list has led to some surprises for teachers - such as children they considered to be the better readers reading relatively inaccurately for the screening check.
    Of course there will be reasons for this - such as 'in the afternoon', 'having a bad day' or whatever. But other teachers describe such children as needing no such allowances as reading accurately was not an issue in their context.
    So, why are some teachers not able to step outside of their contexts and unpick the issues more carefully - and deliver the information to parents more carefully than the idea that children are passing or failing this simple check?
    We have a prevailing culture in our profession of anti-objective testing. The teaching unions are doing a disservice to the profession to bleat about objective testing. It is essential - but should be seen in much more simple, and less passionate and personal terms.
    Individual teacher assessment is fit-for-purpose with class and school contexts - not for national snapshots. The phonics screening check has confused the message with its emphasis on helping teachers to assess their children - even if this is the reality in some cases - those occasional surprises and the capacity to be able to discuss these things on the forums.
    Teachers need to reflect on the diverse reactions - and they need to step back and ask themselves whether they have viewed the scenario objectively enough and professionally enough.
    The government, in my opinion, is not at fault for attempting to establish an annual national snapshot for decoding as part of the picture of reading instruction. It is not at fault for including real words and non-words.
    But the government has not couched the screening check well enough - and this needs to be addressed transparetly - that there is accountability at all levels and this is right.
    The government worked with teachers to establish the screening check, and needs to continue to do so to address developments - and teachers' professional development.
    Teachers need to build on experiences this year - and enable the advent of the national snapshot to be an entirely positive state of affairs going forwards.
     
  16. Debbie, the guidance says, "Teachers must tell parents whether or not their child met the required standard to ensure they are aware of their child?s progress in developing phonics skills". For most parents this means that they are being told how their child is getting on with reading, and as this is a statutory test parents will regard it as the most significant result they are being given about their child's reading. A parent will not regard other results and levels reported as being as meaningful and summative as this one, the one which the school will be judged by nationally. And as long as there is a pass/fail mark, however it is described, whether it is benchmark, threshold or whatever, parents will, rightly, regard their child as having passed or failed. 'Required standard' has the negative side or 'not of required standard'; for parents a low mark means their child's work is 'not of required standard'. For some very anxious parents it may even mean that their child is 'not of the required standard' and doomed to failure. This would be bad enough if the test was a check on all aspects of the child's reading skill, but at least in this case it would be an accurate assessment of reading. The decoding check does not give an accurate picture of the child's reading. In instituting this test the government itself is being subjective rather than objective by focusing in on one aspect of reading as a measure. That is not an objective measure because it does not take every element into account. The government is trying to ensure that all schools adopt a first and fast SP approach, not ensure that all schools teach a broad and balanced reading curriculum. No doubt they are doing this in good faith, but many people think this faith is unfounded. You hint that those who question the value of the check are inexplicably opposed to phonics teaching and unaware of how effective SP is, but I see no evidence of this. The teachers who have posted puzzling about the results have been using phonics programmes and are committed to phonics as an effective route to decoding. The questions arise over whether decoding through SP techniques is the whole story when it comes to fluent reading.
     
  17. I myself am not happy about the way that the phonics screening check has been put forward - but there is system of national assessment of higher-order reading and writing (comprehension) at the end of Year Two is there not.
    I would actually prefer to see a national snapshot test of comprehension a year later, in Year Three, rather than in Year Two - unless there was a separation between reading and writing.
    Perhaps it would be better to have a simple reading comprehension test at the end of Year Two rather than a reading and writing assessment.
    Indeed, perhaps we need a national snapshot of spelling which is still the poor relative even though teaching spelling is nowadays the reverse of teaching reading - and is part of the systematic phonics approach.
    I suggest then, that the government is only subjective in that it is apparently aiming the phonics screening check with a focus on supporting teachers in assessing their children rather than stating that the check is also looking at results across the nation. Thus, it is objective, but has the assessment been put forward well enough in 'objective' terms.
    I myself have no problem with considering that snapshot views of the nation can have a sort of hierarchy - technical skills then language comprehension skills. But to ascertain the language comprehension skills in the process of reading texts, the children deserve to be taught the technicalities of decoding (which in the past was not guaranteed and teachers were generally not trained to teach the alphabetic code and blending skill explicitly).
    I don't disagree at all that the decoding level of the reading process is only one part of the picture - but I am reminding people that national assessment for the higher order processes are already in place in Year Two.
    What I really need to add is that no matter how much SP proponents point out the Simple View of Reading model - and how, of course, SP teaching is only part of the picture, some people seem to have remarkably blank memories regarding this.
    Over and again we say, 'Yes, systematic synthetic phonics is only part of the picture' and yet this seems to fall on deaf ears - or at least some deaf ears.
     
