Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:48 pm

To overcome this, we phonics practitioners present our material, a limited number of items to be learned, in short steps in the form of worked examples, comprising part of an extending schema, and follow it with lots of repetition.
Yes!

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:33 pm

Andrew Davis has responded to Old Andrew's blog post, on the TES website - Davis mentions Debbie and this thread

http://community.tes.co.uk/tes_opinion/ ... px#8356339

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:53 am

Did I hear that Davis had been invited to Marion's school to see the phonics practice there but did not reply?

I recall inviting Michael Rosen to meet up to talk about SP many years ago and did not receive a response.

We've 'met' since then at various events but it is more than clear that Rosen is not interested in finding out more about SP programmes and approaches.

Is Davis of the same ilk - shouting loudly about SP but not really that knowledgeable about our programmes and practices?

If toots is the person I think she is, I also invited her to one of my training events to find out more but she was unable to attend.

If the people who go out of their way to spend considerable time and effort in challenging the government's promotion of SP - and if they are so concerned and critical about the notion of what they call 'pure SP' and the 'imposition' of SP practice, you would think they would want to know more about SP programmes and practice first hand wouldn't you!?!

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:05 am

John Walker just made the same comment on another thread before I had read it!

This is what he wrote on the 'Andrew Old' thread which is somewhat parallel to this thread:

The problem with debating people like Davis is that aren't interested in finding out what linguistic phonics or synthetic phonics is all about. As Debbie said, it's highly likely that Davis has not been near a classroom in which a modern-day phonics programme is being taught. One of our Sounds-Write practitioners, from a school very close to Durham (where Davis is based), invited him to have a look for himself. He declined!
And his comment confirms what I thought - that Davis had been invited to see some great phonics practice in action - apparently he declined.

Is he interested in education and finding out about SP - or merely interested in publicising his own meandering thoughts on the subject?

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by maizie » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:29 am

The ironical aspect of Davis declining the practitioner's invitation is that 2 other members of the Durham Uni School of Education have been to the school and been very impressed!

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by john walker » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:57 am

It says it all, doesn't it, Maizie?
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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:17 am

On pages 6 and 7 of his pamphlet, Davis wrote: In reality, Implementation of SP in one school will not and should not precisely resemble those in other schools, and in any case, current research into SP ‘effectiveness’ is not informed by a detailed blow by blow description of what actually happens in the classrooms concerned. Hence, it is never really made clear what the research is actually investigating. If teachers are actually teaching, there will be and should be nothing common to all SP programmes....
By the time I have finished my analysis of phonemes, blending and the true character of words, it becomes clear that if we sought to favour phonics at all, we should support Analytic Phonics. In the latter approach, readers begin with words and can be helped, in some cases at least, to understand why they are spelled the way they are.
I would accept that s.p. in one school will not ‘precisely resemble’ SP in other schools, but it doesn’t follow that ‘If teachers are actually teaching, there will be and should be nothing common to all SP programmes’ (my italics in both cases). Davis himself would evidently know that an approach was analytic phonics (a.p.) if whole words were being taught first, and both the Clackmannanshire researchers and the USA National Reading Panel (NRP) report say something similar: they distinguish between a.p. and s.p. according to whether whole words are taught first as ‘sight’ words, with analysis of the letter-sound correspondences taking place only later, or letter-sound correspondences are taught first with children taught from the start to work out pronunciations for printed words by saying sounds for the letters and blending (synthesising) the sounds.

What Watson and Johnston say in their 1998 Interchange 57 publication is that they found analytic phonics taught in all 12 classrooms that they studied. Children were at first taught whole words as ‘sight’ words; letter-sound correspondences were taught at the rate of one a week, starting in the second half on the first term. When all 26 letters had been taught, typically at the start of the third term, children were taught about correspondences first in initial position, then in middle and final position. This was 'associated with large gains in reading skills', although in most classrooms, children were not explicitly taught to work out unfamiliar printed words by saying sounds for the letters and blending the sounds.

One of the 12 classrooms was different, though:
Watson and Johnston wrote:One class, however, had an accelerated analytic phonics programme which was introduced at the outset of Primary 1, the teaching of the 26 initial letter sounds being completed in January of Term 2. These children were also encouraged to use a sounding and blending strategy when tackling an unknown word in their oral reading practice with the teacher.
The researchers found that ‘gains made in the accelerated phonics sounding and blending programme were maintained over a two-year period’. This was what led to their further studies.

So it is possible to distinguish s.p. from a.p., and even Davis implies that this is the case. In their subsequent studies, the Clack. researchers found a consistent advantage for s.p. Davis thinks that a.p. is probably better but doesn’t cite any research showing this. Is there any?

