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Synthetic phonics, KS2 SATs and all that...

(15 Posts)
JanH Tue 05-Apr-05 09:18:56

Very interesting piece in Education Guardian today.

Stephen Twigg claims:

<<What Twigg appears to be drawing attention to is a much less publicised finding from the Scottish study. Although the Clackmannanshire children were three-and- a-half years ahead on word recognition at 11, they were only three months ahead on comprehension. Or to put it more crudely, the Scottish children could read a lot more complex words than the English children but they couldn't understand them. English children could read less but understand broadly as much.>>

Ruth Miskin (a former headteacher who has developed her own synthetic phonics scheme) says : "Sats results don't differentiate between word recognition and comprehension. Unless Stephen Twigg has some secret statistics, I don't know how he knows that they are broadly similar on comprehension."

Any Y6 teachers (ie popsy!) or others know any more about the comprehension claim?

singersgirl Tue 05-Apr-05 10:55:06

Not a teacher, but just been to DS1's parents' evening - he's in Y2, so end of KS1, not KS2. They were giving out current scores on SATS tests and predicted scores for May. My son's teacher gave a total reading and comprehension age for his SATS 'booklet'; she didn't split it into decoding and comprehending. Since he's 6y6m and the age he got was 9y11m I didn't question whether it could be split - didn't bother me much! She did give a separate spelling 'age'.
Of course there are decoding tests (eg Schonell reading test) that will give a pure decoding age, so perhaps these were administered as well. Would be interested to hear from teachers, too. Still think DS1 could have benefited from synthetic phonics.

JanH Tue 05-Apr-05 11:05:58

So there is a "reading and comprehension" score? Hm. That would be what Twiggy was referring to then, presumably - not just the reading/spelling age tests. (Actually DS2 did KS2 SATs last year, it didn't occur to me to go and dig his out - well I probably can't find them but will have a look later!)

Thanks, sg!

happymerryberries Tue 05-Apr-05 11:13:22

I think that the synthetic phonics are supposed to be much better for boys and help to close the reading 'gap' between boys and girls (happy to be corrected as I'm secondary not primary). While the 'gap' may not be an issue of itself, anything that stops boys being switched off reading and learning has to be a good things. Far too many boys arrive at secondary with the perception that education isn't 'cool'

LIZS Tue 05-Apr-05 11:27:45

omg there is *spelling * age ?! Just how do they test that !!

alux Tue 05-Apr-05 11:43:34

I teach secondary but learnt using the synthetic method as a child (abroad). I cannot understand how the analytic method can be more efficient than the synthetic method. I was taught words that I was likely to encounter which set me in good stead to teach myself how to say AND SPELL new words very efficiently way long after I left yr 2 or 3.

I found that I can even now learn to say and spell better in foreign languages(2) by using this method which I learnt so long ago.

Apologies if you think that I have just shown off my ignorance here but would like to hear other people's positive experience with the analytic method.

As for the reading age being higher than the comprehension age, well, only by exposing children to a wider vocabulary than the currently know will their vocabulary grow.

That is why it is better to talk to your child rather than plopping them in front of the telly.

LIZS Tue 05-Apr-05 11:50:18

Can someone please define Synthetic and Analytic Phonics for me ? I'm trying to work out which ds is being "taught" (in a very loose sense of the word). Does it relate to inventive/creative spelling ?

alux Tue 05-Apr-05 12:11:58

according to the Guardian article below, and someone correct me if I am wrong as only 4 yrs ago I found out that the analytical system existed, the synthetic is where you learn for eg the most common sound of B, A, and T, so say MAT you only need to learn M, or R for RAT.

The next level is to learn to say BATE, MATE, RATE, etc. do get the idea that the 'silent' E typically lenghtens the sound of the A.

Later the next level I suppose is to learn consonant dipthongs and then vowel dipthongs.

JanH Tue 05-Apr-05 12:17:33

I'm not clear either, Liz, but this website (Scottish!) has examples of both kinds.

alux Tue 05-Apr-05 12:28:50

So I got them mixed up totally! So I learnt the analytic way. I thought that made more sense from the definition of 'analyse' but the Guardian's description had me thinking it was the other way round!

Sorry for showing off my ignorance and thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

JanH Tue 05-Apr-05 14:48:17

I wasn't sure either, alux - and I still don't understand which are the "blended" sounds that they have to learn 44/46 (?) of in 2 weeks .

My kids have all learned to read with a combination of analytic phonics (always just called phonics IME) and word recognition - actually there was a thread about this recently, because I was saying I didn't see how you use anything other than look and say for words like "the" and "one", and somebody said synthetic phonics does cover those - hang on, will see if I can find it.

JanH Tue 05-Apr-05 14:55:13

Found it! - catflap explains it all very clearly in great detail.

singersgirl Tue 05-Apr-05 19:25:46

Yes, goodness knows how they measure spelling age, and what use it is! DS1's spelling age had apparently gone down by 9 months since September, so I don't set too much store by it (nor by the reading age, tbh!) - I guess, as with the comprehension, you only need to get one more right for your assessed 'age' to go up by 6 months or so. Or I could just assume he's been going backwards in the last 6 months......
I've read the synthetic phonics posts with great interest; I am busy encouraging DS2 (starting school next Sep) to hear the sounds 'all through the word'. I also read in some of the info on the subject that with synthetic phonics not only is there no gap between boys and girls, but there is also no 'summer birthday' difference - of great interest to me, as I have two inconveniently August-born boys......

alux Tue 05-Apr-05 21:22:07

JanH: blended sounds would be like 'th', 'sh', ea, ie, etc. I suppose.

The 44 sounds are all the sounds that exist in English words. there are for example at least 3 ways of sounding the vowel 'a'.

I only think I know this from a voice and diction course I took at uni.

LIZS Thu 07-Apr-05 13:07:48

Interesting report here today relating to this . Is this now suggesting that the National Literacy Strategy hasn't lived up to expectations ? Presumably the kids who were recently tested at 11 were among the first to go through it all the way from Reception.

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