Test results

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Susan Godsland
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Post by Susan Godsland » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:27 pm

The latest test results are out:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/60 ... -slip.html
The gulf is widest in writing as 87 per cent of girls reach the standard expected of their age group compared with only 75 per cent of boys. Reading was also identified as a major area of concern.

Ministers insisted that countries “all over the world struggle with this long standing issue” but said high-profile schemes designed to raise literacy standards among boys would pay off.

Some £5 million has been spent on books aimed specifically at boys in the last 12 months, while men are being encouraged into schools to act as reading “role models” for young children.

But experts claimed boys were being held back by increased access to TV and video games, coupled with early exposure to formal education.

Sue Palmer, a former head teacher and author of the book 21st Century Boys, said boys were developmentally behind at birth and now got less time to “run about and play, which is what they need to catch up”.

“Boys will be disadvantaged at every point until we give them a more play-based approach until the age of six or maybe seven, with less emphasis on formal schooling,” she said.

Nick Gibb, the Conservative shadow schools minister, said: “This looks likes further worrying evidence that standards in primary schools are stalling and that boys are losing out the most.

“Far too many children fall behind early in their school careers and then find it difficult to catch up. We need a rigorous focus on the basics with effective synthetic phonics for reading and proper maths teaching so that all children achieve the keystones to future success.”

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Post by chew8 » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:38 pm

I should be in a position quite soon to share data on Key Stage 1 reading levels and scores on the Holborn reading test. I already have almost complete sets of figures for children starting in Year 3 in Sept. 2008 and it looks as though this year's data may be available quite soon.

This is just a plea for others to collect similar data too, if possible, so that we can make some comparisons.

Jenny C.

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Post by chew8 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:35 pm

I can now report on the way that the Key Stage 1 reading levels of 155 children relate to their reading ages on the Holborn reading test. 84 of these children entered Year 3 in September 2008 and 71 entered Year 3 in September 2009. In both years, the children had done the KS1 assessment in May. They were then given the Holborn test soon after entering Y3 - in 2008 the test was administered in October and in 2009 it was administered in September, so the 2009 children were about a month younger, on average.

In 2008, 2 children had Level 4+ for reading at KS1. Their Holborn reading ages were 11.25 and 13.75 years respectively - average 12.5.
In 2009, 1 child had Level 4+ for reading at KS1. Holborn RA: 13.75.

In 2008, 35 children had Level 3 for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 8.53. Range: 7.5 to 10.75
In 2009, 25 children had Level 3 for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 8.8. Range: 7.75 to 10.5.

In 2008, 21 children had Level 2a for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 7.97. Range: 7.25 to 8.75.
In 2009, 24 children had Level 2a for reading at KS 1. Average Holborn RA: 8.0. Range: 7.0 to 9.25.

In 2008, 16 children had Level 2b for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 7.59. Range: 6.75 to 9.5.
In 2009, 10 children had Level 2b for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 7.33. Range: 6.25 to 9.0.

In 2008, 8 children had Level 2c for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 7.1. Range: 6.75 to 8.0.
In 2009, 11 children had Level 2c for reading at KS1. Average Holborn RA: 7.0. Range: 6.0 to 7.75.

In 2008, 2 children had Level 1 for reading at KS1. Holborn reading ages 6.5 and 6.25 - average 6.38.
In 2009, no children had Level 1 for reading at KS1.

There were no results below Level 1 in either year.

On the basis of these results, and of hearing the children read, I don't find much in the KS reading levels to complain about. Over the two years, I think the numbers who probably should have had a lower level than they were awarded are roughly as follows:

Level 4+: 0
Level 3: 0
Level 2a: 4
Level 2b: 6
Level 2c: 2
Level 1: 0

So my experience over the past two years has been of KS1 reading results being misleading in under 8% of cases.

Jenny C.

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Post by MonaMMcNee » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:12 am

Thank you, Jennie for these figures.
Jennie gives us “Range” for the reading ages, but for the Key Stages there is no range, only 6 levels. To me this is a blunt instrument. It conceals as much as it informs.
And as always with changes, if they had continued with reading ages, comparison over time would be possible, in a straightforward way.
SATs were just one more example of governmetn wanting change, change, change.

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Post by chew8 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:44 pm

I don't know where to go from here. When Mona started this thread, I responded immediately, outlining the sort of information I could provide, and Mona replied saying 'This would be very useful. Can any others do the same?'.

I have done exactly what I said I would do, but now it seems not to be so useful after all. Mona wants a national system of reporting results in terms of reading age, and I have done my best, on the basis of the information I have, to explain the relationship between Key Stage 1 test results and reading ages on a test which Mona knows. In the meantime, however, I have Dick Schutz e-mailing me privately and saying that the reading age concept is invalid.

