What Works - The Work Program

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The Marie Clay Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement

This assessment tool allows us to compare students with a large cohort of their own age (6.0 - 7.3 years). Each test from the Observation Survey is recorded as a separate graph for each year level. This provides us with useful data on the strengths and weaknesses of individual students, as well as the pedagogy itself. On the graphs, Stanine levels 1-3 are considered to be of concern, 4-6 are average, and 7-9 are above average.

Here are some examples from Year 2.

Year 2 Reading


The results of the Year 2 reading tests shown in the graphs above are encouraging. All but one student knows all letters of the alphabet out of context, as we would hope they would by the end of Year 2. Student 2 is still having trouble with b/d and p/q reversals. Reversals are marked wrong in this test.

The 'concepts of print' test assesses how closely students focus on text and whether they are able to detect errors in text. These results, with all six students scoring close to the maximum, supports the value of the close attention to print enabled by scaffolded approaches to literacy.

The scores in the sight word test are less consistent. Half the students are considered satisfactory. Two of the six knew all the words in the test. However, this score does not reflect the effort we put into teaching students sight words. Learning to read words out of context is an important part of the scaffolding process but it is still new to many students. If the students were being tested on the words they had worked on this year, I expect that they would have scored much better.


Year 2 Writing


When students were asked to write as many words as they could in 10 minutes, two of the Year 2 students were satisfactory, or more than satisfactory. The other four students are of significant concern.

The dictation test shows significant improvement in students' ability to hear and record sounds in a sentence. All students are satisfactory or above, and 4 of the six students show leaps of 3-5 Stanine points. Whether this is due to students growing up, or the scaffolding pedagogy, we do not know.

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