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The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track children until they are able to decode. This us undertaken in all state schools in Year 1 and for children in year 2 who did not meet the year 1 standard. They are administered internally by teachers.

The phonics screening check is a short and simple assessment of phonic decoding. It consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half non-words, which Year 1 children read to a teacher. Administering the assessment usually takes between four and nine minutes per child.

Non-words (made up words) are included because they will be new to all children, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Children who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word. The non-words are presented alongside a picture of an imaginary creature, and children can be told the non-word is the name of that type of creature. This helps children to understand the non-word should not be matched to their existing vocabulary.

Examples of words include star, shelf.

Examples of non-words include dov, vead.

 

The threshold in 2012 was 32 words out of 40 (80%) and is likely to be similar in future years.

All children need to be able to identify sounds associated with different letters, and letter combinations, and then blend these sounds together to correctly say the word on the page. The same skill is needed whether the word is a real word or a non-word.

The words gradually get harder through the check as the combinations of letters become more complicated. As long as the child has said 32 out of the 40 words correctly, they will be considered to have met the standard.

Children should not realise that they are being formally assessed. The check should be seen as part of their everyday phonics activities and not as a test.

The international phonetic alphabet can be downloaded by clicking the pdf image below:

              

International phonetic alphabet



Sample Video

To help prepare for the phonics screening check, teachers can watch the training video below:


Past Phonics Tests

Year Practice Material Assessment Materials Answer Sheet Assessment & Reporting Arrangements Check Scoring Guidance
2016  
2015  
2014
2013
2012
2011        

Note: The copyright for all PDF documents and the MP3 audio material belongs to QCA/QCDA/DfE and can be reproduced, stored or translated for private study only.  They are not for sale.
 


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