Feedback on Phonic Check

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kenm
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by kenm » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:03 pm

maizie wrote:It will be interesting to see if there is a spike in results next year, despite the threshold not being known at the time the check is administered.

I strongly suspect that many teachers will just assume that it is 32 because it has been for the last 3 years.
I hope there is at least one civil servant in the DoE with the nous to reduce the pass mark by 2 or 3 and either increase the proportion of more difficult correspondences to maintain the same level of difficulty or to implement JennyC's recommendation and explain that it had been found that most of the near miss children would catch up without radical remedies.
"... 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: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by volunteer » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:35 pm

maizie wrote:It will be interesting to see if there is a spike in results next year, despite the threshold not being known at the time the check is administered.

I strongly suspect that many teachers will just assume that it is 32 because it has been for the last 3 years.
The threshold will still be known before submission though - still an opportunity for fiddling.

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Susan Godsland
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Susan Godsland » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:15 pm

Prof. Dorothy Bishop has just written a balanced and thoughtful blog post on the Check:

Good and bad news on the phonics screen

http://deevybee.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/ ... creen.html

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:55 pm

chew8 wrote: Ofsted showed in 2010 that both KS1 and KS2 results were good in schools where early phonics teaching was good – see http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/read ... ools-do-it. So there has been some official relating of early teaching methods to outcomes on existing government tests even before the screening check. The difference, from now on, will be that there is national evidence specifically on Year 1 decoding which can be related to later outcomes.

Jenny C.

Funny though, I telephoned one of the schools cited in in this report, one that said they used an eclectic range of materials (bwaap...bwaap...bwaap warning!) and their PST results were "terrible". And the reason why was easy to ascertain; they believed that while phonics was important, children learn in different ways and that if a child appeared to be reading well without phonics (guessing from context etc) they would encourage that.

chew8
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:12 pm

Many children do learn to read very well on an eclectic approach, particularly if they get a lot of home support. A low free school meals figure is likely to be an indicator of such support. There was a wide variation in the FSM figures for the schools in that Ofsted report - what was the figure for the school you 'phoned, Kiki?

As I said before, however, what we'll now have is national data allowing decoding proficiency at the end of Year 1 to be related to reading standards thereafter when these are measured by tests which are not purely tests of decoding. I would expect the data to show that more early emphasis on decoding is beneficial.

Jenny C.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by JIM CURRAN » Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:37 pm

Jenny asked: There was a wide variation in the FSM figures for the schools in that Ofsted report - what was the figure for the school you 'phoned, Kiki?

I’d also be interested to hear these stats. As Jenny says when children have lots of support at home mixed methods may well produce readers but as someone who has spent almost forty years teaching children from more disadvantaged backgrounds good systematic Synthetic Phonics teaching is crucial for these children.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:06 am

Sir Jim Rose in his report on the teaching of reading (March 2006) pointed out that children should not be left to 'ferret out' the alphabetic code on their own - nor should it be 'left to chance'.

This is the issue.

No doubt there have always been and always will be children who can 'ferret out' the code by themselves - particularly with a rich 'at mother's knee' experience.

The point is, however, that it is advanced alphabetic code knowledge and decoding which enables even literate adults to lift new, longer and more challenging words off the page.

Thus, why on earth should it be 'left to chance' as to the reading instruction that children receive?

Picture cues, context and initial letter cues may well get children through book after book - often painstakingly - but these guessing cues will not suffice into adulthood or for reading advanced texts and sophisticated and technical vocabulary.

So, in my mind it is virtually irrelevant that there are a group of children who succeed 'at mother's knee' - because it should NOT be left to chance and ALL children need to know advanced code for lifelong literacy!

As teachers, then, it is our duty to be knowledgeable about the alphabetic code and phonics teaching and our duty to ensure that all children get the best possible foundations regardless of their families' socio-economic status.

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maizie
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by maizie » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:50 am

Kiki wrote:Funny though, I telephoned one of the schools cited in in this report, one that said they used an eclectic range of materials (bwaap...bwaap...bwaap warning!) and their PST results were "terrible".
I assume (before kenm asks ;-) ) that 'PST' here stands for 'Phonics Screening Test'?

I'd add it to the 'abbreviations list except that I am loth to perpetuate the idea that the Screening Check is a 'test'.

Very interesting observation, though. I wonder what Ofsted would have to say to that.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:22 am

I'm not sure it is such an interesting observation. Consider that there may be several routes to good reading. The phonics check only checks one. Children who use others are discriminated against. In a school using 'eclectic' methods the whole class is discriminated against.

What is important is that children achieve an automatic response to written and printed words, instantly knowing what spoken words they represent, and what they mean. The phonics check does not test this ability, not least because part of the test does not even use real words. The phonics check checks phonics and nothing else.

