Phonics test pass mark published today

Pupils scoring 32 out of 40 will have reached the expected standard

Helen Ward

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For the sixth year running, the pass mark for the phonics test will be 32 out of 40, the government announced today.

The phonics check was taken by more than 600,000 five and six-year old pupils in Year 1. It is a test of 40 words, half of which are nonsense words, and is administered and marked by a teacher or staff member who is known to the pupil.

Last year, 81 per cent of pupils met the expected standard in Year 1 – up from 77 per cent in 2015.

Pupils were due to be tested during the week beginning 12 June, although if a pupil is absent they can take the check until 23 June.

The phonics test was introduced in 2012, when 58 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard.

When the check was first introduced, the pass mark was known to teachers. But a sharp rise in pupils scoring 32 – the pass mark – prompted the government to reveal the mark only after the test has been taken.

The change to revealing the pass mark after the check has seen this sharp rise smoothed out.

phonics check mark is 32

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