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2018 phonics pass mark remains at 32


Every year five and six-year-olds in Primary school take the Phonics Screening test generally at the beginning June. Schools are unaware of the pass mark until after the test has taken place.


Today, the Department of Education has announced the phonics check pass mark is 32 out of 40.


It is the seventh year in a row the pass mark has been 32.




What is the phonics screening test?

The test was introduced to ensure that all children by the end of Year 1 had sufficient phonics knowledge to develop their reading skills.


It consists of 40 words – 20 real and 20 silly or nonsense words such as ‘osk’ – these are pictures with a monster so that children understand they are monster’s names. Children are instructed to read these out aloud and the teacher makes them. They are tested on their ability to sound out words using the phonics system.


Examples of real and silly words

phonics test


Some of the words in the 2018 test included var, slirt, scrid, gloom, turn and charming.


The first phonics screening test took place in 2012 where 58 per cent of five and six year-olds reached the pass mark. Last year, 2018, saw 81 percent of year 1 pupils pass the test.

In 2016 147,000 more children became fluent readers versus the same time five years ago.

Before the phonics screening test was implemented children were shown frequently used words until they were able to recognise them automatically, this was known as the “look and say” technique.


June 25, 2018