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To not feel happy about 6 year old ds being 'tested' on fake words? Phonics.

(319 Posts)
OHforDUCKScake Thu 13-Jun-13 19:11:13

And is this something all year one pupils have to do?

So the children learn the phonics, 'oa' 'air' 'ng' and so on.

Now, the government, since last year, want to test them on it. If they get a certain amount wrong, they fail and have to do it again.

The thing is, the way they test them is to give them fake words to check they really do know their phonics. hmm

They will be given 20 real words and 20 fake workds and they have to get 34 out of 40 or their fail.

So, as long as they can read toast, fair, treat

As well as taim, roaf, rait

Then they will be ok.

I dont know where to start, honestly. First of all, testing them just so the government can see what the deal is, using them as guinea pigs it feels like. They are only 6!

Secondly, the weeks leading up to the test they have been teaching them fake non-words. hmm

A test? At 6? That they can fail?

I asked if we were obliged to do this? Teachers are, and parents are. I have no choice but to let my son have the bullshit test.

If AIBU then thats fine, but he is our first so we dont know the drill and he is already struggling in some areas so possibly a little more sensitive than usual to him being taught bullshit words and being tested on them.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 13-Jun-13 19:15:02

YANBU at all. It is bloody absurd testing kids on nonsensical words. DAFT!!

Don't worry about the pass /fail thing. IMO that's a load of crap,too. Bottom line is whether your DC is coping with learning to read or not (But I am not a primary school practitioner so I may be completely off the mark.)

headinhands Thu 13-Jun-13 19:15:51

Do they tell the kids their result. Ours didn't. The idea of fake words is to quickly ascertain if they can use their phonics to decipher new words as it will be a word they haven't seen before.

MerylStrop Thu 13-Jun-13 19:17:30

It's ridiculous
And ironically kids who are better at reading are more likely to fail it
It is a test of the skill of applying phonics to reading
But it is intended to test and police the teaching of phonics, and not about supporting your child.
So doubly bollocks

headinhands Thu 13-Jun-13 19:18:11

Having worked in ks1 during the tests it was a non-issue for the kids as far as I could see.

thebody Thu 13-Jun-13 19:18:27

Hi op , reception TA here, totally agree with you. We do it for 4 year olds and I don't see the point at all to he honest.

Daft and confusing.

OHforDUCKScake Thu 13-Jun-13 19:19:40

I know exactly why they do it headin. And its rubbish. Pointless.

Surely them going up in books and writing improving etc shows that the method is working?

If they cant decipher it, it will come in time. Why do this?

Its utterly needless.

FreyaSnow Thu 13-Jun-13 19:20:23

I think it is really sensible. Kids come across words they don't know all the time and have to decode them. If they have a problem with decoding, the earlier they find out the better. It isn't the only way literacy is tested.

We all have to decode fake words - wookie, Frodo, Judoon.

Smartiepants79 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:25:16

Testing them at all is a load of nonsense.
However if you consider that thousands of 'real' words are meaningless to a six year old it is perhaps not such a silly idea.
They should not be learning the fake words, just the sounds that enable them to read them.
The test is really to check that phonics is being taught.

ReallyTired Thu 13-Jun-13 19:27:54

I think the nonsense word test is a good idea. It is one test where its actually benefical to teach to the test as it improves a child's knowledge of phonics.

The nonsense words test is not a reading test as such. It is testing to see if a pupil has mastered a particular skill that helps with reading.

Sometimes children with an excellent memory don't ever learn to blend words. This may not be a problems at primary school, but could cause problems in the future at university. Often very bright people with dyslexia get diagnosed late because they had excellent strageries in primary school.

I hope they keep the nonsense words test for six year olds. It is important that any problems like dyslexia in a bright child is picked up as early as possible.

starkadder Thu 13-Jun-13 19:29:46

I agree that it is totally stupid. Phonics is a means to an end. Surely it doesn't matter how they learn to read as log as they do learn? Silly silly and worse than silly to teach fake words.

starkadder Thu 13-Jun-13 19:31:02

Although reallytired makes a good point; hadn't thought of that. But still....

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 13-Jun-13 19:33:03

I don't know how useful it is, but I wouldn't get worked up about it.

The children are probably not going to know how they do on the test, for them it's just an activity.

My DC do this at their school, they think it's funny! They have some whiteboard thing where real words go in a treasure chest and made-up words go into a bin. It's one of the things they come out and tell me about. It's really never caused a problem.

At worst, it's a waste of his time, but he's 6 and wasting a few hours isn't really going to ruin his life. Chillax!

Awizardsstaffhasaknobontheend Thu 13-Jun-13 19:36:49

Oh and any year 2`s who failed it last year (a fail was under 32 out of 40), has to retake it again. This year they aren't telling us the pass Mark as apparently there were a lot with a score of 32 last year.

Altinkum Thu 13-Jun-13 19:37:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bobyan Thu 13-Jun-13 19:39:08

I couldn't care less.
My august born son has a reading age of 7. He's probably going to fail this test, but as no one has told him he's being tested, it's a non-event in his eyes. He's just going to be reading a list to his teacher.

Certainly nothing to get annoyed about!

SorryMyLollipop Thu 13-Jun-13 19:39:51

I think it's ridiculous! One of the vital reading skills is "self-correcting". So a child reads a word wrongly, recognises their error, and corrects it.

Part of this is the ability to recognise that some "words" don't sound right because they don't exist. This means that the pronunciation they have tried is wrong and they then try an alternative one to see if that results in a recognisable word.

This test undermines the pupils' ability to filter out incorrect pronunciation.

Also, bright children recognise that the fake words are wrong and feel silly saying them.

BlueberryHill Thu 13-Jun-13 19:40:52

I don't see the problem, my understanding of the way DS's school does it, they don't specifically teach to the test, just have normal phonics sessions. It also isn't made a deal of in class so the children aren't phased by it. If a child 'fails' it means that they need extra help with phonics at this stage. Isn't it a good thing to know it at this stage so they get some help now?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:00

I can see why parents think it's pointless, but I don't see a problem with it.

It ensures that children can decipher words they have never seen before. I don't think it matters if they are fake words, because learning words isn't the objective of this. At some point children will come across real words they don't know, and they will need to be able to apply their phonic knowledge to work out what it says.

BackforGood Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:30

It does disadvantage the dc who are better readers, and are aware that it ought to make a word when they read something - only way around it is to make it really clear to those better readers that it is a daft test and let them know that there are loads of words in there that aren't words, but you just want to know what the sounds would say, written in that order.

goldenlula Thu 13-Jun-13 19:44:21

Lots of very good readers 'failed' this test last year as they cold not cope with the nonsense words so tried hard to change them to normal, proper words, therefore failing the test.

YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Thu 13-Jun-13 19:46:42

Phonics is my pet hate. So utterly ridiculous. Thank God it is not taught here at all (not in UK).

AlwaysDancing1234 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:47:26

I can see why you may feel anxious about this but in my experience in a Year 1 class the children don't realise they are being tested. They play a game where the made up word is shown next to an illustration of an 'alien' then they have to read what the aliens name is. Such as zog, flup, phoonoo etc. My son thinks its great fun!

littleducks Thu 13-Jun-13 19:49:15

I actually think it is a very good test, although I suppose somewhat depends on the presentation of the school. DD took it last year had no idea it was a test or her result (I got it on her school report).

YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Thu 13-Jun-13 19:51:30

Why muddy the waters by presenting a child with a load of made-up words? It is just silly.

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