Will Australia get a mandatory phonics test?

The Federal Government is proposing a mandatory 10 minute phonics screening check for Year 1 students. The test is designed to identify students who need support with reading. The test includes real words and pseudo words, to test students understanding of phonics and is based on the test currently used in the UK. Jennifer Buckingham, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies has completed a report titled Focus on Phonics: Why Australia should adopt the Year 1 Phonics Screening CheckThe recommendation for the new test has been made by a panel appointed by Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham and headed by Jennifer Buckingham.

There are some individuals and groups who do not agree with the test including the Australian Education Union, some state education ministers and academics like Misty Adoniou. Misty Adoniou is an Associate Professor at the University of Canberra in education. She is passionate about students understanding word meaning (morphemic analysis) when learning to read and spell and believes this is more important than phonics. She does acknowledge the importance of teaching phonics but is opposed to the test because there are many other factors besides phonics that contribute to being a successful reader and speller.

To listen to an interview with Misty Adoniou from the Teacher Education Review (TER) podcast click on the first link to download the audio file to your computer or click the second link to be taken to the TER Podcast website. The second link includes Misty Adoniou’s interview as well as a second interview with Stuart Riddle talking about literacy in the classroom.

  1. Click here to download TER Podcast interview with Misty Adoniou
  2. Click here to go to the TER Podcast on literacy & phonics
  3. ABC News – Year 1 students could soon have to do a new reading and maths test

To read more about Misty Adoniou’s views about teaching spelling and reading click on the following links.

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