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The Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment

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THE EFFECTS OF SYNTHETIC PHONICS TEACHING ON READING AND SPELLING ATTAINMENT

CHAPTER SEVEN PRIMARY 2 TO PRIMARY 7

COMPARISON OF READING AND SPELLING ATTAINMENT FOR ADVANTAGED AND DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN

7.1 A comparison was made of all the children categorised by Clackmannanshire Council as attending schools in deprived areas (hereafter called disadvantaged) with those attending schools in non-deprived areas (hereafter described as advantaged). An analysis was undertaken of the children's word reading, spelling and reading comprehension skills from May/June Primary 2 through to the end of Primary 7. For these analyses, it was necessary to compare children who were available for testing on all six occasions. The numbers vary slightly on the three measures, in order to preserve a reasonable size of sample for each test.

7.2 For word reading, a two way analysis of variance was carried out, with one within subjects factor, time (reading from Primary 2 to Primary 7), and one between subjects factor, background (advantaged versus disadvantaged). There were 106 disadvantaged and 96 advantaged children. See Figure 7.1

FIGURE 7.1

Figure 7.1 Comparison of word reading from Primary 2 to Primary 7 for the advantaged and disadvantaged children

7.3 No main effect of background was found, F(1,200)<1. A main effect of time was found, F(5,1000)=719.0, p<.001. Time did not quite interact with background, F(5,1000)=2.0, p<.079, however a circumspect post hoc analysis was carried out. Newman Keuls tests showed that at Primary 7 the advantaged children read better than the disadvantaged children, but not in any of the previous years. The advantage at this stage was 6.2 months.

7.4 For spelling, a two way analysis of variance was carried out, with one within subjects factor, time (spelling from Primary 2 to Primary 7), and one between subjects factor, background (advantaged versus disadvantaged). There were 93 disadvantaged and 86 advantaged children. See Figure 7.2.

FIGURE 7.2

Figure 7.2 Comparison of spelling from Primary 2 to Primary 7 for the advantaged and disadvantaged children

7.5 No main effect of background was found, F(1,177)<1. There was a main effect of time, F(5, 885,)=2404.45, p<.001, and this interacted with background, F(5,885)=2.39, p<.036. Newman Keuls tests showed that the advantaged children only performed better than the disadvantaged children at Primary 7, being 5.8 months ahead at this stage.

7.6 For reading comprehension, a two way analysis of variance was carried out, with one within subjects factor, time (reading comprehension from Primary 2 to Primary 7), and one between subjects factor, background (advantaged versus disadvantaged). There were 94 disadvantaged and 83 advantaged children. (See Figure 7.3).

Figure 7.3

Figure 7.3 Comparison of reading comprehension from Primary 2 to Primary 7 for the advantaged and disadvantaged children

7.7 No main effect of background was found, F(1,175)<1. There was a main effect of time, F(5, 875,)=708.7, p<.001, and this interacted with background, F(5,875)=5.5, p<.006. Newman Keuls tests showed that at Primary 2 the disadvantaged children performed better than the advantaged children. However, the advantaged children performed better than the disadvantaged children at Primary 5 and Primary 7. The advantage at Primary 7 was 5.5 months.

7.8 This split into advantaged and disadvantaged groups may underestimate the differences between the children from poorer and better off homes, as some children were from mildly disadvantaged areas and other were from mildly advantaged areas. A further comparison was carried out therefore between the two schools who had the lowest and the highest scores on the deprivation index. At the most disadvantaged school 54.73% of children received free school meals, whereas at the most advantaged 12.25% of the children got free school meals.

7.9 For word reading, there were 20 disadvantaged and 35 advantaged children available for comparison. It was found that there was a main effect of background, F(1,53)=4.3, p<.042 and a main effect of time, F(5,265)=175.1, p<.001. These two factors interacted, F(5, 265)= 11.0, p<.001. Newman Keuls tests showed that at Primary 6 and 7 the advantaged children performed better, but did not do so in earlier years.

7.10 For spelling, there were 19 disadvantaged and 34 advantaged children available for comparison. It was found that there was no main effect of background, F(1,51)=<1. There was a main effect of time, F(5,255)=126.8, p<.001. These two factors interacted, F(5, 255)= 10.3, p<.001. Newman Keuls tests showed that at Primary 7 the advantaged children performed better, but did not do so in earlier years.

7.11 For reading comprehension, there were 18 disadvantaged and 33 advantaged children available for comparison. It was found that there was no main effect of background, F(1,49)=<.1. There was a main effect of time, F(5,245)=198.9, p<.001. These two factors interacted, F(5, 245)= 4.0, p<.003. Newman Keuls tests showed that at Primary 2 the disadvantaged children were ahead, but in Primaries 4, 5 and 7 the advantaged children performed better.

SUMMARY

7.12 In this chapter we examined whether children from disadvantaged homes read and spelt less well than children from advantaged homes

  • The children from disadvantaged homes did not read words less well than those from advantaged homes, although this was close to significance in Primary 7.
  • The children from disadvantaged homes only spelt less well in Primary 7
  • For reading comprehension the disadvantaged children were ahead in Primary 2, but were behind in Primary 5 and 7