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Expert criticises government plans to introduce new reading test

30/11/2010 Joanna
An education expert has criticised government plans to introduce a new reading test for Year 1 pupils.

Henrietta Dombey, emeritus professor of literacy in primary education at the University of Brighton and the convenor of the United Kingdom Literacy Association early literacy task group, said this kind of progress check is not a "wonderful new breakthrough", but is a "very crude" type of assessment.

"The root of the problem is that the English spelling system is very complicated. A non-word reading test has various disadvantages," she explained.

"It doesn't tell you about children's progress, it is likely to distort how teachers teach reading and likely to encourage teachers to place much more emphasis on sounding out non-words than on actually reading real texts; that is going to hamper children learning to read."

The Department for Education revealed last week that six-year-old pupils are to be given a phonics-based assessment so teachers can identify weaker students and provide extra support where it is needed.

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