Bit disappointed about the phonics test(109 Posts)
Have read with DD religiously just about every day, and we've spent plenty of time at home going over phonics. She came home today and told me she struggled with a lot of the words, and the teacher had a list of the ones she got wrong. So, it sounds as if in spite of her best efforts, DD didn't pass the check.
We read every night. We sound out words. She likes books and stories. She knows her sounds really well, but gets muddled when putting them back into words. We've worked together on this, but it just hasn't clicked yet. In class, she reads purple books and her teacher hasn't mentioned any concerns.
I feel disappointed that after all DD's (and mine!) work, it just hasn't clicked yet. What more can I do? Will it just sort itself out? Does it really matter?
No it doesn't matter. Forget about it. You are doing the best you can for dd by reading with her. It will click. The most important thing - for the rest of her LIFE not just this year at school, is that she enjoys reading and associates books with pleasurable things. Not stress.
Have you told her she did her best and you're proud of her? Just forget about this 'test' and read a book she enjoys with her.
The "test" is actually a screening. It highlights which pupils still need help in the specific skill of decoding. I hope your school has a good plan for what they will do with those who need a bit more support.
^ She came home today and told me she struggled with a lot of the words, and the teacher had a list of the ones she got wrong^ The teacher is not meant to tell the child what they got right or wrong ...what on earth are they playing at!
and sorry but I disagree with Northerlurker the point of the screening check is to identify those children who will need extra support next year and unfortunately for about a 5th of children it doesn't ever click!
pressed "post too soon"
... Find out what that is, ways in which you can reinforce whatever they do in your activities at home.
Love of books is separate from the specific skill of rapid and accurate decoding. Try not to blur the two for her. And keep reading together.
Jesus Christ, the poor child.
I'd be disappointed if my children came away from a screening check with a sense of failure. It should just have been another activity (for the child). If she hasn't passed i'd ask for a list of sounds she needs to work on and do extra practice on these. She should also get further support in school.
I think what northern was trying to say was it's not a predictor of future life success- just something to work on.
Thanks babies - yes by 'click' I meant that a child with a suppprtive parent and an interest in books is not going to be a child who fails develop her literacy. I think that this 'check' is putting a lot of pressure on parents who actually don't need to know to be put under pressure by it.
I think that this is a conversation you should be having with your DDs teacher. Only she knows exactly how your DD did, the areas she found difficult and what additional support that you and the school might be able to give her if necessary.
Reassure your DD that you are proud she did her best and book an informal chat with her teacher.
I wish that were true Northernlurker
The yr2 kids that I read with today did their phonics test and they did not even know it was a test.
They all came out quite happy, their only worry was that the "test" was being done in the sanction room so they had to check they weren't being sent there because they were in trouble first
mrz - are you trying to freak the OP out now?
No Northernlurker are you trying to perpetuate myths?
She'll have a different teacher next year. Maybe the whole thing will sort itself out.
The point of the screening check it to identify children who might need extra support so that it is "sorted out" rather than leaving it to chance
It's a myth that having engaged and proactive parents who have fostered a love of reading and been supportive of a child's education is a less effective predictor of outcomes than a single episode of decoding sounds aged 6? Yup i'm all about that myth.
I don't underestimate the importance of phonics but I do think the importance of this incident is being massively over-rated.
Things don't sort themselves out but teachers and parents knowing what needs to be worked on have a good chance of sorting it out
Maybe the next year's teacher can tell the difference between a child who can decode and one who can't.
^It's a myth that having engaged and proactive parents who have fostered a love of reading" will guarantee that a child will not struggle with literacy Northernlurker ...I can see you believe
The sun will rise. The results of this test do not go on your child's CV.
Your daughter is not damned by this test. There are lots of facets to learning to read and it is possible to be weak at phonics and have good comprehension. (Like many very bright dyslexic people.)
This test is to ensure that children who are weak in one small area of literacy get the support they need to reach their potential.
Next year's teacher won't have to learnandsay the screening check has identified those children who must be given support (by law)
Only 5 kids passed the yr1 phonics check last year
All of yr2 (bar these 5 kids) took it again today obviously I don't know how they did but they seemed happy, not stressed etc (kids not teachers!)
