Standardised Reading Tests

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Standardised Reading Tests

Post by JIMCURRAN » Sun Nov 16, 2003 8:23 pm

I was contacted last week by a mother whose son had just been tested by the Educational Psychologist and diagnosed as dyslexic with a reading age two years below his chronological age. The child a year five pupil had all the way through school been in the top reading group. The only reason he had been seen by the Educational Psychologist was that he was being statemented for a medical condition and the Educational Psychologist was part of this process. Such a situation would never arise if pupils were regularly tested using good standardised reading tests . Standardised reading tests have however never been popular with Government and many schools who prefer the vagueness of the Key Stage levels. Standardised reading tests too often show the emperor without his clothes. :?


Post by Guest » Mon Nov 17, 2003 9:26 pm

Jim - standardised tests are hated, you are right. A great pity as you can learn so much about the damage being done by following the NLS 'Searchlight' methods. Nay children follow their method assiduously with no


Standardised Tests

Post by Geb » Mon Nov 17, 2003 9:43 pm

Sorry - the message leapt onto message board in mid-stream. Many children are absolutely floored by NLS advice - and this shows up brilliantly in a standardised reading test.
I have sent DfES four times a case history of boy after 2000+ hours of school unable to read a single word of NFER/Nelson test beginning "Ted went up to the box" except the last word as there is a wacking great line drawing of a box opposite the text. Have sent them detailed analysis of this child's attempt to read the sentence, simply asking how the NLS 'searchlight' model helps him - and 150,000 other struggling readers a year - to read, or to understand how reading works.
Perhaps I should try the children's minister.....g.

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Standardised tests

Post by bwking » Tue Nov 18, 2003 9:30 pm

I'd definitely steer clear of the children's minister, Geb: with her record, it would be very unrealistic to hope she would take an interest (or even understand) the child abuse that is being perpetrated in the NLS, in the form of such irrational methods as Searchlights.

A private school-educated toff paternalist socialist of the first water.

Dave Philpot
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Post by Dave Philpot » Wed Dec 03, 2003 9:11 pm

Unfortunately almost all standardised reading tests are based on a sight vocabulary approach, ie no attempt is made to distinguish between sight recognition and genuine decoding. The best (worst?) example of the results of this that I have come across was a young man of 11.3 who scored a reading age of 12.6 on the Wechsler Objective Reading Dimensions Test, but could not tackle the decoding of any simple three-letter CVC word that he had not met before. Therefore with a supposed reading age two years above the level needed to tackle GCSE examinations he was unable to cope with any aspect of the academic national curriculum at high school.( Note: the reading test quoted is a single-word test restricted to use by psychologists and designed to accompany the Wechsler IQ Test).
I agree that regular standardised testing is appropriate, but criterion referenced tests of underlying phonemic awareness skills and alphabet code knowledge are much more useful for informing teaching practice.

Debbie Hepplewhite

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Dec 04, 2003 12:28 am

Dave - its great to have you post on our new messageboard!

Do you have any long term results or any information regarding your work in Wigan that you would like to tell us about on the messageboard, and/or in the newsletter or as an article on the website please?

I am sure RRFers would be very grateful to hear about your promotion of synthetic phonics (**) in Wigan.

Best wishes,


Debbie Hepplewhite

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Dec 04, 2003 12:36 am

I have found using Ruth Miskin's nonsense word test invaluable for a quick analysis of 'how' children are reading words.

Many children who are contextual readers (guessers!) struggle with the simplest of nonsense words. They substitute real words and/or read words back to front, miss sounds out and guess dreadfully. Very, very revealing.

The difficulty is that they MAY be able to get their way through books of certain types and levels, but what about the future? Also their spelling and writing is usually very weak, they may avoid the use of ambitious words and put the correct letters in an unusual order.

And of course, its much harder to sort out the problems even when you know what needs to be done, than teaching them properly in the first place.


Post by quipg. » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:52 pm

Dave Philpot will correct me if I'm wrong but I think he is trialling a new programme in Wigan which is not connected to PG - so presumably it will be some time before results kick through.
With all best wishes for a programme which promises to add much to teachers understanding of how reading works - and if not 'synthetic' in the strictest sense, I imagine it will have much more in common with synthetic phonics programmes than the pitiful NLS version has. I think it would be a huge relief to Dr Huxford et al to be able to point to a significant split - but the fact that we can appreciate the differing emphasis within a "correct" phonics' framework is a huge thorn in the flesh of the DfES, and a way of finally marginalizing the NLS.


Post by Guest » Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:08 pm

Brian - I always have steered clear of stephen twigg - sheer prejudice on my part - he doesn't look able enough to grapple with this particular problem. But David Miliband is able, and it may be worth approaching him. I have the feeling that Charles Clarke would be able to cut through all the pretension that blocks any chance of rational reading instruction but he's so tied up with top-up fees, I doubt if he has the time needed to devote to it.

Our Children's Minister wants to try to mend the error of her is her chance?? The continuing abuse of children was not her fault, she says. Stephen Twigg did not pass on the information of child abuse to her, his leader in Islington at the time- he evidently stood in for her at her surgery and received the now infamous complaint. We don't hear what he did with it.g.


Standardised tests

Post by Guest » Fri Dec 05, 2003 11:20 pm

I find your faith in contact with any officials in the New Labour govt. rather touching. David Miliband, son of Ralph (jet-set Marxist "intellectual" unto death), went from university straight into the policy- making levels of the party. He is typicl of the career socialists who are jockeying for higher position in the people's party.
I for one cannot contemplate corresponding with him or Clarke or any of their fellow middle class careerists. It is psychologically impossible for them to be able to take the imaginative step towards appreciating the nature of the proletarian world and the cultural barriers to self-realisation that exist there inherently, let alone those that are imposed on them by progressive educationists etc. who view them as class warriers and/or substitute negro slaves or ghettoised Jews.
I'm afraid that teachers who stick up for rational literacy teaching must realise that they are on their own as the sole focus of social justice (with the support of the RRF of course).


standardised tests

Post by guest » Fri Dec 05, 2003 11:25 pm

Forgot to add my name as fail-safe measure.
Brian (of course)


Standardised tests - and much more

Post by Guest » Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:22 am

I said that our Early Years teachers are the sole focus of social justice. I didn't mean just in the UK, or the USA. Because English is well on the way to becoming the world language (for several logical and historical reasons) these teachers are carrying the gift of Greek-originated rationality to all those who "have ears to hear". (I'm not a Christian but a great fan of the Greeks, who took over from Paul, the tent pedlar to the Hellenistic world).
It may seem heavy, but because the USA, for various reasons, is always in the grip of some national neurosis or other, the enlightened teachers of both our countries now carry the responsibility of spreading the results of scientifically-conducted research (most of it American?) into the world-wide teaching of literacy in English.
This will have to be done in the face of the effete (and often unrecognised) Marxism and Romanticism of New Labour and the American parties and their associated catch-up industries.
Surely there can be no more worthwhile fight than that for rationality and social justice - whatever de management try to do?


Post by Guest » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:11 pm

Can anyone suggest an alternative to the Salford Sentence Reading Test which would be suitable for both poor and good Y2 readers?

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