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Toots » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:35 pm

The Torgerson review casts doubt on the established belief that SP is more effective than AP.

https://czone.eastsussex.gov.uk/sites/g ... elling.pdf

But I think Davis's main point is that research into methods of instruction have to be extremely sensitive to the variables, or interpretation and application of the research has to acknowledge the variables. I suppose Torgeson's review meets the first criterion pretty well. It's unfortunate that so few studies that conformed to the RCT requirement were found.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:01 pm

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/for ... .php?t=510

And here is a thread I've developed on another forum with Professor Diane McGuinness's response to the review above.

And Diane's response 'casts doubt' on the Torgerson review!

This is how we go round and round in circles.

The difference is, however, that the Torgerson review is more well-known and publicised and apparently carried the apparent authority of the DfE despite the disclaimer.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:10 pm

To add to what Debbie says above...
Toots wrote:The Torgerson review casts doubt on the established belief that SP is more effective than AP.

https://czone.eastsussex.gov.uk/sites/g ... elling.pdf

But I think Davis's main point is that research into methods of instruction have to be extremely sensitive to the variables, or interpretation and application of the research has to acknowledge the variables. I suppose Torgeson's review meets the first criterion pretty well. It's unfortunate that so few studies that conformed to the RCT requirement were found.
At least, though, Torgerson et al. think that synthetic and analytic phonics are identifiable and that valid research can be done on them. Note, too, what they say about Johnston and Watson’s Experiment 2: you were recently critical of this study, Toots (the one published in 2004 in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal), but it’s one of the RCTs Torgerson et al. include, and they say that ‘An advantage was found for synthetic phonics in this study, too’.

It’s also worth noting comments by Johnston, McGeown and Watson on the other two s.p. vs. a.p. studies included in the Torgerson et al. review:
Johnston et al. wrote:However, a meta-analysis, funded by England’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES), claimed that there was no clear outcome as to whether synthetic or analytic phonics was the most effective method (Torgerson, Brooks, & Hall, 2006), which may seem surprising in the context of the research by Torgesen et al. (1999) and Johnston and Watson (2004). There are various reasons for this null result. One of the three studies included in the meta-analysis was an unpublished study of kindergarten children, where the children were inappropriately trained on complex vowels, such as tape and rode (Skailand, 1971); these sorts of words are not suitable for early sounding and blending. An advantage was found for the analytic phonics group on the trained items, but not on the untrained words. However, the data on the reading of the trained words were used in the meta-analysis, whereas the National Reading Panel only analysed examined performance on untrained items. Torgesen et al.’s (1999) study was also included. This showed in the long term that the synthetic phonic method was more effective than embedded phonics but Torgerson et al. (2006) used data from a few months into this two and a half year study, when the embedded phonics group was briefly ahead in reading. This was because the synthetic phonics group was mostly learning phoneme awareness at this stage rather than phonics. The third study included was Johnston and Watson’s (2004) Experiment 2, and this also showed that synthetic phonics teaching led to much better reading skills than the analytic phonics method. (Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25, 2012).
I haven’t got the Skailand or Torgesen et al. studies, so can’t check the details, but if Johnston et al. are right, then there are further reasons for thinking that Torgerson et al. may be wrong to conclude that SP has not been shown to be more effective than AP.

Jenny C.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by maizie » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:06 pm

Just a thought,Jenny. There are two Torgersons, one in the UK and one in the US. Which one is the Torgerson referred to in the quote from Johnston et al.?

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by kenm » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:40 pm

Two points strike me about Torgersen et al., 2006.

It's no longer recent. There has been a lot of attention to decoding methods since then and I would expect some additional studies to have taken place. There are certainly a number of schools in the UK that have changed, with support from experts, to SP from reputable sources.

We don't know in detail the methods used within the studies that Torgersen et al. investigated. The narratives accompanying results of the 2012 and 2013 "Phonics" tests show that many schools whose staff think they are using phonics to teach reading are mixing it with methods that reduce its effectiveness. If this were happening within these studies would it have been obvious?
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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Toots » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:51 pm

Ken, the Torgerson review mentions and assesses (as far as possible in the light of very little evidence) 'first, fast and only' in appendix B p55.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:53 pm

The two 'Torge....' names (different spelling but phonemically the same in Received Pronunciation!) are confusing. The one with an extra 'r' and the '-on' ending is Carole Torgerson, lead author of the 2006 Torgerson, Brooks and Hall review commissioned by the DfE. The one ending '-en' is Joseph Torgesen, lead author of the 1999 study cited by Carole Torgerson et al. et al. as one of three RCTs comparing s.p. and a.p.

Anything containing either or both of these names should be read with careful attention to spelling. Johnston et al. get the spelling right.

Jenny C.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:38 pm

Toots mentions Appendix B in the Torgerson, Brooks and Hall review: note that this mentions the RRF several times, not unsympathetically. I made some pencilled notes in my hard copy when the review came out and may post again about this, but not immediately as I'm going out shortly and am in a school all tomorrow morning.

Jenny C.

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