  18. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    If I were to quibble about why only check decoding at the end of year 1, I'd be inclined to say that an equivalent for maths should be in place rather than that we should also be nationally checking children's comprehension skills at the end of year 1.
    In the same way that there are some fundamental building blocks for reading which schools should be putting place in reception and year 1, the same goes for maths.
    I see this as being all about not letting children slip too far behind in KS1 as once they hit the KS2 classroom with some basic skills missing, it is so much harder to catch up. Every day can be a forgetting more exercise before you know it.
    Time and money is limited which I guess is why it is only decoding which is currently checked at the end of year 1. It's a simple screening which based on quite a few pieces of research will pick up on the vast majority of poor readers as in the earlier years of reading it is likely to be word recognition skills which are lacking in the early years in poor readers - it's higher up primary and into secondary that most poor readers exhibit deficits in listening comprehension.
    Hopefully children with language difficulties are being picked up by nursery, reception and year 1 teachers without the need for a further national screening test? Whereas word recognition difficulties can easily go unseen in this age group.
     
  19. Just as much as teachers clearly have different perspectives on the phonics screening check (and on their understanding of teaching reading and children learning to read), so do parents have different perspectives.
    Some parents may well be anxious - for a number of reasons - some of which mystery10 has described.
    There are parents, however, who are very keen to learn how their children are doing and who don't just see this screening check as about their individual child alone - but do understand that it may reflect how schools, or even individual teachers within a school, teach at least the phonics side of reading.
    For decades there have been parents who have been wrongly advised by schools that their child 'will pick reading up' and not to worry about reading progress in the infants.
    There are children who are 'late developers' but sometimes the scenario is as much, or more, about the prevailing approach to teaching reading.
    We do know that there are children who can pick reading up through their many and various experiences - whether in the home, or at school, or both. But, sadly, there are also many children who simply have not managed to pick reading (and writing) up well - or they have picked reading up but not spelling or writing well enough.
    Even now, there is a big difference in approach in schools which support early reading instruction with cumulative, decodable reading material (and intervention with cumulative, decodable reading material) where other schools have not. The most well-known interventions have not included the use of decodable reading material and still these interventions dominate the wider picture.
    So, there are parents who may well be glad that there have been official attempts to both promote SP teaching and the use of cumulative, decodable books - and such parents may well be glad that the government has established a national screening opportunity to draw attention to the results of early reading instruction.
    All of these steps should be underpinned by transparency - which is what I feel mystery10 is suggesting.
    This whole area of reading and spelling instruction and results would, in an ideal world, be about us all being in this together to see how best we can serve the children themselves.
     
  20. Mystery, I don't think word recognition skills go unnoticed. I think they are noticed every time a child reads to the teacher, and the teacher works on them with the child and draws out what the child's individual problem is. There could be a range of reasons for a child's problems. For instance, the child may be hurriedly guessing from first letter, or sounding out each letter while disregarding digraphs, or mixing up letters such as 'b' and 'd', or applying the wrong version of a digraph and failing to check it against context. .... the list goes on. Within the context of 1 to 1 reading practice a teacher can build up a child's specific reading profile and address specific deficits. It's a much more useful tool than the phonics check although a qualitative analysis of mistakes on the phonics check might be reasonably helpful. If word recognition skills are going unnoticed perhaps teachers should be asking how much time they are allowing for individual reading practice and whether it is enough.
     

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