FAQs for Primary Schools

When should I use the Early Reading assessments with my single entry Reception/P1 class?

Because the four tests that make up YARC Early Reading may be used in different combinations and for repeat testing, you may want to screen your pupils early in the autumn term using the Sound Deletion and Sound Isolation assessments. This will give you a good idea about your pupils’ ability to manipulate and isolate sounds within words (real and made-up) – important precursors to successful decoding. To tackle Early Word Recognition and Letter Sound assessments pupils will have to have undertaken some formal instruction using phonics so, depending on any pre-learning, you may wish to delay using these until the end of the term or even in the second half of the year.

How soon can I re-test using the four Early Reading assessments?

The pupil record form allows each pupil to be tested up to three times and a gap of around twelve weeks should be left between testing.

What is the rationale behind the core test in Letter Sound Knowledge and Word Recognition assessments in Early Reading?

Core letter test is based on the phonic learning that represents the introduction to reading for many young children. It is a shortened version (does not include all letter sounds) for quick administration and provides an overview rather than the comprehensive assessment of the extended test.

Word Recognition is built up from simple, easily decodable words to irregular and ‘tricky’ words. All pupils start with 'cat' and keep going until they make 10 errors - this prevents stress from too many incorrect attempts. A child with minimal word reading ability will register a score on this test.

I am concerned that administering two passages from YARC might be too much testing for one or two of my pupils with attention difficulties. Can I split the test session?

Yes, as long as the gap between the two sessions is not too long, administering passages over, say, a week would be fine.

My pupils are used to reading stories with pictures. Why are there no pictures to go with the passages in the Passage Reading assessments?

Children develop their skills in readings in various ways and a reading scheme or story book with illustrations can help in this development by giving clues to what is in the text. However, to gain the best assessment of a pupil’s reading it is now recognised that such clues are inappropriate and an assessment of reading text unconfounded by illustrations is best.