A friend whose DC is one of the ones who has re-taken it this year says she was told which sounds he struggled with (majority were split vowel sounds I think) which the DC has been working on all year (and not to the test iyswim).
The OPs daughter should not have known she was doing a "test" (especially since it isn't a test) she shouldn't have know if she got the words right or wrong and the teacher should not have sent home useless lists.
Ds1 always struggled with phonics- he had speech and lang difficulties as a pre -schooler- and struggled with phonics. However, he has a v good memory so this hid a lot of his difficulties until it was too late. he is 8 now and , though he reads well still struggles when faced with an unknown word and his spelling is dire.
Had his poor phonological awareness been picked up earlier, things may be better, so I think the poor phonics check your dd has, may actually help!!
( Of course she may have scored full marks and just be a worrier!)
Have you got shares in Jolly Phonics now mrz?
The op is stressed. Most likely completely without need and you are intent on predicting mis-spelled doom. Or dom.
You do realise that the world is full ofrather a lot of people who managed to learn to read and write without phonics don't you? Or is that a myth as well?
Our children's literacy should be everybody's concern but phonics are not a magic bullet nor should undue emphasis be placed on this.
Thanks for your comments everyone. I should stress that DD has not been told the outcome, but told me she found it tricky, and told me some of the words she had problems with. She isn't worried, and I know she tried her best, and you can't ask for more. I just feel a bit sad that we did everything the school asked, and yet I can tell she just can't put words together easily. We love sharing books, but it hasn't been enough to make her a good decoder of strange words. Bizarrely, she can read pretty well, so I guess she must memorise, or infer from context. She is on ORT 9.
I will ask her teacher for advice at parents evening next week.
Hmmm - I'm not overly happy DS1 came home referring to his "test" (we have only mentioned a check at home) and he also knows he got one wrong (his friend is called Clem, and I believe one of the alien words is similar to that - and he knows now what he "should" have said.
I am not exactly happy about things anyway, but how I'd quite raise this as a concern, I'm not sure....
You need 32 out of 40 to "pass".
The children I did it with were thanked for working with me and given a sticker...no stress whatsoever.
"You do realise that the world is full ofrather a lot of people who managed to learn to read and write without phonics don't you? Or is that a myth as well?"
Not a myth - there are a huge number of literate Chiese people who learn all their characters by
learn and say rote, plus all the others others with non-alphabetic languages.
But aside from brief 20th fad for other methods, it's been phonics for centuries for English and other alphabetic languages.
No Northernlurker I don't know anyone who can read and write without phonics even though some kid themselves they don't use phonics
Posted this elsewhere...but some feedback from today.
First class at my school did this year's screening today.
Very positive results so far. 84% pass rate from today's class which included a number of children with learning delays/difficulties.
Every child who is a good reader have passed.
None today struggled with the idea of real words and non real words.
Those who struggled and have not yet achieved the required level were not a surprise to the teacher.
Hope that helps anyone who is worrying.
BTW the children were not told it was a test - well it isn't, its a screening check. They are used to having some 1:1 with their teacher for various activities anyway so that is not unusual to them. They got stickers and they were thanked, as they are generally in 1:1 situations. No upsets, etc. No child was given a mark either, nor told which were right or wrong. Teacher comments were obscured from view
Campaspe - it is perfectly possible to get to level 9 without being able to decode effectively. My daughter got to 8 but we have done a lot of work on tackling new words, where to break them down into sections etc and she seems to be doing well with it now. (we did discover Irlen syndrome too and with her new glasses it is all much better for her) I am pleased we have managed to find a way to help her with her tackling new words. I would have a chat with her teacher though if you are aware that although she is reading well she is struggling with decoding as the sooner you can tackle it the better. She MAY be compensating for mild dyslexia.
But you know lots of people who weren't taught in this way and with this check and can still read and write. Lord knows how eh?
How I wish this check was around when ds was in primary, then the school may have realise he was dyslexic & may have tried to help him with his difficulties rather than ignore them.
