Teachers threaten boycott over made up words as more than 40% fail new phonics reading tests

More than four out of 10 children failed the Government’s first-ever national reading test for five- and six-year-olds. When the results were published yesterday they immediately sparked a row with teachers, who claimed the test was undermining the cleverest children through the use of made-up words and undermining the confidence of pupils by failing them at the age of five. This is from the Independent…

Teachers may now boycott the tests next year if the Government does not first withdraw them.

At the end of the first year of their compulsory schooling, children are tested on 40 words – half of them made up like “voo”, “terg” and “strom”. Only 58 per cent got 32 out of 40 right – the required standard that children are expected to meet.

Girls did better than boys in the test, with 62 per cent achieving the pass mark as opposed to 54 per cent of boys. Children from disadvantaged homes did worst with just 44 per cent meeting the standard.

However, a survey of teachers by three unions – the National Union of Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and National Association of Head Teachers – revealed that the test was often foxing some of the cleverest children who believed the made-up words were a spelling error. As a result, they tried to turn them into real words, for example turning “strom” into “storm” and therefore getting marked down.

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Categories: Primary.

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