Validity and sensitivity of the phonics screening check: implications for practice

Fiona Duff, Silvana Mengoni, Alison Bailey, Margaret Snowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
171 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Introduced in June 2012, the phonics screening check aims to assess whether 6-year-old children are meeting an appropriate standard in phonic decoding and to identify children struggling with phonic skills.
Aims: We investigated whether the check is a valid measure of phonic skill and is sensitive in identifying children at risk of reading difficulties.
Sample: We obtained teacher assessments of phonic skills for 292 six-year-old children and additional psychometric data for 160 of these children.
Methods: Teacher assessment data were accessed from schools via the local authority; psychometric tests were administered by researchers shortly after the phonics screening check.
Results: The check was strongly correlated with other literacy skills and was sensitive in identifying at-risk readers. So too were teacher judgements of phonics.
Conclusions: Although the check fulfils its aims, we argue that resources might be better focused on training and supporting teachers in their ongoing monitoring of phonics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-123
JournalJournal of Research in Reading
Issue number2
Early online date13 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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