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Phonics check results show lift in literacy levels

3 November 2020

Reading levels for South Australian year 1 students have risen again, as results from the 2020 Phonics Screening Check show significant improvement for the second year in a row.

63 per cent of year 1 students met or exceeded the expected achievement level this year, up from 52 per cent last year, and from 43 per cent in 2018 when the check was first introduced for all year 1 students.

Significant improvements were achieved for Aboriginal students (up 11 percentage points from last year), students with a verified disability (up 14 percentage points), students who speak English as an additional language or dialect (up 13 percentage points), and schools serving the most disadvantaged communities (up 12 percentage points).

The number of students unable to decode any of the words in the check also decreased for the second year running, down to just 2 per cent of students.

To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, 1600 teachers and leaders completed online professional training in administering the check, analysing results and designing interventions for individual students in response to their achievement.

South Australia was the first state in Australia to implement a statewide Phonics Screening Check for students in 2018.

The simple 5-7 minute check consists of 40 words which are delivered through a mixture of 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words. An expected achievement score of 28 out of 40 is used as a marker to assist teachers in identifying how a student is tracking against the Australian Curriculum.

Visit the Phonics Screening Check webpage to see the data on the 2020 Phonics Screening Check results.