Letter: Literacy: teachers have an uphill struggle

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The Independent Online
Letter: Literacy: teachers have an uphill struggleSir: Dr Tony Dodd (Letters, 10 May) congratulates teachers in inner-city schools for producing only 40 per cent of 11-year-olds reading at a level below their chronological age. He points out, correctly, that the statistical norm would be for 50 per cent of children nationally to be at this level.

Dr Dodd's conclusions are reasonable, given the account in the Independent of 8 May on which they are based. That account, however, was inaccurate. The real situation, according to the relevant report from the Office for Standards in Education, is that 40 per cent had reading ages two or more years below their chronological age - a much more worrying state of affairs.

Unfortunately, the confusion evident here is typical of the confusion which has existed throughout the long-running debate about literacy standards. Proper testing would solve the problem, with results reported in a simple, unambiguous way.

Jennifer Chew

Egham, Surrey

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