Northernlurker I read all of the time & always read to my son, unfortunately it's not enough to overcome the difficulties he has with reading.
I did the screening with 6 year 2 children today who "failed" last year. 5 of them passed without any difficulty, and the 6th one has recognised speech & language difficulties for which she has been receiving support both inside and outside school.
The year 1 children performed exactly as I had predicted - as a teacher I know where the children are and what they can do. So 2 of them who "failed" are young for the year group and reading has only clicked for them recently. So although they've had the same daily, well planned, well structured phonics lessons as the others, they didn't quite make the threshold as it took them a bit longer to get going than the rest of the class. So there were some grapheme-phoneme correspondences on the test that they just haven't learnt yet. They'll get it next year.
So don't worry about your daughter OP - children progress at different speeds. We have a boy in year 5 working at least 2 years ahead of himself who spent the first 3 years in school on the special needs register. He's predicted level 6s.
Most people can work out phonics themselves Northernlurker, without knowing it. Some children need it taught explicitly though. Not all adults can now read and write.
OP, I would try to see this positively. Some children can appear to be good readers because they are good at memorising words. Now the teacher will know exactly where your child is with phonics and decoding and she will get targetted support. That's a good outcome, isn't it?
Waiving laws in people's faces isn't going to make them better teachers.
Any more than outlawing talking on a mobile and driving has wiped that practice out either.
Everyone who reads and writes English uses phonics IMPLICITLY (try finding an unknown word and then reading it out loud - you sound it out, in chunks that either correspond to words that you know already or 'bit of words' [sounds] that you know already].
We were not taught phonics EXPLICITLY, because most of us who are currently parents were taught to read via the briefly-fashionable look and say method. However, in order to be able to read unknown words, we worked out the 'phonic code' for ourselves.
Children now are taught the phonic code EXPLICITLY - which when well done is a MUCH more efficient and successful method of learning to read than the 'do something else that looks like it might work and let children work out the code for themselves' that preceded it. However, it IS, currently, often undermined by poor teaching and the use of non-phonic scheme books (so children are taught to use a hammer to drive in nails .... then given a screwdriver to practise with).
And Northern, you have to remember that you are a lucky one. 1 in 5 children did NOT learn to read and write well using the methods that were used to teach you. Well-taught phonics fails significantly fewer - so why this insistence on 'I'm all right, Jack, so nothing needs to change, even if the new method would radically improve the outcome for someone else'?
I have worked in an adult/YO prison. The level of literacy in many adults in prisons is rock bottom. Many did not learn to read at school beyond the most basic of levels. For many of these people, based on their ages, it would have been in the 70s/80s fab for look and say. In prison ed they are taught phonics for reading and writing - well, they were being when I was there about 5-6 years ago.
I don't think I'm espousing an 'I'm alright Jack' attitude. My children have all been explicitly taught phonics. On this thread though you have a parent who feels that she and her child have failed today and that's just not the case nor is it helpful at all for her to feel that all her efforts have availed them nothing. That is my objection.
(The phonics screening seems to me to be a useful measure, at least in the short term, to flush out those schools that aren't following best practice in phonics teaching, and thus failing up to 1 in 5 of their children who they OUGHT to be teaching to read. The schools I know of have had two types of outcome - either almost everyone passing, except for a very few with particular needs or difficulties, or a surprising number of failures, followed by an overdue overhaul of the teaching of reading!
The school administered the check APPALLINGLY in the OP's case. It is NOT how it should be done. That does not undermine the test
To be honest, the only person who failed today was the person who gave a little girl the impression she had done something badly and got things wrong despite probably trying her hardest. DD also did her test today. She has no idea it was a test, no idea whether or not she got anything wrong and no idea that you can pass or fail. She cheerfully told me that her favourite alien was, I think, voiks (sp?!) and drew him for me. And she got a jelly bean afterwards (as did every child who did the test) so by her standards she's had an unusually great day with an unusually interesting reward.
