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Phonics Screening Check begins

17 August 2020

Year 1 students across South Australian government schools will complete the 2020 Phonics Screening Check from today.

The phonics check is a simple five to seven minute assessment that tells teachers how their students are progressing in phonics – a foundational component of learning to read. It 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 at this point in their education.

Last year’s results showed significant overall improvement, with 52 per cent of students scoring at or above the expected achievement level – up from 43 per cent the year prior.

To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, 1600 teachers and leaders completed online training earlier this year to support them in administering the check, analysing the results and designing interventions for individual students in response to their findings.

The Phonics Check provides teachers with a clear understanding of how students are progressing in their learning of phonics, and the results enable educators to identify any issues that students might be having so they can respond to these quickly.

The results provide teachers with a useful picture of where individual students are at in the fundamental aspect of reading, so they can implement the right support for those who are struggling with decoding blended letters into sounds.

Extra resources are readily available to help teachers get the most out of the Phonics Check results to target learning for their students. Literacy Guarantee Coaches are also working directly with teachers to ensure high quality teaching of reading across government schools.

Online resources are available for parents to effectively engage with their child’s reading at home here.

More information on our Literacy Guarantee and how we’re improving the literacy levels of South Australian students can be found here.