Year 1 Phonics Screening Check 2021

This report was originally published 1 March 2022.

Summary

What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?

The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is a 5 to 7 minute assessment administered by classroom teachers that indicates how their students are progressing in phonics. The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is designed to be administered towards the end of Year 1, after students have had time to develop sufficient phonic knowledge, but with enough time to make sure interventions and targeted teaching can still make a difference.

The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check complements existing school practices used to identify students’ progress in developing foundational literacy skills.

A trial of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check took place in Term 3, 2020. It demonstrated the feasibility of providing diagnostic assessments that give schools rapid insight, offered highly targeted support in a short timeframe and reduced administrative complexity.

In 2021, the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check was mandatory for all Year 1 public schools and was completed by more than 66,000 students with results immediately available for teachers.

This document provides a summary of information and data from the 2021 Year 1 Phonics Screening Check.

Key findings from the 2021 Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

  • The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check was undertaken in 1,615 NSW government schools with 66,385 Year 1 students participating and completing the assessment.
  • The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check consisted of 40 items. The average number of items correct was 26.5.
  • Students were considered to have met the expected achievement level if they correctly answered 28 or more items. 56.7% of students achieved at or above this level (up from 43.3% in the 2020 trial).
  • The percentage of Aboriginal students that met or exceeded the expected achievement score increased from 18.4% in 2020 to 29% in 2021.
  • The proportion of English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) students meeting or exceeding the expected score level ranged from 33.5% for students at the Beginning phase, to 60.7% for the Emerging phase, 79.2% at the Developing phase and 82.9% at the Consolidating phase.
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