OP, I am sorry that you are feeling disappointed. My approach to the phonics test (as a mother of an supposedly able reader in Y1) was that it was an important indicator that she really could decode unknown words (which as her reading books have got much harder, I.e. at white/emerald level now, is increasingly important as she is regularly encountering new vocabulary). And if she couldn't, support would be put in place, which I saw as a good thing. She had the phonics check today. Her school had let us know last week it would be happening but had stressed the importance of not putting pressure on the children or making them think about pass/fail. No specific practice suggested. My DD has told me that she had special one to one time with her teacher today, reading a mixture of real and made-up words and that she got a sticker for her effort. That's it, she's happy, no concerns about getting any wrong. I'm happy that if there is an issue, it will have been identified in the test and can be worked on.
The only reason I know DD did her test today is because of reading MN! The school hasn't even mentioned it (which is as it should be IMO).
My year 2 retook the phonics test today, teacher said to tell me that she had done very well
Yes i was disappointed that last year my DD only got half right, BUT, she is a wonderful reader now, the extra help she needed has been brilliant for her
My DD has hers this week, and she struggled with last years practice test, however I am not bothered she is on purple like your DD and one of the better readers in the class.
What an excellent summing up of the situation Teacherwith2kids.
teacher has indeed hit the nail on the head with a screw driver.
My appalling dyslexic spelling is not helped at all by being a victim of look and say. My DSIS (elderly teacher who refused to embrace look and say) and DD2 who learnt phonics this time around, read and spell far more accurately.
DD1 is a bright dyslexic with incredible comprehension skills, she didn't learn to read until Y6 and then got L5 on the reading test. To this day I think she recognizes the words going into her brain. They just come out wrong if you ask her to read out loud.
I hope she would have failed the phonics test spectacularly, but she's did know her phonics as an academic exercise, even if she still totally fails to apply them at 15. Give odd single words and nonsense words, who knows.
DD is Year 1 and has her phonics check this week. I have no idea if she has done it yet; she never mentioned anything yesterday and I don't expect her to mention anything today. The teacher said when they administer the check it is all done very low-key; the children are just sitting one-on-one with the teacher reading a few words - nothing more, nothing less.
To be honest, I'd be furious if DD came home believing she had 'failed a test'. It's not a test - it's a check to assess how secure a child's phonics knowledge. OP, from what you have posted, the teacher (and school) have dealt with it appallingly; no child should be led to believe he/she has failed a test at such a young age
Hello again everyone. Don't want to resurrect a dying thread, but I did appreciate all the comments, and on the back of advice from people here, I made an appointment to discuss the situation with my DD's teacher. I outlined my concerns, the way I wanted DD to be better at decoding, DD feeling she might not have done well etc etc and sat back waiting for her input. She then completely surprised me by telling me that although she couldn't give me the official results, as I was so worried, she would talk to me in confidence, off the record. It turns out that DD passed the test easily and has no problems whatsoever with her reading. DD had completely got the wrong end of the stick, and got a bit panicky (teacher confirmed she is a perfectionist who does get upset if she thinks she might have made a mistake). The teacher also explained that DD reads quickly and almost doesn't need to decode, so this can make her read a little too quickly at times, but she corrects herself with no problems.
So, what a lot of worry for nothing. And the lesson I've learned is - in the nicest possible way - treat everything my DD says about school with a bit of caution. Thanks to everyone who commented, I was very worried on Monday that I'd missed a problem and your support was much appreciated.
great news - just shows what complicated little worlds our children live in really doesn't it.
That's great. Well done to your daughter.
Bit naughty of the teacher to say anything though...
Hurrah for your DD, her teacher and you for getting it sorted!
Aren't the parents supposed to get the results anyway at some point?
I asked DD2 if she had done any alien words with her teacher yesterday. She said 'yes, with a piece of paper book. They use a dot if you get it wrong and a tick if you get it right...'
Very funny, lougle. So much for all the secrecy.
To be fair, she wouldn't have been told that. She just has such a focus on the detail of something and completely misses the wider point. It's so typical of her to notice the recording and gloss over that she was being tested.
LandS - the results usually come out with the school reports.
