Education Matters: More Effort Needed in Teaching Literacy

The Birmingham Post (England), January 19, 2004 | Go to article overview

Education Matters: More Effort Needed in Teaching Literacy


Fewer than half the children who passed last year's national English tests for 11-year-olds could spell words such as 'effortless' and 'participate', an official report reveals today.

Even high-flying pupils were often unable to spell the more difficult words in the tests, an analysis by exams watchdog the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) showed.

Headteachers said the findings reinforced recent warnings from education watchdog Ofsted that poor teaching was holding back the drive to improve the three Rs.

Last summer, about two million 11-year-olds in England took reading, writing, spelling and handwriting tests as part of the overall English exam.

The Government had set a target that by 2002, 80 per cent should have reached Level 4, which Ministers regard as the effective pass mark and the key to success at secondary school.

But the proportion that did so in 2003 remained stuck at 75 per cent and it has not changed since 2000.

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: 'I think that parents and employers will be absolutely horrified that more than half of 11-year-olds haven't learned to spell a fairly regular word like 'effortless'. …

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