Year 1 Phonics Check: Analysing group reports transcript 

Kerrie Shanahan:

We know what the Year 1 Phonics Check assesses, and we know more about what the data can tell us, and we've had a look at the report. It's time for the bit you've been waiting for and that's analysing the group reports.  

First, we'll revisit the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework. This is key because using the RTI framework as a reference, we can view 80% mastery as group mastery. In other words, if 80% of your class have correctly decoded a particular word, then we consider that to be group mastery. This is because, according to the RTI framework, it's expected that 80% of students in a class should be able to progress along a learning sequence after receiving high-quality Tier 1 instruction.  

We're going to use this 80% rule in our analysis today. Knowing where group mastery lies along the Word and code complexity continuum helps you, as a teacher, to know how best to support your students' strengths and their areas of need. So just keep that in mind as we move forward. 

To complete your analysis of your group report, you need to work out how many students represent 80% of your class. The easiest way to do that is to multiply the number of students in your group by 0.8. Looking at the example here, we can see that with 20 students in the class, we need 16 students to be reading a particular word correctly and then that's an indication of class mastery. 

To complete a group analysis, you will need your group report, and we talked earlier about how to generate this; a copy of the Word and code complexity continuum for group analysis, and that was in your handouts but we will also pop the link in the chat again.  

And you'll need a green and an orange highlighter.  

Just another reminder, the session is being recorded, so if you aren't analysing your report as we go along, that's fine. If you need to, you can watch back later to the recording for anything you might need to check, and you can complete your analysis then. 

We're going to use that Word and code complexity continuum tool to analyse the group report. Firstly, we're going to go through and highlight the words according to mastery using our 80% rule. Then we're going to analyse the categories of word and code complexity. 

Here's how we use the tool for our Phonics Check analysis.  

You'll have your group report to view, which you can see on the screen there at the top. You'll have your printout of your Word and code complexity continuum, and you'll have your highlighters.  

For each word, what we're going to do is look down the column to count how many students got the word right. If I start with the first word, ‘lig’, I simply count the green ticks in the column. There are 18 green ticks for ‘lig’, which is over 80% of the 20 students in my class. On the Word and code complexity continuum, I highlight the word ‘lig’ in green and you can see that we've done that there.  

Then I'd move to the next word. If that word has 80% correct answers or more, so 16 or more in my class of 20 that got the answer correct, then I also highlight that word in green. If there are less than 80% correct, so less than 16 in my group of 20, I highlight that word orange.  

Then I move to the next word. I count the correct responses in the column and highlight accordingly. I count and highlight, count and highlight for each of the 40 words. Sometimes it's just as easy to count the incorrect responses. If there's only one incorrect response, then I automatically know that there are 19 correct responses, and so I highlight that word green. It really doesn't take that long to complete. 

Here's my finished example class, and this is what it looks like after I've gone through each word and counted the number of students that read that word correctly or not, and highlighted that word either green or orange.  

Just to recap, I've highlighted in green all the words that 80% or more students read correctly, and I've highlighted all the words that less than 80% of the group read correctly in orange. This shows us group mastery or not for each of the words.  

It's important to note that we do have a handful of words on our Word and code complexity continuum that appear twice, and that's because they fall under more than one category. The word ‘floost’, for example, is a complex word with adjacent consonants, and it's also a word with a vowel digraph, so it appears in both categories on the continuum. Words that appear twice, they’re marked with an asterisk. When you're highlighting, just highlight these pairs the same colour in both categories. 

First glance there at my example class, it can very quickly give us some valuable information. We can see that it looks quite systematic, and that's because you can see that green wave starting from the left-hand side, and that gives us an indication of instruction in the classroom being systematic. It shows the occasional gap in categories of mostly green. These are the areas where you can check your teacher notes on the errors to get further information. It also shows that my example class is on track for Year 1 standards, and that's because I can see that my group have mastered or are on the way to mastering many of those categories. As I explained earlier, these categories are aligned with the Australian Curriculum, for the end of Year 1. For my example class at this midway point of the year, I can see that we're moving along quite nicely. 

