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A reading test that's hard to comprehend

Teachers need to take into account the very varied range of experience of oracy as well as literacy that individual children have before they come to school. It would be a tragedy if the breadth of this experience were restricted by a test that would force an emphasis on a limited and limiting programme, with little time for consolidation or understanding. The idea of including non-words is particularly unhelpful at a time when children are actively seeking meaning.

It would be preferable to trust teachers' professional judgment as to which of a variety of potential interventions would be most effective at KS1 and beyond. These could take account of those who are already fluent readers, those learning English as an additional language, and any who have special needs, including children with low self-esteem who find tests very challenging. This last group is likely to increase if present plans are pushed through, without regard for the evidence.

Wendy Scott, President, TACTYC: Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators.

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