I regard myself as having been in a privileged position for the past 9 years, because my voluntary involvement and excellent relationship with a Key Stage 2 school has meant that I have not only had access to various test results for children aged 7 to 11 (Key Stage 1 and 2 tests and standardised reading and spelling tests) but have also heard the reading of dozens of children week in and week out, thus developing a feel for the relationship between their test results and their routine text-reading. I work mostly with Year 3 children (aged 7 to 8), hearing 35-40 of them read each week, but last summer I arranged to hear the reading of 100-odd Year 6 children (almost all aged 11 by then and most of them in 'my' school). I had a private message from Dick Schutz which seemed to indicate approval of this way of judging reading competence. I reported on my findings on the message-board and related these findings, in the case of the children in 'my' school, to their results on standardised reading (Holborn) and spelling (Vernon) tests and on the Key Stage 2 test.

So I have tried very hard to share information in all the forms in which I have it: standardised test results, Key Stage 1 and 2 test results, and subjective impressions. This is all I can do.

Jenny C.

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Reading Age

Post by MonaMMcNee » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:25 pm

Yes, reading age is invalid and has always been. If "all" children could read at age 5, thwt would be that. But a large sample produced the reading age scales.
The trouble with SATs is that it conceals excellence.
Jennie tried, thank you Jennie, but (to me) it just shows that we need something better than SATs.

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Post by chew8 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:25 pm

I have no problem with the idea that we need something better than 'SATs' - in fact I have been informally involved in commenting on suggestions for alternative types of tests.

I don't entirely agree that the current testing arrangements 'conceal excellence' - there is a 'Level 4+' at Key Stage 1, and in my experience the children who get it for reading are very good indeed.

As I see it, 'SATs' (the current Key Stage 1 assessments and KS2 tests) do provide us with some useful information and we shouldn't press for them to be thrown out until we are absolutely sure that something better is being put in their place. We need to recognise, too, that it may be difficult to get agreement, even among very pro-phonics people, about exactly what that 'something better' is.

Jenny C.

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Post by MonaMMcNee » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:16 am

On p.176 of the government “Identifying and teaching .... dyslexia” report you will find: “Standard (or standardised) scores, which usually have a mean (average) of 100 ... are the ideal form of measurement....”
Mean and average are not the same.
On p.178 under “Ratio gain” , “findings of ratio gains in excess of 2.0 may be taken as good evidence in support of the method employed.” I checked about 300 of the pupils I had taught, years ago, and found (for my own information) the average was 3.0. It is good to know that this measure is now officially recognised.

We have had “qualified teachers” working for the past 60 years of decline until now the Tesco head says education is “woeful” but still official qualifications are in power. I am unqualified. I would be happy to train others and give them my qualification! But I believe simple teaching is best. In contrast, on p.151 you will find “The pattern of training is complex and difficult to unravel.” I cannot imagine how the training of teachers of dyslexics needs 90 hours of “lectures+seminars+study time” but last night I met someone who had had that training and assures me it is needed. The front cover of my “Step by Step” says “Anybody can teach reading Step by Step” which needs only common sense. There are probably strugglers, perhaps 1 in 1,000 dyslexics, who do need unusual teaching, but for the vast majority their problem has arisen from starting with look-say.
“Letters and Sounds” is a jumble I would not want to sue with dyslexics but nobody in the British Dyslexia Association (as far as I know) complained about it.
But now “qualification” has become a vita necessity while at the same time being “complex and difficult to unravel”. Are we still on the wrong track?
We must specifically resist any NEW tests, and advocate using OLD tests, to allow comparison back over time!

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Post by kenm » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:19 am

In mathematics, there are several sorts of mean. I can think of three.

Arithmetic: the sum of the values divided by the number of them;

Geometric: the product of the values divided by the number of them;

Harmonic: the reciprocal of the arithmetic mean of the reciprocals.

I discover that there is a fourth, because I remembered it (incorrectly) as the name of the last: Logarithmic, which I won't give here, because it is rather complicated (masochists see Wikipedia).

In statistics, I have never seen any but the first used, so that the adjective is usually dropped. "Average" is often used as a synonym for it, but the Wikipedia author disapproves, because of the risk of confusion with the mode and the median.

In statistics, the median is the value that splits the data set into two sets with equal numbers of data points, and with values greater on one side and smaller on the other. The mode is the value that occurs the most frequently in a data set or a probability distribution. However, it is also used loosely as the name for a local maximum, and a curve that has two of these is called "bi-modal". Such a shape is a warning that two different populations have been mixed.

The normal distribution, often called the "bell" curve (no capital letter) has only one peak and has identical values for mean, mode and median. Widely different values for any two of these* are a warning that some of the convenient numerical manipulations used to summarise the characteristics of a population are invalid, since the distribution of the measured value does not approximate closely to the normal.

* This will always occur with a bi-modal distribution, but also with skewed distributions; e.g. reading age, that can't have values less than zero but can have a "long tail" of rare high values.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Post by chew8 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:36 am

Thanks for that explanation, kenm.

In education, and particularly with standardised reading and spelling tests, 'mean' and 'average' are usually understood as synonyms.

Jenny C.

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