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SA's literacy outcomes in check

9 November 2021

The state government's evidence-backed literacy programs are paying off for South Australia’s children with results from the 2021 Phonics Screening Check showing strong growth again.

Results in 2021 climbed for the third consecutive year in a row, delivering a 24 percentage point improvement since its inception in 2018.

This year 67% of year 1 students met or exceeded the expected achievement by correctly decoding 28 words or more out of 40, an improvement of 4 percentage points on the 2020 results, and up from 43% in 2018.

Improvements were recorded statewide in both country and metropolitan schools and also across Aboriginal students, students with a verified disability and students identified as speaking English as an additional language or dialect.

The improvement demonstrates public schools and preschools are implementing the right measures and practices to lift literacy among children.

It also shows public schools are being supported in teaching phonics and other aspects of literacy development in line with the state government's Literacy Guarantee policy.

In addition to the new Phonics Screening Check for year 1 students, the state government has also introduced literacy coaches with expertise in phonics and teaching students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties, and a range of evidence-backed support and training for schools and teachers.

The simple 5-7 minute check shows 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 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 by term 3 of year 1.

More information and data on the Phonics Screening Check