Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

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Lesley Drake
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by Lesley Drake » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:33 pm

The DFE Assessment Framework and Assessment and Reporting Arrangements (ARA) are now out.

Plenty for us all to mull over.

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/tea ... ning-check

geraldinecarter
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by geraldinecarter » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:11 pm

Thank you Lesley for this alert - I've just seen it. I'm v. surprised that no-one has commented yet. I've a few reservations about the strugglers and how the DfE can encourage teachers to stick to basic decoding skills' practice without getting neurotic about all children reaching the benchmark. It's a difficult balance between complacency and returning to the default position of multi-strategy teaching on the one hand and pushing relentlessly to get all children up to scratch. The middle of Year 2 might be more appropriate for a small minority of children? But please, DfE, don't push these children into inappropriate, expensive, often confusing multi-strategy approaches as Stephen Twigg wants to do.

I hope before the next election Stephen Twigg will read the Select Committee Evidence Based report, listen to Graham Stringer, and have a look at SP in action. It should be a top priority.

chew8
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by chew8 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:22 pm

The only way children can reach the expected standard in the screening check is by being competent at decoding. I hope teachers will realise that multi-strategy approaches will not produce this competence.

Jenny C.

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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by MonaMMcNee » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:34 pm

People can learn to read English without non-words.
If you want low-frequency, there are thousands in an a tlas.
We NEED old tests to allow comparison over time
The supposed 6+ should have been 5+ - it does not cover soft c,g for instance.
How much did it cost?
Mona McNee

chew8
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:35 pm

Yes, people can learn to read English without non-words and the DfE itself recommends that teachers use rare real words rather than non-words for teaching purposes - but non-words are useful for assessment purposes and the screening check is an assessment tool. Reputable researchers regard non-words as the most stringent way of assessing decoding ability.

Re. soft c and g: they may not have occurred in the 2012 check but the Framework makes it clear that they could occur and that they therefore need to be taught. See pages 12 and 13 of http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/fi ... _final.pdf

Jenny C.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:27 am

It is looking like the non-words in the Year One Phonics Screening Check caused the most surprises - not so much the real words.

Children that teachers described as good readers made mistakes or tried to make the non-words into real words.

Personally, I doubt the children were trying to make sense of the non-words, I suggest that they were doing what they perhaps do routinely when reading which may be having a good stab at words that they are looking at quickly and not necessarily attentively.

I suggest that the non-words have a very important role to play in the screening check even though not everyone appreciates the rationale and what could well be happening with the children's reading reflex.

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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by MonaMMcNee » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:15 am

We NEED old tests to allow comparison over time.
Non-words are NEW. We need to go BACKA bCK TO COMMON SENSE.
New ideas come from people inn the Df
We trying to justify their jobs.
Chris Woodhead called for a massive reduction in the ed-budget and so do I.
£50bn a year, at lest.....

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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by kenm » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:31 pm

Debbie Hepplewhite wrote:...
Children that teachers described as good readers made mistakes or tried to make the non-words into real words.

Personally, I doubt the children were trying to make sense of the non-words, I suggest that they were doing what they perhaps do routinely when reading which may be having a good stab at words that they are looking at quickly and not necessarily attentively.

I suggest that the non-words have a very important role to play in the screening check ...
ISTR that the check was supposed to be aimed at providing information about the children to the teachers. My hope is that the surprisingly (to the teachers) low achievement of their "good" readers tells some of them about themselves, in particular the inadequacy of their own judgments.
"... 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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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by MonaMMcNee » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:05 pm

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".)

chew8
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:00 am

Mona wrote: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)

Jenny C.

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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by kenm » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:40 pm

MonaMMcNee wrote:It is not fair to blame teachers' judgment when they are given poor materials (Letters and Soudns) and supposed to teach that!
I don't blame them, because it's not their fault that they have been poorly informed at their university, and are not able to get the best out of their materials.
Why spend money on new ones?[tests]
To give the teachers (and their managers?) new information, viz. that their "good" readers aren't, and need to be taught something that is missing from their current teaching.
"... 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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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:08 pm

I thought I would refer to the thread below as it leads to an article I've written for SEN Magazine re three reports brought out in May 214.

These reports are linked to developments in England: teachers' views on the Year One Phonics Screening Check and the accuracy of their assessments of phonics, and teachers' possible beliefs and practices:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5982

What these reports show is that we do not have a clear understanding of teachers' practices and beliefs and that there are still many who do not support the Year One Phonics Screening Check or the Systematic Synthetic Phonics teaching principles in full.

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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by cartwheel » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:19 am

From here in the U.S., the national phonics check looks wonderful to my eyes. We certainly have nothing like it here.

Many schools here, voluntarily, use NWF (nonsense word fluency) assessments - either from DIBELSNext or from AIMSweb, although there are plenty of teachers who don't care for such assessments. There are multiple probes, so that students can be progress-monitored with them. The child is timed for one minute, and there are national norms for grades K and 1. I do like that the assessment is normed, and I do get useful information.... But it uses only the "short" vowels - no advanced code - and it not only includes "illegal" spellings (lots of words ending in "j" and "v"), but it includes words that sound like real words, but are not spelled like the real words (uv, lej, pak). Now, THAT, is confusing for kids. They are told these are nonsense words, and then the kids decode them and say, "But that's a real word" - which takes time away from their 1 minute.

Oh, and the norms are based solely on correct letter-sounds. The students don't even need to blend them into a word. And because the benchmark for the end of 1st grade is c. 57/min., children who know their letter-sounds well can just say the sounds and look fine according to the numbers. In the online version, there isn't even a way to mark whether the child blended the whole word. So, I like to quickly tally on paper (S/O for sounded-out-then blended ... or SB - smooth-blended) in order to have information that is useful. I was thrilled to see the U.K. phonics checks training video and learn that only truly blended words count as correct. I have come across too many kids who can't blend unfamiliar words. They stop after the initial consonant(s), then say the rest of the word. This I have seen with children as old as 11. The phonics check's insistence on this point surely puts some due pressure on teachers to learn how to teach the skill of blending, and on program creators to ensure this is covered. Some children simply need to taught explicitly, and many would benefit if they were taught the skill early.

Jennie (U.S.)

chew8
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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by chew8 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:14 pm

I think it's right that our phonics check is not timed. In doing a practice version with well over 100 children, I've found that no good decoders take longer than about two minutes, but some do take the two minutes, whereas others take well under one minute.

Jenny C.

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Re: Phonics Screening Check - the RRF Response

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:35 am

Jennie - I keep encouraging teachers overseas simply to use the DfE Year One phonics screening check once it is made available soon after its formal use in England!

What could be easier - and how interesting to compare results in different contexts.

Teachers from a couple of schools have notified me of their use of the check.

Most recently, the British School of Costa Rica - where English is a second language - achieved higher results than the average in England with the 2013 check!

88% of the children achieved or exceeded the benchmark figure compared to an average of 69% in England.

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