The loneliness of the long-distance reader: a review of the reading demand of a key stage 1 mathematics test

Woodman, Anne Louise (2007). The loneliness of the long-distance reader: a review of the reading demand of a key stage 1 mathematics test. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Education
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education


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