'Lifting words off the page' is far more sophisticated than simply decoding words using phonics - this can supply the wrong pronunciation and tells you nothing about the meaning.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:39 am

maizie wrote:
Kiki wrote:Funny though, I telephoned one of the schools cited in in this report, one that said they used an eclectic range of materials (bwaap...bwaap...bwaap warning!) and their PST results were "terrible".
I assume (before kenm asks ;-) ) that 'PST' here stands for 'Phonics Screening Test'?

I'd add it to the 'abbreviations list except that I am loth to perpetuate the idea that the Screening Check is a 'test'.

Very interesting observation, though. I wonder what Ofsted would have to say to that.
Actually I agree with you Maizie - it was a slip on my part, I prefer and think it more accurate to refer to it as a 'check'

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:06 pm

Toots wrote:I'm not sure it is such an interesting observation. Consider that there may be several routes to good reading. The phonics check only checks one. Children who use others are discriminated against. In a school using 'eclectic' methods the whole class is discriminated against.

What is important is that children achieve an automatic response to written and printed words, instantly knowing what spoken words they represent, and what they mean. The phonics check does not test this ability, not least because part of the test does not even use real words. The phonics check checks phonics and nothing else.

'Lifting words off the page' is far more sophisticated than simply decoding words using phonics - this can supply the wrong pronunciation and tells you nothing about the meaning.
Oh dear.

Some things that are helpful to know:

1) Good (adult) readers decode fluently. (To be read as: "Good (adult) readers decode fluently FULL STOP.")
If you don't learn to decode fluently then you will be forced to rely on cognitively inefficient and often inaccurate guessing strategies. This gets much more difficult as you get older and the material you are expected to read gets more difficult (eg no pictures etc). In other words, to maximise any person's reading potential you need to maximise their phonic skills.

2) The earlier you learn to decode the better. The longer you spend using other 'strategies' such as guessing or sight words then the poorer your long term reading potential.

3) It is very possible for a child to appear to be reading extremely well (using context guessing and sight words etc) and to do very well at KS1 or even lower KS2 reading comprehension tests. However, unless through this process they are able to 'ferret out' and teach themselves how English works then their progress will slow and fall behind their peers. I have tutored several children over the years who were considered G&T in Y1 or Y2 but had fallen significantly behind their peers by Y5 or Y6. Other children may be able to maintain a reasonable reading ability but struggle with spelling.

4) Yes, reading is about decoding but it is also about VOCABULARY and language comprehension processes. All SSP learning environments are rich in the language and literature experiences that are vital for reading success. By teaching the vital decoding element quickly and effectively you free up so much more time and give the children so many more opportunities for language development.

In schools using 'eclectic methods' the only children 'discriminated against' (by the choice of that method of teaching) are children with English as an Additional Language, children from low Socio-Economic Status households and children with Specific Educational Needs. The Phonics Check is hugely important in identifying those children who are struggling to acquire vital phonic skills to enable them to get necessary further help and support.

Kiki
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:14 pm

JIM CURRAN wrote:Jenny asked: There was a wide variation in the FSM figures for the schools in that Ofsted report - what was the figure for the school you 'phoned, Kiki?

I’d also be interested to hear these stats. As Jenny says when children have lots of support at home mixed methods may well produce readers but as someone who has spent almost forty years teaching children from more disadvantaged backgrounds good systematic Synthetic Phonics teaching is crucial for these children.
The FSM rate was very small, much lower than the national average.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:28 pm

Thanks Kiki, that's what I would have expected.

chew8
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:23 pm

If it's the school I think it may be (probably the closest one geographically to Kiki) the FSM figure is 2.2%, as against well over 50% in the two schools with the highest percentage of children on FSM.

I do think that parental input can make a huge difference. Some of this input may be phonics-related, at least of the incidental type that Debbie favours, and when children are from literacy-rich homes, this may be all that they need in order to become excellent readers and spellers.

Jenny C.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:11 pm

chew8 wrote:If it's the school I think it may be (probably the closest one geographically to Kiki) the FSM figure is 2.2%, as against well over 50% in the two schools with the highest percentage of children on FSM.

I do think that parental input can make a huge difference. Some of this input may be phonics-related, at least of the incidental type that Debbie favours, and when children are from literacy-rich homes, this may be all that they need in order to become excellent readers and spellers.

Jenny C.
*may be*

You need to be pretty lucky to have everything thing you need in terms of natural aptitudes and home learning environment to be able to, in effect, teach yourself everything you need to know about English orthography to become an 'excellent reader and speller'. But ultimately, these lucky children are not disadvantaged by a SSP approach, in fact they get there faster and do even better. After all, if they are one of the lucky ones they will find phonics easy and progress quickly through to free reading.

Many parents don't have the knowledge to support their children, especially in phonics. And shouldn't the schools be trusted to do the right thing by all the pupils?

Of course we don't know how these children do later on and we can't know how much better they might have done had they been taught more consistently. It certainly does serve to illustrate the problems with the KS1 reading comprehension tests. Sadly, I think that many of the children who seemed secure at KS1 will have gone on to under perform at later stages when 'other strategies' can no longer compensate for a lack of decoding skills.

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