Year 1 Phonics screening check

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chew8
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Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by chew8 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:29 am

For what it’s worth...

The spring issue of the UK Literacy Association’s newsletter mentions a survey on the Year 1 phonics screening check carried out for the UKLA by an independent researcher at Sheffield Hallam University. What one gets if one follows the link is not the researcher's report but the UKLA’s account of it:

http://www.ukla.org/news/story/phonics_ ... e_readers/

The newsletter also gives a link to a parliamentary early day motion which shows that a number of MPs agree with the UKLA:

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/774

It’s interesting that the official evaluation of the 2011 screening-check pilot was also carried out by Sheffield Hallam, but in this case by a team rather than by an individual:

http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/10408/1/DFE-RR159.pdf

The conclusions here seem a lot more positive than those of the survey commissioned by the UKLA.

The technical report on the first national administration of the screening check in 2012 said that an evaluation by the National Foundation for Educational Research would be published in the spring of 2013, but as far as I know this hasn’t yet appeared. It will be interesting to see if the findings are anything like those reported by the UKLA.

Jenny C.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:51 pm

Jenny - thank you for the update and the links - all very important developments and information.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by geraldinecarter » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:32 pm

Yes, thank you Jenny.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by chew8 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:21 pm

I've now heard that the first NFER report may be published round about 6 May - this will be just an interim report, as the evaluation is supposed to go on for three years.

Another study which may be available at about the same time is one by the DfE relating children's results in the 2011 screening-check pilot to their results in the Key Stage 1 assessment in 2012.

Jenny C.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:26 pm

I hope the MP detractors don't build up a head of steam! :roll:

I can just imagine them getting rather frenzied without actually knowing the full picture of the various issues associated with reading instruction and the phonics screening check. :neutral:

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by chew8 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:00 am

Debbie wrote:I hope the MP detractors don't build up a head of steam!

I can just imagine them getting rather frenzied without actually knowing the full picture of the various issues associated with reading instruction and the phonics screening check.

The reports from the National Foundation for Educational Research and the Dept. for Education, when they appear, will have more official status than the report commissioned by the UK Literacy Association. We don't yet know what these other reports will show. but if they show something a bit different from the UKLA report, people who have accepted the UKLA findings too uncritically may end up looking a bit silly.

Jenny C.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by john walker » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:41 am

I've just tried to post a reply to the UKLA survey but wasn't allowed to because I'm not a registered member.
This is what I wrote:
During the last year, we, at Sounds-Write, have trained over a thousand teaching practitioners. In that time we have not heard a single objection to the phonics screening check.
To take some of your alleged objections to the check:
Children are confused by nonsense words? As part of our programme of teaching children to read and spell, we have been using nonsense words for over ten years. Never has there been any suggestion that children are 'confused' by them. In fact, just the opposite is the case: mediated correctly, children think that nonsense words are fun, especially when teachers say that these words are words we haven't yet met.
The check ‘impedes successful readers’ or fails ‘a cohort of the most fluent readers’? How anyone can arrive at this conclusion is beyond me. If a child cannot read simple words accurately, then they can't read, much less read fluently! Fluent readers should be capable of reading every word in the check accurately. This objection sounds much more like special pleading on the part of those who advocate whole language and who fail to teach children to decode words correctly.
As for undermining children's confidence as readers, when delivered appropriately, there is no reason why a child should have any inkling how they do on the check.
On any of our trainings, before the course starts, it is a rare occurrence to meet a single teacher who has a clear and explicit understanding of how the sounds of the language relate to the spellings of those sounds. Much less do they know how the English alphabet code is structured conceptually, nor do they know the skills necessary to be able to use that knowledge. Moreover, most head teachers are even less informed about how to teach reading and spelling than their early years teachers.
I would suggest that your survey – it’s hardly likely that teachers in favour of the check are going to be falling over themselves to respond! – is nothing other than a blatant attempt to attack and undermine the value of phonics teaching at what you consider to be its weakest link.
John Walker
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www.sounds-write.co.uk
http://literacyblog.blogspot.com

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by kenm » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:39 pm

The Phonics Screening Check is not fit for purpose
Unfortunately for the UKLA, it seems to be very fit for the purpose of identifying teachers whose teaching of decoding is absent or inadequate.
The Phonics Screening Check impedes successful readers and has failed a cohort of the most fluent readers.
The Phonics Screening Check misidentifies pupils who are beyond this stage of development as readers and favours less developed/emergent readers
The nonsense words were very confusing for children
The Phonics Screening Check identifies good decoders and is not confused by children who have a large vocabulary or are good at guessing, and are thought to be good readers by teachers who don't know what good readers do. This explains all three misconceptions.
The Phonics Screening Check undermines pupils’ confidence as readers.
I can't comment on this.

