Phonics Screening Test
In the Summer term of Year 1, the children complete a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short, light-touch assessment introduced by the Government for the first time in 2012 to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
The screening comprises a list of 40 real and nonsense-words (pseudo words), which your child read one-to-one with a teacher. Pseudo words allow the assessment to focus purely on decoding phonic knowledge. As pseudo-words are new to all children. The words in the screening incorporate phonics skills acquired by the children in both Year 1 and Reception. It is conducted in a quiet room without distractions. Administering the assessment usually takes between four and nine minutes per child.
Non-words (made up words) are included because they will be new to all children, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Children who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word. The non-words are presented alongside a picture of an imaginary creature, and children can be told the non-word is the name of that type of creature. This helps children to understand the non-word should not be matched to their existing vocabulary.
Examples of words include: star, shelf.
Examples of non-words include: dov, vead.
All children need to be able to identify sounds associated with different letters, and letter combinations, and then blend these sounds together to correctly say the word on the page. The same skill is needed whether the word is a real word or a non-word.
The words gradually get harder through the check as the combinations of letters become more complicated. As long as the child has said 32 out of the 40 words correctly, they will be considered to have met the standard.
Children should not realise that they are being formally assessed. The check should be seen as part of their everyday phonics activities and not as a test.
Children who do not reach the required standard in Year 1 will be retested in Year 2.