It is not fair to blame teachers' judgment when they are given poor materials (Letters and Soudns) and supposed to teach that!
We NEED the old tests, to allow comparison over time.
Why spend money on new ones? (Why? To provide jobs for "highly qualified professionals".)
I agree that we need ‘the old tests’ to allow comparison over time - results on such tests are reported from time to time on the RRF message-board. These tests, however, tend to contain a number of words taught as ‘sight’ words in many schools, so I think we also need the Year 1 phonics screening check to make it clear that the top priority in the early stages of schooling is to ensure that children have good decoding skills.Letters and Sounds
promotes the reading of unfamiliar words by phonic decoding and warns against the use of cues from pictures and context (see Notes of Guidance
, p. 12) so I don’t think it can be blamed for the particular aspect of teachers’ judgement that we are talking about in connection with the screening check. We are talking about teachers who think that good readers identify words by using picture cues and context cues – teachers who think like the one quoted in the Sheffield Hallam evaluation of the screening-check pilot:
‘Very difficult test for Year One pupils because it's not something they are familiar with doing. So we are used to asking them to decode words in context. In books to apply their knowledge of the picture cues, the context and so on.’ (p. 50)