Phonics screening test

(225 Posts)
Mashabell Thu 29-Nov-12 10:06:42

There is a very good article on the madness of the phonics screening test in todays i (the 20 p version of The Independent) and some of its silliest effects.

simpson Thu 29-Nov-12 21:32:37

Ok, having thought about this the thing I disagree with re the phonics test is that it is all based on one test.

So a child could be feeling under the weather,had a bad nights sleep or whatever and not perform as well as they could.

So I think it should be a bit more like the KS1 SATS in which although there is a test, it is done on teacher assessment and so therefore if a child does not "perform" on the day, as long as the teacher has proof that that particular child's phonic knowledge is good then that should be enough iyswim...

I do agree that having some kind of test is a good idea though, not convinced that the phonics test as it stands is the right way to go.

simpson Thu 29-Nov-12 21:34:01

A book IMO won't test their phonic knowledge though as lots of kids guess from looking at the picture,may have read the book before and know it. Or the child could guess words from the context of the rest of the sentence.

Feenie Thu 29-Nov-12 21:35:04

Not really, squeezedatbothends. We've discussed that letter and its signatories before, and not given them a huge amount of credence, tbh - Christine Blower, for example. I would be happy for her to talk about my pension rights all she likes, but she has never taught a child to read in her life to my knowledge.

mrz Thu 29-Nov-12 21:36:16

So you haven't encountered the Ice Age books and toys squeezed

mrz Thu 29-Nov-12 21:39:08

But it isn't a reading test learnandsay it's a phonics screening check (reading is tested with a reading task or test)

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 21:42:12

I know that. I think I said that. But I was talking about a (non existent) reading test which would be conducted with a book.

mrz Thu 29-Nov-12 21:42:26

simpson the phonics screening check took approx 2 mins of the child's time and any sensible teacher would have waited to administer it if the child was obviously off colour (it didn't have to be done on one particular day)

mrz Thu 29-Nov-12 21:43:29

you mean like the reading task a child might do in Y2 learnandsay?

squeezedatbothends Thu 29-Nov-12 21:44:55

Feenie are you really dismissing Robin Alexander? Really?!

simpson Thu 29-Nov-12 21:46:22

Oh, sorry I thought it had to be done on a particular day blush

I just remember a note on my DC's schools newsletter last yr saying the yr1 kids were having their phonics test on xxx date and to please be quiet when walking into the school (if you had a reason to go in).

BooksandaCuppa Thu 29-Nov-12 21:47:17

Maybe the test should refer to the 'made- up' words as aliens' names rather than nonsense words. Might help the children whose inclination might otherwise be to try to turn them into 'real' words and also not offend the phonics bashers (as they would surely have to admit that new names - people/place - almost always have to be sounded/worked out)?

simpson Thu 29-Nov-12 21:49:03

I know it doesn't take very long, DD has had 4 phonics tests (1 of them when she was in nursery) which was the phonics test split into 4 times iyswim...But not repeated so different words each time as part of a reading/phonics assessment.

Then after this she had to read parts of a book and retell the story and talk about it....

simpson Thu 29-Nov-12 21:50:37

Books - my kids school tell them that aliens have landed and want to communicate with them but that they won't be able to understand the words but just to use the phonics knowledge to sound the words out....

Feenie Thu 29-Nov-12 21:50:37

Not dismissing - I agreed with many aspects of the Cambridge review. But he hasn't taught any children to read either, afaik.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 21:51:27

Very possibly.

simpson Thu 29-Nov-12 21:51:44

* their* not the blush

Feenie Thu 29-Nov-12 21:52:15

They were presented as the names of imaginary monsters, Booksandacuppa smile

squeezedatbothends Thu 29-Nov-12 21:53:34

Feenie, are you kidding? What do you think he did when he was a primary teacher?

Feenie Thu 29-Nov-12 21:56:21

How many years ago was that? The Three Wise Men report was twenty years ago, fgs, when reading teaching was in the grip of sight word teaching.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 21:59:29

I think most people are hitting the target when they say that the nonsense words haven't yet been put into a context where they clearly are nonsensical and it makes sense that they make no sense.

An entirely alien explanation for them, along side some silly gestures would be great for my daughter.

BooksandaCuppa Thu 29-Nov-12 21:59:56

OK, Feenie, there seems to be some discrepancy between those who said they were alien words (like simpson's school) and those who said alien/monster names and I was just thinking that a child would be more likely to attempt to turn them into something they already knew if they were told 'names'.

FWIW, my ds's primary literacy coordinator was concerned about the 'good readers getting some wrong' but admitted her concern was unfounded.

Feenie Thu 29-Nov-12 22:00:38

That's already in place - it's made clear to the children that they are monster names and not real words. There is a picture of a monster next to every single one.

Feenie Thu 29-Nov-12 22:01:24

The instructions for administering the test were very clear, Booksandacuppa.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 22:05:52

Yes, but bear in mind that these are young children and they're trying to do as they've been told.

Playing an alien game "is doing what you've been told." So if you have to bang your nose and read plob, scob, tral, vek, ninb, latil

because that's how an alien speaks you will do that. If you're struggling to read well and you have to take time out to look at a picture of an alien then you might dismiss it in favour of the reading task, in just the same way as I ignore a ringing phone when I'm typing.

squeezedatbothends Thu 29-Nov-12 22:06:45

Well no, actually, phonics has come back into fashion, but it was widely taught in the 70s - so widely and fanatically in fact that people started teaching children to read incorrect words - nonsense in fact and everyone started to think they were mad and the system swung back too far the other way....is history repeating itself? The reality is that children need whole word and phonic teaching. They need to use cognates, syntax and etymology to read properly. Phonics phanatics need to bear in mind that there is a whole lot more to reading than word recognition.

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