Changes To The Phonic Screening Test 2014

Changes To The Phonic Screening Check in 2014

What Are The Changes To The 2014 Phonics Screening Test?

The Assessment and reporting arrangements for Key stage 1 is available for download at

One of the changes is that the threshold mark (or pass mark) for the phonics screening check will not be included with the check materials. Instead, the threshold mark will be available on the DfE’s website next year on Monday 30 June.  This means the threshold mark will be announced after the phonics screening test has been administered.

In 2012 and 2013 the threshold mark was announced in advance.  Children had to read 32 out of 40 words correctly.  However, questions about the validity of the test were raised because of a spike in the number of children achieving 32 marks rather than 31.  Professor Margaret M Clark OBE, Newman University, Birmingham examines this issue in her article: ‘The phonics check for Year 1 children in England: unresolved issues of its value and validity after two years’  (EDUCATION JOURNAL ISSUE 177, 21 October 2013)  The article can be found at:

How Might The Changes To The Phonics Screening Affect You And Your School?

Professor Clark’s article does indeed question the value and validity of the screening test, but as teachers we still have the responsibility of administering the test.  In addition, the results will be available on RAISE online and OFSTED use them as an indicator of the success of the school.  Some teachers may even have a percentage of pupils passing the test as one of their targets for performance management.  No pressure then!!!!!

How Can You Help Support Your Children Through This Process For The Best Results?

Using ‘Phoneys Pseudo Word Cards’ (  can help teachers develop their children’s ability to decode words from the earliest stage in their Reception year right through to the end of Year 1, and as support for children in Year 2 who need to retake the test.  As part of your teaching of phonics, using ‘Phoneys Pseudo Word Cards’ can help ensure that your pupils develop the knowledge and skills they will need to approach the screening test with confidence.


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