Often when you think of phonics assessment the first thing you may feel is that overwhelming sense of anxiety, often heard in the sighs of hallways or staff rooms.

How are we going to assess our students, both verbal and non-verbal consistently? and can we be sure that what we are recording is an accurate assessment of our students’ knowledge?

To support our current assessment processes we have created an assessment guide which includes a script, record sheet and prompt scale. This was developed to promote consistency across facilitation, recording responses and for the continuity of assessment.

To remove elaborate language often found in standard phonics assessments we have created a simple script for educators to follow. For example, rather than starting a syllable segmenting session by saying:

“I’m going to say words in a funny way. Let’s look at this picture. Listen, mon/day (clapping) makes the word Monday”

We emphasise the main language by providing short clear instructions with pauses to allow for the student to process our direction:

ti/ger (clapping)             *rest*                    “tiger”

To support understanding of each student and how they respond to the assessment we have also created a prompt scale where educators record how a student has responded to each individual component. This allows for a more concrete understanding of how a student can express their knowledge, whether they are verbal or have limited verbals. For example, a student may respond receptively to hearing a letter sound by looking at the letter on a page, tapping a visual of the letter, posting the letter into a box and another student may respond verbally by producing the sound after viewing a visual prompt.

For the next year, educators can refer to previous assessments and use these to understand individualised prompts for each student to allow them to demonstrate their knowledge during assessment and when engaging in future lessons.

Naomi Signo
Giant Steps Sydney
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