New phonics test for Year 1 students in WA
Year 1 students in public primary schools in Western Australia will commence a phonics screening test from the beginning of 2023 – which is already mandated in NSW and South Australian schools.
Education Minister Sue Ellery and Premier Mark McGowan committed to the screening tests, following a push from education and business leaders.
The test will involve students reading a list of words to assess whether they can identify and blend sounds. This follows the evidence-based research that spelling or decoding skills are derived from phonemic awareness, including a knowledge of the alphabet, phonic sounds and sight words. The test will consist of 40 words, some nonsense and some real, and be used to identify students who need extra help, by assessing their specific phonic knowledge skills.
“One in six students in Australia start high school with poor reading skills which inhibits their ability to fully access the curriculum – if we can identify struggling readers much earlier, this could ultimately reduce the time it takes for children to move from learning to read, to reading to learn. The phonics screening checks will help schools to intervene much earlier and provide students with the extra help they need to read fluently.”Georgie Wynne, EDvance Program Director
“Many schools throughout Western Australia are already following an evidence-based phonics program, including a large number of Fogarty EDvance primary schools. We’re excited that now all schools will get access to the six evidence-based phonics programs that they can use to assist their teaching,” Georgie explained.
“This initiative will ensure that all schools will be encouraged to adopt this highly regarded and effective model of teaching, which will improve the educational outcomes of all West Australian children.”