Monday, July 13, 2009

Blowing the whistle on the stats


Every year teachers working in secondary schools screen the new Year 7 intake to see who needs help in reading and spelling. Two years ago, one such secondary school in the north-west told us that 72.6 percent of their Year 7 had scored below their chronological ages on entry!
Since then, on trainings, many other practitioners have said that these figures are very similar to the ones they find. In many cases, neither do the figures produced by these tests seem to bear any relation to the SATs scores.
If you are involved in testing and would like to share your findings with me, I'll blog the information - anonymously, of course.
An excellent spelling test is the Young's Parallel Spelling test. It's very easy to administer to a whole class at a time.
Thanks to http://www.leatherbrothers.com/images/7459.jpg for the picture of the whistle.

1 comment:

  1. I retired as a secondary SENCO 4 years ago. Every year of my 20 years at this rural and market town school of 1800 students we screened our Y7 intake of about 200 with NFER Group Reading tests and Young's Spelling. We did this because the KS2 SATS level 3 and even level 4 could hide a weak reader, and gave us only a general indicator of a student's reading and spelling level.
    Regularly and disappointingly we had between 18% and 28% with Reading Ages more than 2 years below Chronological Age, and every year gave intervention (of a linguistic phonics nature) to between 20 and 35 of the year group, usually targetting those with RAs < 8.5. Students reading below CA but not this weak remained the responsibility of the English Dept, for whom the Learning Support Dept provided training on how best to support reading and spelling of weak students.
    SATs scores are just one piece of information and not the whole picture for the whole ability range, but one does question their usefulness when they fail to clearly identify either those needing intervention nor those who are the most able.

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