Edit: I subsequently realised that these would be children who had been wrongly told by their teacher that they were good readers.
There are negative implications for relationships with parents
Yes, if that means relationships between incompetent teachers and concerned parents,
There are implications for school organisation.
Yes, another good thing.

I would expect these criticisms to come from any teacher who didn't understand how to teach reading and was trying to avoid facing this.
Last edited by kenm on Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
"... 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: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by john walker » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:52 pm

:grin: Nice one, Ken!
John Walker
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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:56 am

Hi John - I maintain a thread on my Phonics International message forum about the Year One Phonics Screening Check as I think it is really an important issue.

I've already used Jenny's information on the thread and I've taken the liberty of also adding your un-posted message separately as it's very good.

Thank you! ;-)

We have to keep on saying these sensible things and reporting our own findings and observations to counter all the criticism about the check.

Thank you for your comments, too, Ken.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by volunteer » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:51 pm

There isn't that much point in looking at correlations between ks1 reading results and phonics decoding test. Ks1 is teacher assessed and poor decoders can get get good results and vice versa.

So much seems still to be judged at my children's school on whether or not a child reads with expression or enjoys guessing what might happen next ( mistakenly called inference) .

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by chew8 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:34 am

There may be enough reliability in the Key Stage 1 assessment for the correlation between it and the phonics screening check a year earlier to have some significance. In my voluntary work at a KS2 school (90-strong intake each year) I've found that most of the children's KS1 reading results tally well with standardised test results and my subjective impressions of their reading. It's only in a minority of cases that there are anomalies.

Jenny C.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by volunteer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:32 pm

Well that's a relief because I am always hoping that I am getting an atypically depressing view at the schools I am involved with. Which standardised reading test do you find the KS1 NC sub-level for reading seems to correlate well with at the schools you are involved with? Do you think those schools are "typical"? How big is the minority where this is not the case?

I'm still not sure how useful it is though to look at the correlation between decoding check result and KS1 reading test result .... it's the usual problem with correlation versus causal relationships. Also a child's progress in year 2 so very much depends on what a school does with the year 1 test result e.g. with a high pass do they sit back during year 2 and with a low fail do they do their utmost during year 2, or vice versa?

One might hope that one would see, as a result of the check, more children making more progress in year 2 than prior to the days of the check, but there won't be research data available to investigate this will there?

I see sensible parents puzzling over their own children's reading progress in year 2 and not realising how much difference what does and doesn't take place at school and at home makes - not just the amount of time and effort, but the type of effort. There is still the myth prevailing that all children just magically learn to read well, and that if they don't, they must be a bit dyslexic so that's that, and we shouldn't try too hard to teach them more at school or at home because they'll be under too much pressure, fall on their face etc etc.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by chew8 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:04 pm

There's this, volunteer:

http://www.rrf.org.uk/messageforum/view ... orn#p32528

I posted it several years ago. There may be something more recent but I haven't been able to find it.

Jenny C.

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Re: Year 1 Phonics screening check

Post by Heather F » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:20 pm

I have always felt convinced there will be a significant correlation when data is published. Predictable texts in reading books mask problems and I've always thought that the advantage of having been taught to read effectively will be statistically significant, even if the test is more comprehension based. I think I have formed this impression from the TES forum and Mumsnet, looking at the sort of levels you read are being achieved in many classes. I think I read that the average ORT level for the end of Reception is Level 2. Those kids are barely off the starting blocks especially if one takes into account that children using whole word recognition in their reading books (because phonics is taught discretely and not applied) to get that level are just recognising a few words. The sort of schools that ace the phonics check will get a statistically significant number reading much more confidently, whatever their intake.

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