The results from this year’s Phonic Screening Check are showing overall improvement, demonstrating that a renewed focus on phonics is lifting literacy outcomes and learning in South Australian government schools.
52 per cent of Year 1 students scored at or above the expected achievement level by correctly decoding 28 words out of 40, a significant improvement from 43 per cent in 2018.
Improvements were seen across all student groups, including Aboriginal students, students with a verified disability, students who speak English as an additional language or dialect, students at regional schools and schools serving the most disadvantaged communities.
This is the second year that the Phonics Screening Check has been implemented across all government schools with Year 1 students enrolled.
Education Minister John Gardner said the improvements on last year’s results show that our schools are working hard to lift literacy outcomes through high-quality teaching practices, which are then enhanced by interventions for those students identified by the checks as being in need of further support.
“The improvement in this year’s results is a reflection of our schools’ commitment to lifting literacy outcomes, and we are equipping them with the right support and materials to use best practice in their teaching of literacy and reading,” said Minister Gardner.
“The signs are very encouraging, with improvement seen across all student groups, but we know there is still much more work to be done to keep improving literacy outcomes for students.
“The introduction of the Phonics Check in 2018 has enabled a fresh emphasis on the quality of reading instruction.
“Parents and families deserve to have high expectations about the quality of teaching of reading taking place in our schools, and the Phonics Check is a useful tool to help our schools and our teachers to meet those expectations.
“Importantly, these 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.
“We will continue to support schools to ensure there is ongoing improvement for all students and we will learn from those schools who are showing great improvement in practice, to ensure our entire education system benefits.
“We will also continue to work with organisations such as SPELD, along with well-respected academics, to ensure the implementation of the Literacy Guarantee program will help schools to continue to improve their results.”
The Phonics Screening Check is a short, simple assessment that helps teachers measure how well students are learning to decode and blend letters into sounds.
Government schools across the state are supported in the teaching of phonics and literacy development through Literacy Coaches who work directly with teachers to ensure high quality teaching of reading.
Useful online resources are also available for parents to effectively engage with their child’s reading at home, and can be found on the Department for Education website.