Now delving a bit deeper into the analysis, it's very helpful to see our class strengths and our areas of need. What we can do now is look at each of the categories to work this out. 

The categories that are mostly green indicate group mastery of that category type. For example, this group analysis shows group mastery of CVC words and simple words with adjacent consonants, so those first two steps on the continuum. It also shows group mastery of consonant digraphs, and we notice in this category that the word ‘charb’ is orange, but this word also has that r-controlled, /ar/ vowel, and that's from a later category as well. In that same list of words, ‘chin’ shows group mastery, so it's safe to say that the class has mastered consonant digraphs. 

In the split digraph and complex words with adjacent consonants category, the word ‘stribe’, that's a bit of an outlier. It's the only word highlighted as incorrect. Checking teacher notes on those specific errors the students made will give a much greater insight as to what's going on here. You'd be wanting to find out whether it was the three adjacent consonants, the /str/, or the split digraph that caused the difficulty there. 

This analysis shows us that that vowel digraph category with the red arrow there, it has more than two words that haven't been mastered. This becomes this group's earliest point of need, and that's where the next focus of instruction would come. We generally look for categories with two or more errors to find our point of need for that whole-class teaching. For my example group, it's the vowel digraph category.  

Then we can also analyse that particular category more closely. That's where we see that the double vowel digraphs have been mastered and are actually a class strength.  

That should give you an idea of the type of information that this analysis can give you about where your group is at. 

We can use my example group data and take it one step further, and recognise the specific knowledge and skill strengths that the group has and their areas of need. Firstly, we'll look at the group's strengths.  

According to the data, we can see that this group has strengths in CVC word mastery. This indicates students know their single letter–sound correspondences and they can blend three sounds to read a word. Mastery of simple words with adjacent consonants, this reinforces that the students know their single letter–sound correspondences and they can blend not only three, but four and five sounds to read words. We see mastery of consonant digraphs, and this indicates that the students have knowledge of the digraphs that are listed there with those two letters making one sound. There's also mastery of split vowels, and this indicates that the students know that in a split vowel digraph, the vowel says its name or the long vowel sound, and the group has mastery of the vowel digraphs double /ee/ and double /oo/. 

Now we can identify the areas of need for our example group.  

By looking at each category, we can see the knowledge and skills that the group needs further instruction and practice in. For example, the vowel digraph category indicated that students need instruction for those vowel digraphs that we've got listed there. They also need instruction in the trigraphs /igh/ and /air/ and morphology, that was a bit of a mixed bag. The group did show mastery in reading the /ing/, -ing suffix, but not always the suffixes -s or -er, so that would need further instruction. Instruction is needed for the r-controlled vowels, and possibly this hasn't even been taught yet in this example group. Then there's that outlier word, ‘stribe’, that we mentioned earlier. We would need to look at the notes made during the individual student assessments to work out what the main decoding difficulties were for that word. 

Note, too, this analysis should also be viewed alongside your phonics progression, and that's because the Year 1 Phonics Check is not an exhaustive letter–sound correspondence assessment. There are, for example, other vowel digraphs that your students will need to learn. 

Our focus today is on group analysis and we're analysing where the group strengths and needs lie, but I'll just make a quick and very important note about intervention for individual students.  

With the RTI framework in mind, we aim for at least 80% of students to reach mastery through whole-class instruction. That does, of course, leave that 20% of students who are likely to need Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention to progress in line or along with the curriculum. This means they'll require more intensive targeted instruction with increased guided practice and monitoring. 

For students with scores below the expected level or for students who do not show mastery in line with the whole group, then it's your individual report analysis that will help you to pinpoint their areas of strength and need. If you'd like more information on this, you can watch the recording of the Year 1 Phonics Check webinar that was about analysing individual reports. 

You might also want to explore our professional learning resources on assessment and intervention.