Why are people saying the school handled it badly? I've just read the OP and it doesn't say "my child thinks she's failed a test". Children do know when they are struggling with reading unknown words, so of course she will say she couldn't read some words on the list the teacher had her read. The "fail" part is just the assumption the OP is making.
Yes, but from now on we're looking in hindsight.
Not sure what you mean Learnandsay? I was only looking at the first post and felt other posters had concerns that the school had mishandled the test. I couldn't see any of that in the opening post, just a child who had made a statement to her mum, who then assumed she'd failed.
Parents will be informed of the results learnandsay, I can't however imagine any responsible parent telling their child they failed ...
MaybeBentley the child shouldn't have been aware she was doing a "test" which strictly speaking she wasn't ... that is how the school handled it badly.
I don't think schools are looking in hindsight. dd2 has been telling me for weeks that she has been doing extra phonics in the afternoon instead of < insert short afternoon activity>.
I can only presume that the school proactively identified gaps in her phonic knowledge and gave extra sessions ahead of the test to plug the gaps.
I think lots of schools panicked and used practice tests because they were worried their phonics teaching wasn't good enough.
We used sample checks with pupils to see the format and have a go, just part of our normal general assessments of children. I see no issue with this. Only done a couple each year at most at key points. Nothing to do with being worried about our phonics teaching either. Nothing sent home.
I didn't do any practice checks prior to the screening ... we do our own assessment but they are much more rigorous than the national check
Don't worry about it.
(year 1 teacher here)
They'll be re-tested same time next year, which they all tend to pass then. Children never know, and they don't tend to be treated any differently than the teacher already does.
Of my class of 19, 4 failed. 3 of them got high 20s, so quite close. Only one did particularly poorly getting 15/32. But he's already flagged as having quite profound special needs.
Interestingly there is a teacher on TES saying only a few of their Y2 children who were retested passed
We did our Y2s today.
No surprises. The children we expected to pass did so. The borderline children also passed.
Those who did not achieve today were not surprises. This is not because of lack of intervention and also additional phonics in addition to their normal daily class phonics. . The children involved all have varying learning difficulties. They did, however, achieve much much higher this year so progress is definitely there - for example achieving 2/40 last year and now 17/40 this time, some higher.
Our child with high level SEN scored 0 last year and 22 this year so we are very proud of him.
Well done that child
It's lovely to see them make progress.
Because of the nature of our school we have several children with varying learning difficulties, SEN, EAL, etc - many involved with external agencies and some with statements. And yes - on paper they might not reach the expected levels for all manner of things based on their age, but my goodness they are working their socks off and trying so hard. It is lovely to see their progress when it is written down in front of you.
My Y2 statemented child who read the words as variations of 'poo' and 'wee' last year , walked out with 14 words perfectly read, and all attempted properly.
Only 16 of my 30 'passed' (since it's not a test, I figure they can't pass or fail it!). However, one of the Y2s who had to be retested went from 14 last year to only 9 correct this year...no wonder she's on my list for statutory assessment!
Why does your school get such poor results?
Last year less 58% of all children 'passed' the screening test so 16/30 isn't so low - although the pass rate is expected to be higher this year now that teachers know what's expected and some schools have been prepping pupils for it.
Isn't postmanpat talking about a whole class of SEN children?
The phonics test does not matter a jot or smidgen. It's one of those insanities that some educationalists come up from time to time (like i.t.a. back in the 1970s).
This one is incredibly stupid, because a hight percentage of the words in it are not real words. It should never have been introduced at all.
During the trialling stage many fluent reader got many of the nonsense words wrong, because they were not clearly instructed not to try and make sense of all the words (as they normally would).
Reading is about deriving meaning from words and texts. Having to suspend this for a test is just plain stupid.
If all English letters/graphemes had just one sound, it might be more justifiable, but with many letters having variable sounds (fat - father, kindle - kind, go - do, cool - wool, cut - put ....) it is a complete waste of time.
No parent whose child enjoys reading and is clearly making progress should give a fig for this very stupid test.
One of those insanities like changing the English spelling system, Masha?
