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Technical Pre-test of key stage 1 Phonics screening check

Project code: STAN

What are the purposes and aims of the project?

The aim of the project is to trial new materials for the phonics screening check with pupils in year 1.  This is a short, light-touch assessment which is used to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

Who is sponsoring NFER to carry out this work?

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA), which is responsible for developing national curriculum tests on behalf of Department for Education (DfE).

How have schools been selected to take part?

STA has drawn a representative sample of schools with age-appropriate children.

Do schools have to take part?

Participation in this project is entirely optional.

What does taking part involve?

STA would randomly select a sample of up to 20 year 1 pupils, from each assisting school, to participate in the trial (based on the size of the year 1 cohort in each school); where possible up to five additional pupils will be selected as reserves. Similar to the live Phonics screening check it would take approximately 10 minutes to trial the check materials with each sampled pupil and the check would be administered on a one-to-one basis by a teacher who is known to the child, preferably the class teacher. An NFER administrator would bring the materials to the school and remain in school during the day to support the teachers and the administration process. The trialling date would be at the school’s convenience during the period 23 June to 4 July 2014.

How will schools benefit from taking part?

Support from schools is crucial in helping us to develop new check materials and we are able to offer £290 to schools that are able to help; this includes £100 as a ‘thank you’ for taking part and £190 to cover the cost of supply cover for any additional teacher cover. Pupils will be given a pencil and a certificate to thank them for their help with the trialling. We are regrettably unable to give feedback to the schools who take part in these trials as the trialling materials are still in development.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected?

All information relating to this project will be kept confidential by NFER and STA and no individual or school will be identified in any report. The NFER will need to supply the STA with a list of the schools that agree to take part in the trial and their pupil data to allow the random sampling of pupils and matching of results to national pupil data. NFER and STA will not disclose names of individuals or schools involved in the trial either in any reports arising from the use of this data or in any other way.

Who can be contacted for more information?

Humaira Ishaq: 01753 63 7474, h.ishaq@nfer.ac.uk