The phonics screening check at the end of Year 1 is arguably the most important assessment in primary education. The ability to master the decoding of the English alphabetic code is fundamental to the development of reading automaticity and ultimately reading fluency and the phonics screening check assesses this mastery (NB phonics deniers and 'whole word' guessers please go away and read the research).
Well hold on a minute. Does it really assess mastery? Is 32 out of 40 (the threshold) mastery, and what does 40 out of 40 indicate? What happens to children who 'pass' the check? No more phonics? It would seem to be the case.
But a child with a good understanding of the initial code can score 32/40. So when do they learn the extended code or move onto decoding at the polysyllabic level? Ever?
Does anyone know?
In a recent research study, every child in years 3,4 and 5 across 7 schools was screened using the Bryant phonic awareness test. And how many had mastered decoding?
So 70% of the 8,9 and 10 year-olds had not mastered decoding. That's 70% of children who will never learn to read properly. Now extrapolate that across the country.
That's a catastrophe.
So when the Headteachers' union, the NAHT, crow about scuppering a year 3 phonics screening check they should be ashamed of themselves.
But hey, their children can probably read.