Woodman, Anne Louise (2007)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This study describes how the reading demand of a typical statutory key stage 1 mathematics test was investigated for readability for its young audience. About 600 000 six- and seven-year old children in England take the test each year, many of whom are expected to read independently and to know when to ask for support with reading. In the belief that children themselves would be the best judges of readability, data were collected to establish how much help children requested during the key stage 1 2001 mathematics test and how well they could read test questions aloud. In addition, each written question was analysed for readability using word lists and sentence length as the main criteria. The conclusion is that the reading demand is inappropriate for many year 2 readers and that some children did not receive the reading support that they required to access the mathematics. This raises questions about test validity. Any unrecognised reading difficulties are a threat to validity since reading skills are not being assessed. The voices of the children tell a compelling story. Although too few in number to constitute a national sample, it is argued that the children who provided the data were and continue to be typical of the national cohort and comparable year 2 children can be found in schools across the country. This raises issues regarding the appropriateness of a statutory mathematics test for children who are still learning to read. Given the findings, the national policy of testing key stage 1 children in mathematics is queried.
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has ownership of the extracts from QCA test booklets and in the data collected for the pilot study. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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