Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:02 am

Dr. Jennifer Buckingham responds to vociferous critics of a Year One phonics screening check:

The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check


https://www.cis.org.au/commentary/artic ... ing-check/

It’s astonishing that much of what is written in opposition to the Phonics Screening Check is inaccurate, given that information about it is very easy to find.

The UK government publishes a collection of official statistics and makes available a useful amount of data on the results of the Phonics Screening Check each year. Technical reports and evaluations are also easy to find.

Sadly, the Check’s critics seem to not bother to research their subject, leading to the spread of misinformation and impoverishing public debate over its value.

There are a number of common criticisms of the Phonics Screening Check, all of which have been repeatedly refuted, but which are worth revisiting.


Jennifer Buckingham is a senior research fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies and director of the FIVEfromFIVE reading project. She is author of the report Focus on Phonics: Why Australia should adopt the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. Jennifer is also a member of IFERI's Advisory Group.
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Re: Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:49 pm

I'm adding this post from The NFER Blog which includes statistics on yearly outcomes for the phonics check in England to illustrate the very positive consequences of implementing a phonics check. The improved statistics represent a lot of children more effectively taught therefore many teachers teaching phonics more effectively - that's a really important outcome of the check:

https://thenferblog.org/2017/09/29/phon ... g-readers/

Phonics results – Now that’s good news for young readers

September 29, 2017

By Jane Nicholas

In the first year of the annual phonics screening check (PSC) in 2012, less than three-fifths of pupils achieved the expected standard. There was also a large variation in outcomes between different areas of the country. However, the latest PSC for primary pupils in England, published yesterday by the Department for Education (DfE), shows that many more pupils are now achieving the expected standard in 2017 and the wide variation previously seen has largely disappeared. This is good news, as the teaching of phonics is considered by the Department of Education to be the best practice to provide a secure foundation for the teaching of reading.
The percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in the PSC nationally has been steadily increasing, from 58 per cent in 2012 to 81 per cent in 2017 (Figure 1). In 2013, the PSC was extended to Year 2 pupils who did not achieve the expected standard in Year 1. By 2017, 92 per cent of pupils had reached the expected standard by the end of Year 2.
Figure 1: National phonics screening check outcomes have been rising year-on-year since its inception
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Re: Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 pm

Jennifer writes a great piece describing why the 'Phonics check is essential':

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=922&p=1735#p1735
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Re: Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:42 pm

The AUSPELD letter of support for the phonics check submitted to Ministers:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=944
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Re: Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:38 pm

In The Sydney Morning Herald, this piece describes the push back against implementation of a phonics check in Australia:

'Plood, pove, moul': teachers push back against year 1 phonics test

Pallavi Singhal


http://www.smh.com.au/national/plood-po ... 4z02l.html

About 150 primary school teachers sat in a lecture theatre at the University of Sydney on Saturday morning, struggling to read three words: plood, pove and moul.

Some thought plood should rhyme with blood, while others said it should rhyme with food.


But if the people who led the conference and the teachers' 'push back' had done their reading-up of England's phonics check, they would know that the nonsense words are very carefully selected to avoid the kind of ambiguity of pronunciation that is headlining this piece!

This is good to hear:

The test is modelled on the UK's phonics screening check, which asks children to read aloud 40 real and made-up words, and received the strong support of an expert panel that was asked to provide advice to the government on the development and implementation of the test.

The South Australian government, which trialled the check in about 50 primary schools last year, is now preparing to roll it out across the state, Mr Birmingham said.


And this is a crazy statement (below) - the phonics check is nothing like an exam - and surely the parents of the beginning readers WANT their children to be learning about the most complex alphabetic code in the world and how to use it to decode new words - that is, to be able to lift any words off the page - new or unknown!

Meanwhile, Queensland's then-education minister Kate Jones rejected the tests, saying that "no parent wants more exams for their children".
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Re: Dr. Jennifer Buckingham: The Facts about the Phonics Screening Check

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:49 pm

Following on from the piece in The Sydney Morning Herald above, Professor Pamela Snow reminded people about this official guidance for scoring the phonics check:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... 7502e_.pdf

Phonics screening check

2016 scoring guidance

Pronunciation of real words and pseudo-words


Some of the graphemes used in the check represent a number of di erent phonemes. When decoding a real word in the check, the pupil has to select the correct phoneme for the word, for example the ‘ow’ in ‘blow’ should not be pronounced as the ‘ow’ in ‘cow’. However, when decoding a pseudo-word, all plausible alternative pronunciations are acceptable.

The tables on the next page provide guidance to teachers scoring the check on acceptable pronunciations of the pseudo-words in the check.

Regional pronunciations

Some of the pseudo-words in the screening check contain vowel digraphs that end with ‘r’, such as ‘ur’. In a small number of regional dialects, the ‘r’ in words with these vowel digraphs is voiced and pupils who speak with these dialects will be known to their teachers. For these pupils, pseudo-words with a vowel digraph ending in ‘r’, such as ‘charb’ may be pronounced as /tʃɑːrb/ instead of /tʃɑːb/. These pronunciations are acceptable alternatives in the relevant pseudo-words.

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