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Aus: For teachers in Australia - how to access the Australian Phonics Check - teachers increasingly opting to use it!

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:42 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Access to the Australian Phonics Check is available here with a qualifying email address:

Re: Aus: For teachers in Australia - how to access the Australian Phonics Check

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:20 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
This is a great piece of news for Australia as increasing numbers of teachers opt to get on board with the phonics check:

Schools get on board for phonics check

Rebecca Urban, The Australian 8.11.2020

More than 1000 schools have voluntarily signed up to access a new federal government-sponsored phonics screening check for Year 1 students, as pressure mounts on resistant states and territories to embrace the initiative.

Almost one-in-four primary schools in Victoria — 153 government schools, 69 Catholic schools and 37 from the independent sector — have registered, according to Education Department data.

Interest has also been strong in Western Australia, where 194 schools have signed up — almost 30 per cent of the state’s primary schools — and in Queensland, with 204 schools, including 120 public schools, registering to test students.

The rapid uptake comes ­despite vehement opposition from teacher unions and some professional ­associations, which have claimed that the check would undermine teachers’ own judgment and lead to “high-stakes” testing.

Launched in August, the free and voluntary online phonics check has been designed to help teachers assess students’ phonics knowledge, which is considered a critical skill for reading.

It was developed by the Morrison government at a cost of $10m after successive failed attempts to convince the states and territories to introduce system-wide screening in a bid to addressing substantial gaps in literacy achievement.

Only South Australia has so far rolled it out across all government schools, with the state crediting the initiative for improving children’s reading ability. Since checks were introduced in 2018, the proportion of Year 1 students to achieve the required benchmark has jumped from 43 per cent to 63 per cent.

NSW and Tasmania are trialling the checks in some schools

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said early usage data from the government’s phonics check website was “encouraging”.

So far, 13,211 individual users had accessed the site, he said.

Brandon Park Primary School, in Melbourne’s east, has introduced the check of its own volition following a recent decision to overhaul its approach to teaching reading.

Principal Sheryl Chard said the school had previously employed a balanced-literacy approach, which, although teaching some phonics, was heavily dependant on children memorising lists of whole words and using guessing strategies when coming across unfamiliar words.

“What happened though was that our reading, spelling and writing data plateaued and we could not move it to a higher level,” Mrs Chard said. “We soon realised that there was virtually non-existent research for what we had thought was exemplary practice.

“We were hooked and set about changing our practice, starting with the introduction of systematic, synthetic phonics.”

The benefits have been obvious, she said. “We ran the PSC last year and 78 per cent of our Year 1 children were successful,” she said. “It was very telling.”

MultiLit strategy director and literacy advocate Jennifer Buckingham, who consulted South Australia in the lead-up to its trial of the screening check, said the strong uptake was a sign that teachers “increasingly understand how important it is for ­beginning readers to be able to use phonics to read words”.

“Teachers want to know whether their students are making adequate progress on this aspect of their literacy development,” Dr Buckingham said.