It's a screening for decoding competence, not a reading test.
Nonsense words are required to ensure that it is decoding that is being used.
If maladministration is widespread, that is indeed a cause for concern. But the problem with the assessor, not with the test.
Nope, not a whole class of SEN - I have 30 children, one of whom has a statement and she scored above the threshold. However, 29 of my 30 have a background other than White British and of those 25 speak at least one other language. Some joined Reception with no English at all.
tiggytape, surely all schools are prepping their children for it? What are the ones that don't teach decoding doing?
My children don't have a white British background and it doesn't seem to be a problem as far as reading is concerned, nor does speaking another language. But, if it is a problem I suppose the screening check has just pointed it out, which is what supporters would say it's supposed to do. I'd be inclined to wonder if it suggested more about the children's parents than the children themselves.
Nonsense words are required to ensure that it is decoding that is being used.
That's not strictly true, obscure real words could be used instead.
You'd have to use very obscure but short and fairly easily decodable words though - quite difficult to come up with 20 different appropriate ones every year I'd have though?
Not for a screening test. For no matter how obscure the word, you may find pupils who have encountered it before.
But obscure words are likely to be novel for most, so there is a virtuous circle of introducing lots of them to practice novel decoding and to enrich vocabulary. And given that this is for 5/6 year olds, the words needn't be that obscure to widen vocabulary and reinforce skills.
My dictionary is 1200 pages long and I don't see any shortage of short and obscure words in it. But of course the argument could centre around how obscure is obscure.
and that's just the top of page 3
It would be a strange child who was familiar with all of them!
It would indeed be a strange child. But generally it's better to run screenings to the highest standards, and that includes removing potential confounders wherever possible.
Abib might as well be Obib though. Not sure why abib is better?
They're just (more or less) in the order I came across them in the dictionary.
OK, but if you need to find such obscure words that there is no chance a 6 year old will have come across it, so a word that doesn't appear in children's fiction or non-fiction books, a word that isn't on any signs, isn't used in conversation, doesn't appear in magazines or newspapers - then what is the point?
Alien names seems much more meaningful and relevant to a young child than incredibly obscure "real" words - they are much more likely to come across alien names/words in books.
OP she might have done well- the way its recorded is a tick for every word but there is a correct column and a not correct column! Perhaps she just thought every time the teacher made a mark it was wrong? Teachers shouldn't be commenting on how many they got right or otherwise. Please don't stress
really should have read whole thread! Glad she did well
I really disagree with this test. I call it a test as that is how it was described to dd and her class. She was very stressed leading up to it as they were told you need to pass it to get into year 2. She was off ill a couple of days and was in a flap that she had missed it. When she did the test she was told she scored 39. She came out of school in terms that day thinking that because she had missed one poxy mark that she would not be going up with her friends.
I had to get the teacher to explain that she had passed. Personally I think this is too much too young!
< gets off soapbox >
Wow, I would complain about that teacher! What is she playing at?
I think it's awful that they described it as a test. As far as DD and her friends were concerned, they were just doing some 1 to 1 work with a teacher which happens often anyway. And then they got a jelly bean. Some of these children are not yet 6 - they don't need to know they are being tested.
She was very stressed leading up to it as they were told you need to pass it to get into year 2.
fairyjen that sounds awful. But surely it isn't the test which is at fault, it is the teacher who chose to describe it in these ridiculous and stressful terms to your DD? I think we have to separate concerns about the test itself from how it was delivered by certain schools.
and of course all those words are 2 syllable words learnandsay so too dificult for the check apparently.
FairyJen you can't blame the screening check for the stupidity of your child's teacher/school.
I am very happy to say that dd2 didn't even know she'd taken the test. They certainly didn't use the word 'test', they just "went into Mrs X's little room and read some silly made up words" and dd really enjoyed herself.
If it had been remotely like Fairy's dd's experience, I would be furious too. As it is, I'm relieved and pleased that the school kept it as it should be - utterly low-key.
Oh - and the parents weren't aware it was happening either. It was just part of their day.
Join the discussion
Please login first.